Press Release – 01/05/18
FLORIDA JUSTICE TECHNOLOGY CENTER PARTNERS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS ADVOCATE, MICHELLE KENNEY, TO BUILD ONLINE GUARDIAN ADVOCACY TOOL
New tool will help families protect disabled children as they enter the guardianship system in adulthood.
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA January 5, 2018 –Florida Justice Technology Center (FJTC) and Special Needs Advocate, Michelle Kenney, Esq., will partner to build an online service that provides guidance and resources to families seeking information about the guardian advocacy process. The tool will help families navigate the guardian advocacy legal system, including those with disabled children who may need guardianship services in their adult years.
Guardian advocacy can be a complex process, with forms and procedures varying from county to county and court to court. This project will simplify that process, giving users an interactive, online resource that provides both essential information as well as guidance to complete the forms and the guardian advocacy process itself. The new tool will encompass forms and information from counties and courts statewide and will give some much-needed assistance to Floridians facing guardianship challenges.
Michelle Kenney brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the project. The founder of Rainy Day Disability Resources, Inc., she has devoted much of her career to assisting families with guardianship-related concerns. After deciding to close her nonprofit, she was looking for a way to continue her mission and when she was introduced to FJTC by Jayme Cassidy, an FJTC Board Member, she knew she had found her answer. “I am so excited to be working with the FJTC,” Ms. Kenney says, “and to continue my vision to provide assistance for these families in an easily accessible format that offers a statewide reach. This tool is long overdue and will be a real innovation for this community. I can’t thank Jayme enough for making the connection.”
As an FJTC Board Member, Jayme Cassidy knew of the unique expertise FJTC could bring to the project and saw this partnership as a perfect fit. “Florida has an abundance of hidden gems like Michelle that can contribute to the mission of FJTC,” Ms. Cassidy said. “We are always seeking professionals from all industries to help us bridge the justice gap, whether in a partnership capacity, participating on our Board or even assisting with fundraising.”
To facilitate the project, Ms. Kenney transferred $62,600 – the remaining balance of funds from her nonprofit – to FJTC, and will serve as the subject matter expert on the project. Having recently launched a similar tool with UpdateNameGender.org, FJTC will drive the project, providing design, development and project management services. “We’re extremely excited to create this resource,” said Joyce Raby, FJTC’s Executive Director, “and look forward to working with Michelle to bring it to life. FJTC’s core mission is to bridge the justice gap and we believe this tool is a positive step in that direction.”
FJTC will also continue to manage the tool, using traditional funding sources. The new guardian advocacy tool is expected to launch in the second half of 2018.
About Florida Justice Technology Center
FJTC is an independent statewide 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, devoted to increasing access to justice through the innovative use of technology.
3122 Mahan Drive, Suite801-202
Tallahassee, FL 32308
About Michelle Kenney, Esq.
Michelle Kenney has participated in the development of most of the curricula used in Florida for guardianship training and works as an Elder Law attorney. She is a Florida Supreme Court certified circuit civil and county mediator and is an instructor for the guardianship courses in Broward County and online across Florida.
About Jayme Cassidy
Jayme Cassidy is an FJTC Board Member and the Director of the Veterans Law Clinic, Legal Incubator Program and the Adults with Intellectual and Development Disabilities Clinic at Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law. She received her J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law and served in the public sector as a Chief Assistant for the Broward County Public Defender, a supervising attorney at Coast to Coast Legal Aid, and as an Assistant Attorney General.