Vision, Mission & History
Voices for Kids of Southwest Florida (VFK) believes that all children deserve a personal advocate and a permanent home. For most children, parents provide both. Abused, neglected and abandoned children must rely on the court, child welfare system, community support and the personal caring and advocacy of Guardian ad Litem volunteers.
Southwest Florida’s Guardian ad Litem volunteers become the eyes, ears and voices for our community’s most vulnerable children. They speak up for the child’s best interests every day in court, the child welfare system and the community, and have a statutory right to be heard on the child’s behalf.
VFK also believes that beyond the basics of food and safe shelter, all abused, neglected and abandoned children deserve a normal childhood, including things children living with parents have, like a bed and birthday celebration of their own…and the chance to participate in sports, the arts, summer camps, and individualized tutoring.
To realize this vision, Voices for Kids’ goal is to ensure a Guardian ad Litem volunteer for every abused, neglected, and abandoned child in Southwest Florida’s five counties, and to make financial assistance available for addressing children’s individual social, health and educational needs, not provided by any other source.
Since 1983, Southwest Floridians have been volunteering and raising funds on behalf of our region’s most vulnerable children. First, through a non-profit Guardian Advisory Board which solicited donations for basic items such as emergency clothing, home safety gates, or a suitable bed to allow the child to be placed with a caring relative, non-relative, or foster home.
As the population of Southwest Florida grew, so did the number of children needing a volunteer advocate. In 2002, the Guardian Advisory Board became Voices for Kids of Southwest Florida, Inc (VFK) and expanded its role to include raising funds to support the recruitment, training, retention, and recognition of volunteers who represent the Guardian ad Litem Program for Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit.
Since 2002, VFK has raised over $1.8 million on behalf of this dual mission. We have funded the recruitment and training for over 1000 volunteers, including 100-150 new volunteers annually, because of attrition and increased population. These 1000+ volunteers have represented over 5000 children, resulting in over 2000 family reunifications and 515 adoptions.