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Phone: (407) 960-7000

Children

Your support funds Children’s Legal Services grants that:

  • Protect children from abuse
  • Secure services for disabled children and those aging out of foster care
  • Work to end juvenile solitary confinement
  • Combat the overuse of the Baker Act in schools

 

“It’s one of those things that you can’t believe is happening to your family.”

Teen twins Hope and Quincy’s mother had been arrested for aggravated child abuse, and the twins were now involved in a criminal case against her and a dependency case.

Their great aunt and uncle, Melissa and Eddie Whitted, had finished raising four of their own children when they were confronted with this family emergency in 2018. Melissa’s great niece and nephew were the victims of severe physical abuse
at the hands of their mother.

Melissa immediately knew that she wanted to take in the twins. But she didn’t know the legal system.

What would follow were too many court dates to count and laws and legal terms to understand.

“She was a lifesaver. She made things much easier for us.”

Then, Melissa, Hope and Quincy met Ronnie Syme, a staff attorney with Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association. Syme became their guardian ad litem in both cases.

As the twins’ guardian ad litem, Syme advocated for a protective injunction against their mother’s paramour, who had neglected to report the abuse.

She helped ensure that services were provided to the Whitteds and the children, and ultimately was successful in advocating for the termination of parental rights which led to the successful adoption of the twins by Melissa and Eddie.

And, in the criminal case, Syme was able to ensure that both the mother and her paramour were prosecuted for their actions.

With a lawyer’s help, Hope and Quincy could focus on their future.

Now seniors in high school, Hope will be attending the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, and Quincy plans to attend the University of West Florida in the fall.

Civil legal aid lawyers help our state’s most vulnerable children. You can help them by supporting the Children’s Legal Services fund.

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Invest in Florida's Children

With funding for civil legal aid in Florida at its lowest point in 10 years, a new study shows that every dollar spent on civil legal services for the state’s low-income residents yields more than $7 in economic impacts.

Leadership and Funding for Justice in Florida

The mission of The Florida Bar Foundation is to provide greater access to justice. Through strategic grantmaking, the Foundation funds civil legal aid and projects to improve the administration of justice and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the legal aid delivery system. In addition to providing funds directly to Florida legal aid organizations, the Foundation engages in catalytic philanthropy by investing in training, technology, technical assistance, assessment and capacity-building for the legal aid delivery system and works to develop and expand innovative pro bono initiatives.

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