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Welcome to Florida Child Advocate

February 4th, 2018   No Comments   Abuse, Adoption, Advocacy

(Scroll Beyond This Introduction to Read the Latest Blog Post)

Thousands of foster children, former foster children, developmentally disabled and medically needy children are part of the Florida child care system. If you’re currently or formerly a child in – or an advocate for or parent of a child in the foster care system, Florida Child Advocate is here to help.

Every year, thousands of foster children, medically needy children, or those physically abused, sexually abused, the victims of personal injury,  legal damages, and pain and suffering are left to seek solutions on their own. No child should go through this on his or her own. And for the almost 500 who have died while under state watch, they deserved better.

This site was created by the law firm of Talenfeld Law, which was founded by nationally known Florida child advocate Howard Talenfeld, the preeminent children’s rights attorneys focusing exclusively on protecting the rights of physically and sexually abused children, developmentally disabled children and other at-risk children. Florida Child Advocate is dedicated to protecting children and addressing key issues facing those with foster care, physical abuse, child sexual abuse, social services, dependency, disability or personal injury and damages claims or lawsuits against the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), lead agencies, community based care providers, and other child welfare providers.

We believe that children belong with their own families. However, we also believe that when protective investigations by the Florida DCF and its agencies reveal that children are at high risk of neglect, child sex abuse or physical abuse by their parents, they must be placed with suitable relatives when they are available, and if not, some children must be placed in foster care. Critically, if children are going to be taken into foster care, they should be protected by the Florida Department of Children & Families and their community partners from the risk of physical and sexual abuse and returned home or placed in loving and nurturing adoptive families as quickly as possible. Topics also include the rights of foster Children to be safe from harm in care, their right to medical, psychological care, and disability benefits, their educational rights, and their rights on the road to independence.

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Justin Grosz interviewed by Sun-Sentinel for series on human trafficking issues in Florida

December 8th, 2022   No Comments   Human Trafficking, Uncategorized

The Sun-Sentinel newspaper is publishing a four-part series that investigates the serious issue of sex trafficking at Florida hotels. Justin Grosz, co-founder of the Justice for Kids Division, has filed lawsuits against hotels where underage girls are suspected of having been trafficked for sex, and shares his insights in part one of the series.

Click here to read part 1

Click here to read part 2, which focuses on girls in foster care.



New Law Provides Foster and Adoptive Families with Additional Resources to Care for Children Exposed to Trauma, Abuse, and Neglect

November 22nd, 2022   No Comments   Abuse, News & Events

Public Act 102-926 provides intervention services for abused and neglected children in the Child Welfare System.  Early exposure to trauma, abuse and neglect can damage a developing brain and lead to developmental disabilities.  Historically, families involved in Illinois’ Child Welfare System struggled to navigate and attain necessary resources.  The new law aims to expand eligibility under DHS’ Child Care Assistance Program to include foster parents or caregivers of youth in care, regardless of whether they are working or participating in employment or education programs.  Families can seek these services through DCFS, but only for abused and neglected children under the age of three.

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School bus carrying a Chicago area high school hockey team hit and flipped on its side injuring 16 students; Police were warned driver was speeding excessively and swerving

November 15th, 2022   No Comments   News & Events

A school bus carrying 23 students from St. Ignatius College Preparatory in Chicago was struck by a tractor trailer, resulting in injuries to 16 children.  Police in Warsaw, Indiana were warned that a truck was swerving and excessively speeding on a highway.  The truck then ran a red light, striking the bus of 23 students, two coaches, and a driver, who were returning from a hockey tournament.  The impact flipped the bus to its side, ejecting at least one student from the bus and injuring 16 other students between the ages of 14 and 17.  Three students required surgery and are now in stable condition.  Police referred charges against the driver to the Kosciusko County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, in Indiana, for operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury.

Read more from Yahoo! News here.



BND: Foster parents want justice for child who died after IL DCFS removed him from their care

Chicago, IL foster care child abuse law firms have been following the devasting news about the death of two-year-old Hunter Drew. After the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services took protective custody from Hunter’s mom, he was placed with his aunt and uncle. Despite several improvements to his health and well-being since the move, Hunter was again moved to his dad’s and stepmom’s home about two months before his stepmom was accused of child abuse which allegedly led to his passing.

Read more about this sad case of foster child death and child abuse here.



Holly Hill man accused of repeatedly abusing foster children to remain in jail, judge rules

August 10th, 2022   No Comments   Abuse, Foster Care

A Holly Hill man accused of repeatedly abusing at least four foster children will remain in jail without bond, a judge ruled on Monday.

Lawrence Henry Williams, 50, was arrested last week on one count of sexual battery and one count of lewd and lascivious molestation. According to the state attorney’s office, he was “mistakenly issued a bond contrary to the law and the no bond mandate on the arrest warrant.”

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A baby died in foster care in Marion. Now two social service agencies face negligence case.

August 2nd, 2022   No Comments   Court Cases

Stacie Schmerling and Lisa Elliott of Kelley Kronenberg’s Justice for Kids Division have filed a lawsuit against two social service agencies on behalf of the estate of an infant who died while in foster care in Marion County. Read more in this article from the Ocala StarBanner here.

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In lawsuits, Turpin siblings say foster parents beat them, forced them to eat vomit

July 22nd, 2022   No Comments   Abuse

As reported by the Desert Sun, “Six of the Turpin siblings have filed lawsuits against Riverside County and a foster care provider, saying they faced further abuse after being rescued from decades of confinement and malnourishment at the hands of their parents.”

Read more here.



Distraught parents still waiting for answers from Homestead daycare after death of 9-month-old son

July 21st, 2022   No Comments   daycare negligence

Another tragic daycare death from overheating raises questions about daycare‘s negligence.

Read more from WPLG Local 10 here.



Another Child Death from Neglect After Being Left in a Motor Vehicle

July 11th, 2022   No Comments   Negligence

As reported by WPLG Local 10, “Detectives are investigating how a 3-year-old boy died inside a car outside of a school on Monday afternoon in Miami Gardens.

According to the Miami Gardens Police Department, officers responded just after 3:45 p.m. to the Lubavitch Educational Center, at 17330 NW 7th Ave. Fire Rescue personnel used a helicopter to fly the boy to the hospital where a doctor pronounced him dead, police said.”

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What ‘Safety First’ for Children Should Mean

June 22nd, 2022   No Comments   Abuse

The following was published in the New York Law Journal.  Click here to read the full text on ResearchGate.

As a policy matter, we must address and end the circumstances of parents who raise allegations of abuse of their child during the pendency of a divorce from being unjustly attacked as being the problem. To shield these parents from attack requires absolute adherence to child safety protocols before any custody actions are considered. In other words, investigations and hearings should be held on the sole issue of safety rather than permitting the merging of such allegations into a custody matter.



Lawsuit: DCF accused of keeping kids from relatives, adopting them to system-connected strangers

As reported by ABC Action News in Tampa, Taniyah and Rodney Williams are among four Florida families now suing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and leaders of Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) along with several other state foster care organizations.

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Tallahassee Democrat: Frustrated foster parents support attorneys for children

June 14th, 2022   No Comments   Foster Care

As foster parents licensed by Florida’s Department of Children and Families, my wife and I are directly responsible for meeting critical day-to-day needs of the children in our home. Whether it is getting a child to necessary medical or therapeutic specialists, finding the most appropriate school, or advocating for educational supports.

Read more here.