Crestview Guardian Ad Litem raising awareness April 28

nwfdn child studying arts
FILE PHOTO / Northwest Florida Daily News
Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 05:34 PM.

CRESTVIEW — The Crestview Guardian Ad Litem will commemorate abused, neglected and abandoned children at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Twin Hills Park.   

The program will feature musical performances from Jeilani Champion; Dr. Linda Smith, a case advocacy manager for Guardian; and the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church children’s choir. The Baker School ROTC will present the color guard. The event will also feature guest speaker Ken Hair of Children in Crisis in Fort Walton Beach.

Guardian Ad Litem, a non-profit, volunteer-based, state-operated organization, works on behalf of foster children or children placed in another home due to court intervention. The program coordinates with the Florida Department of Children and Family services, in which volunteers ensure children's needs are served in their new environments.

"We make sure no further harm comes to them," said Carita Smith, lead volunteer coordinator. "We speak to the judge on that child's behalf."

The event aims to raise awareness for children not currently in the Guardian program.

The program assists more than 1,000 Okaloosa children; 140 north Okaloosa children lack Guardian representation, Smith said.

Due to the limited number of volunteers, Guardian cannot reach as many of these children as they would like.   

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