What is FCA?

Child Advocacy Blog

Search



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.

Read the rest of this entry »



Stacie Schmerling Interviewed by USA Today

October 15th, 2020   No Comments   Sexual Abuse

Kelley Kronenberg‘s Justice for Kids Division Partner Stacie Schmerling recently sat down with USA TODAY to discuss a lawsuit filed last week in Marion County regarding the outrageous story of a three-week-old foster child who was sexually assaulted by another child in her foster home.

Read the rest of this entry »



Prominent Children’s Rights Lawyer Howard Talenfeld Once Again Selected to Florida 500

October 2nd, 2020   No Comments   News & Events

Howard M. Talenfeld, a leading children’s rights attorney and Business Unit Leader of Justice for Kids, a division of Kelley Kronenberg, has once again been selected by Florida Trend magazine for its annual Florida 500 list. This special section highlights the 500 most influential executives in different economic sectors throughout Florida.

As a Partner and Business Unit Leader with Kelley Kronenberg and Justice for Kids, Talenfeld is known as having established a robust children’s rights practice. His work on behalf of at-risk children has improved many lives and has resulted in judicial and legislative reforms. He is also the founder and Board President for Florida’s Children First (FCF), a statewide advocacy organization protecting the rights of foster children and at-risk youth. His leadership of FCF caught the attention of 2-1-1 Broward, which recently honored him as the Non-Profit Organization Board Leader of the Year in 2020.

Read the rest of this entry »



39 Missing, Trafficked Children Found Now Need Extraordinary Help

September 23rd, 2020   No Comments   Sexual Abuse

Recent news that US Marshals in Georgia rescued 39 children who had gone missing might seem like a miraculous ending to a sordid tale of children kidnapped and exploited for child sex trafficking and sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.

The truth is, while their rescue by federal, state, and local authorities was a blessing and an incredible law enforcement accomplishment, their recovery begins now.

Read the rest of this entry »



Boy Scouts Sex Abuse Victims Have Only A Few Weeks Left to Bring Claims Forward

September 18th, 2020   No Comments   Sexual Abuse

The Boy Scouts of America was intended as an outlet for young men and women to learn character development and values-based leadership training. The nationwide program has had more than 130 million participants in its 100+ year history. Sadly, the idyllic images of youth coming together for a greater purpose have been tarnished by claims of childhood sexual abuse.

Earlier this year, the Boys Scouts filed for bankruptcy, thus suspending all civil litigation against the organization – including hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits. As reported by CNN, several of the lawsuits allege repeated fondling, exposure to pornography, and forced anal or oral sex.

Read the rest of this entry »



Florida’s Children First to Host Virtual Wine Tasting Fundraiser in Orlando to Support Critical Work with Foster Youth

FLORIDA’S PREMIERE YOUTH ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION BRINGS NAPA TO YOUR HOME FOR A GREAT CAUSE

Orlando, Fla. – Florida’s Children First (FCF), an award-winning non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the rights of at–risk children and youth in the foster care system, is hosting the CHILL Virtual Wine Tasting fundraiser on Thursday, September 24, 2020 from 6 to 7 p.m. While Central Floridians continue to social distance, this event provides a safe yet entertaining venue for FCF to raise critical funds that support their mission of helping kids in and aging out of foster care, many of whom have been dramatically impacted by the pandemic.

Read the rest of this entry »



Florida’s Children First Brought Napa to South Florida with “CHILL” Virtual Fundraiser

Florida’s Premiere Youth Advocacy Organization Went Virtual to Help Youth in Foster Care

Florida’s Children First (FCF), an award-winning non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the rights of at–risk children and youth in the foster care system, recently hosted its first virtual fundraiser for its supporters in Miami. As we all continue to navigate the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, FCF brought individuals together virtually to raise funds to support their critical work with foster youth, many of whom have been dramatically impacted by the pandemic.

Read the rest of this entry »



Justice for Kids Business Unit Leader Howard Talenfeld Recognized by Best Lawyers®

August 20th, 2020   No Comments   News & Events

Howard M. Talenfeld, a preeminent children’s rights attorney, was recently selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2021 in the fields of Civil Rights Law and Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs. Talenfeld has been recognized by Best Lawyers® since 2017.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor.

Read the rest of this entry »



Florida’s Children First Launches “CHILL” Virtual Fundraiser to Support Critical Work with Foster Youth

FLORIDA’S PREMIERE YOUTH ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION BRINGS NAPA TO YOU,
AS IT GOES VIRTUAL TO HELP YOUTH IN FOSTER CARE

Florida’s Children First (FCF), an award-winning non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the rights of at–risk children and youth in the foster care system, is hosting the CHILL Virtual Wine Tasting fundraiser on July 29, 2020 at 6pm (EDT). While South Floridians continue to social distance, this event provides a safe venue for FCF to raise critical funds that support their mission of helping kids in and aging out of foster care, many of whom have been dramatically impacted by the pandemic.

Read the rest of this entry »



DBR: This Broward Woman’s Case Could Change the Way Hospitals, DCF Evaluate Disabled Parents

Sadly, individuals who live with a disability are constantly at risk of losing their children to state care, despite having done nothing wrong and despite whether a true threat exists. Stacie Schmerling, a partner at Justice for Kids, a division of Kelley Kronenberg, and attorney Matthew Dietz hope to shine a light on this injustice and change the way the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Child welfare systems assess parents with disabilities.

Read more about their case in this article from the Daily Business Review by clicking here.



Florida Bar President Dori Foster-Morales Appoints Children’s Rights Lawyer Howard Talenfeld Chair of Legal Needs of Children Committee

Howard M. Talenfeld, a respected children’s rights attorney and Business Unit Leader of Justice for Kids, a division of Kelley Kronenberg, has been named Chair of The Florida Bar Legal Needs of Children Committee, as appointed by Bar President Dori Foster-Morales. This is Talenfeld’s second appointment as Committee Chair, having served in the role from 2009-2010.

The Legal Needs of Children Committee was established to find ways to implement the 2002 recommendations of The Florida Bar Commission on the Legal Needs of Children. The committee monitors and has informed the legislative process where the legal needs of children are concerned.

Read the rest of this entry »



Op Ed: Coronavirus Changes are Everyday Life in Foster Care

Sadly, many of the challenges we are all facing during this pandemic are similar to what children in foster care experience every day. Hear firsthand from Florida Youth Shine advocate Jessica Overstreet in this op ed from Fostering Families Today magazine.

Click here to read more.



Netflix Expose’ on Son’s Torture, Death Nothing New to Florida Families

May 4th, 2020   No Comments   Abuse

The Netflix documentary, “The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez,” is the tragic story about catastrophic failures of the California child welfare system that led to the torture, abuse and death of an 8-year-old boy at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend.

The events might have unfolded 3,000 miles away. But they draw striking similarities to events that continue to happen in Florida and around the nation.

In young Gabriel’s case, signs of his physical abuse were clear enough that school teachers, neighbors, and others called the police and social service agencies numerous times. And each time, the authorities entrusted to protect him found an excuse to look the other way. Police even accused the boy of faking the abuse and released him to his mother.

Read the rest of this entry »