Our Programs

 

Write Start: Educational Funding 

Average cost of tutoring per child is $250-$500
The Guardian ad Litem Foundation of Tampa Bay (GALF) promotes improved educational outcomes for our youth through a variety of activities including: financial support for one on one tutoring and other educational enrichment opportunities, training to support Guardian ad Litem volunteers to become educational advocates to ensure more students receive individualized education plans that identify supports and services children need to succeed, and basic resources to support student success (i.e. laptops, tablets, backpacks, school supplies, calculators, etc.).  Request information found here.

Special backpack request form is sent out in May of each year.

Scholarships for Post-Secondary Education

Average cost is $1,000-2000 per award
Each Spring, the Foundation awards multiple scholarships in honor of former Volunteer Child Advocates and by special donor requests to assit former foster youth in pursuit of their goals. These funds allow youth to purse post-secondary education opportunities and provides supplemental resources necessary for success. Forms can be found on our website every February.

 

Learn to Earn:  Goal Setting Form

Average cost is $100 per child

Learn to Earn encourages youth to set and obtain educational goals by providing rewards that teach the importance of delayed gratification. Goal setting and delayed gratification are important personal traits found in successful individuals. Youth in foster care struggle with delayed gratification because often times in their childhood, parents and other caregivers made promises that went unfulfilled. In partnership with their Guardian ad Litem volunteer, youth set an individualized 9 week goal based on their unique situation. Youth may choose to work on improving attendance, improving their GPA, or improving their behavior.  The Guardian will work with their child on the goal for the specified period of time to receive the agreed upon reward--the preference being an experiential award (such as a trip to the aquarium or the zoo).  Learn to Earn reward has $100 limit per goal per child.  Special thanks to the Allshouse family and other donors for supporting this initiative.  Learn to Earn Request form found here.

 

Let Kids be Kids: Normalcy Funding

Average cost of normalcy activity is $100-$350
In 2013, the FL Legislature passed SB164/HB215 also known as the “Let Kids Be Kids” Law. This law allows children in foster care to participate in normal age-appropriate activities while in out of home care. Normalcy has substantially improved children’s lives by allowing for participation in extracurricular activities that provide for their social and emotional needs and allows them to do what their friends do: drive, play sports, date, spend the night with friends, go shopping, and participate in field trips. GALF provides financial support for participation in extracurricular activities and plans outings and activities that provides for bonding between the child and Guardian ad Litem volunteer child advocate and/or caregivers. Research has shown that children involved in extra-curricular activities have improved academic performance.  Request information found here.

 

Filling the Gap: Emergency Support and Basic Needs

Average cost for baby items or clothing is $100; average cost of beds or medical needs is $500
The nature of the child welfare system is that children are removed from their homes-suddenly and by no fault of their own. Neglected children often have dental, medical or psychological needs that aren’t covered by Medicare and need immediate treatment. Foster children often need more help than the system can provide and we provide funding for children’s needs in emergency situations, including: medical treatments, clothing, beds, high chairs, car seats, formula/diapers, toiletries, duffel bags, and more.  We maintain some supplies in stock and a closet with a variety of items such as toiletries, diapers, clothing, toys, etc. in our Clearwater ICOT office.  Feel free to swing by and see what is available during office hours!  Request information found here.

 

Cakes 4 Kids/Birthday Bags

Average cost of celebratory items is $35
Did you know the average length of stay for a child in foster care is 28 months? That means two birthdays celebrated without their family and friends-and to a child 2 years can often seem like a lifetime. We work to ensure that every child has a chance to celebrate their birthday and other important milestones while in care by providing financial support for cakes and other celebratory activities.  We have lots of toys and other items that could be perfect to gift, as well as, and birthday bags filled with gifts for younger children and “birthday-party-in-a-bag”s  -- which has everything needed to plan a birthday party. Pick up at ICOT, CJC, NPR or Dade City offices.

 

Aging Out Support & Life Skills Development

Average cost of life start kit is $300, $550 w/ bed, and $750-$1000 w/ additional basic furnishings
More
than 100 children age out of the foster care system in Pinellas and Pasco Counties each year. Often times these youth have no support system and are in need of items to help make their path to adulthood easier. We support life start kits for youth moving into their own apartment-everything they need to make a home including pots and pans, shower curtains and towels, bedding, etc. Additionally, providing backpacks and school supplies helps our children start the year off “write” but we are working to provide skill development year round that will serve our teens for a lifetime. Through strategic partnerships, we are providing a variety of workshops to meet the needs youth have identified including: financial literacy with Regions Bank and Wells Fargo, It’s My Future and Career Success with Junior Achievement, Cooking Matters (to help youth learn how to shop healthy on a budget and prepare meals), and Study Skills and Time Management through St Pete College.

 

Help for the Holidays

Average cost is $150 per child
The holidays can be particularly stressful for children in foster care, as this is when they miss their parents and siblings the most.  Many children in the dependency system are placed with relatives, neighbors or friends that are not financially able to provide for special gifts during the holiday season.  The Guardian ad Litem Foundation of Tampa Bay annually organizes a gift giving program to make sure that every child's holiday season is bright.  Last year, we provided holiday gifts for 1,300 of the neediest children and holiday turkeys and hams for over 300 families in the Tampa Bay area.  This is a special form that is sent out in August of each year.