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Welcome to Florida Child Advocate

October 17th, 2013   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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Foster Child Deaths Again Highlight Failed Privatized Welfare System

A letter to the editor from preeminent foster child rights attorney Howard Talenfeld was published in the Miami Herald and the Naples Daily News this week regarding the tragic deaths of teens like Giulianna Ramos Bermudez, Lauryn Martin-Everett and Naika Venant.

Their suicides prove again that privatization of the child welfare system has done little to improve the welfare of Florida’s children.

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Free Pass for Florida Foster Families to State Parks

July 6th, 2017   No Comments   Advocacy

July was a good month for foster families and families who adopt special needs children. Starting this month, foster families statewide can enjoy for free any of the state’s 174 state parks. The news is the result of legislation passed and signed by Governor Rick Scott during the during this year’s legislative session.

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Florida Foster Child Advocacy Firm Talenfeld Law Named 2017 Law Firm of the Year

Talenfeld Law, the preeminent law firm serving Florida children who have been abused, harmed, and neglected in foster care and other child welfare settings, has been named the 2017 Law Firm of the Year by Broward Lawyers Care, the pro bono project of Legal Aid Service of Broward County (LAS) and Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida (CCLA).

Talenfeld Law is led by Howard Talenfeld, one of the nation’s 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.

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Howard Talenfeld Profiled in the Daily Business Review

June 19th, 2017   No Comments   Uncategorized

Firm founder and Managing Partner Howard Talenfeld was recently profiled in the Daily Business Review. You can read more about his journey to becoming one of the nation’s preeminent children’s rights attorneys here.

Click here to read Howard’s profile in the Daily Business Review.



Florida Foster Child Lawyer: ‘Bridge to Justice’ Breakfast from Broward Legal Aid Raises $54,000

June 13th, 2017   No Comments   Advocacy

This month’s seventh annual Bridge to Justice Breakfast, hosted by the Executive Council of Legal Aid Service of Broward County (LAS) and Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida (CCLA) raised more than $54,000 to help members of the community who need access to justice.

Howard Talenfeld with author Dave Pelzer

Dave Pelzer, a New York Times best-selling author, keynote speaker, and survivor of severe child abuse, spoke to 160 attendees about the challenges he once faced – and his decision to survive. His appearance was sponsored by children’s advocacy law firm Talenfeld Law, a children’s advocacy law firm in Broward County.

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UBS Sr. VP Darran Blake Honored for Choosing Florida’s Children First as Recipient of $10,000 Donation

Florida’s Children First (FCF), the state’s premier child advocacy organization, has been presented $10,000 by financial executive Darran Blake, on behalf of the Estate of the Rosemary Duffy Larson Trust.

“It is because of the generous support of our donors and sponsors that we are able to continue our fight to protect society’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Howard Talenfeld, FCF President and Managing Partner of Talenfeld Law. “Darran has been involved with children’s charities in our community for many years, and we are grateful she thought of FCF for this wonderful contribution.”

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Florida’s Children First to Host Miami-Dade Awards and Fundraiser

May 9th, 2017   No Comments   Advocacy

Florida’s Children First, Florida’s preeminent child advocacy group, has announced its annual Miami-Dade Fundraiser and Awards Ceremony. The event will be held Thursday, May 18, 2017, from 5:30PM to 7:30PM at the law firm of Hogan Lovells (600 Brickell Avenue, 27th Floor Miami, FL 33131).

To RSVP learn more, email events@floridaschildrenfirst.org or call 954-796-0860, or RSVP online at www.floridaschildrenfirst.org. All proceeds to benefit FCF. $100 contribution suggested.

Founded by leading Florida child advocacy attorney Howard Talenfeld, Florida’s Children First will honor child advocates in Miami at its annual fundraising and awards event. Community and business leaders, and all other persons concerned about the future of Florida’s children, especially abused, abandoned and neglected children and youth, will be in attendance.

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Child Rights Attorney: South Florida Children Sexually, Emotionally Abused by Human Trafficking

April 15th, 2017   No Comments   Abuse

Many think of “child abuse” as a physical act of abuse being committed upon kids who are emotionally, physically, or sexually harmed by others. The harm they face, whether as young children or teenagers in households with their families, living in the system, or enduring life on the streets, often is beyond the view of daily life.

Yet, there’s another peril infecting society that recently was raised by child advocates; Human trafficking. This form of abuse knows no bounds. If affects children – and adults – of almost all ages and socio-economic backgrounds everywhere in the world. It can start with an adult befriending an unwitting but vulnerable child and steering them toward a life of sexual slavery.

While government organizations and private groups work to help prevent at-risk kids from falling into the trap of human trafficking, it’s up to society to do more.

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Foster Child Suicide Shows Florida’s Failed Child Welfare Privatization Experiment

When the Florida Department of Children and Families responded to a records request by the media regarding the suicide of Lauryn Martin-Everett with the line, “We remain deeply saddened by the tragic loss of this child,” some could argue the admission itself was a reflection of the state’s failed experiment with privatization and outsourcing of child welfare services.

The 16-year-old girl was a ward of the state; her parents knew little about her care or what led to her death by hanging. Though she spent eight years in “the system,” a DCF “child fatality summary” was less than three pages long.

Whether Gabriel Myers;  Naika Venant, the 14-year-old who hanged herself in a Miami Gardens foster home little over a month later, or Lauryn, we’ve learned that privatization of the child welfare system has done little to improve the welfare of the state’s children.

Again, child abuse attorneys and others who fight for the rights of abused, neglected, sexually abused, or those minors otherwise harmed or the victims of wrongful death while in the Florida child welfare system are left to wonder: When will the final stories of these children’s sad lives amount to a three-page summary? And when will the lessons be learned?



Fort Lauderdale Lawyer: Two Suicides In 60 Days Means Florida’s Foster Care Privatization Is A Failure

Pioneering South Florida child advocacy attorney Howard Talenfeld, who fights for the rights of children harmed, injured, physically and sexually abused, or who have died while under the watch of Florida’s child welfare system, recently spoke with WLRN to discuss the need to end Florida’s tragic, failed experiment with child welfare privatization.

“It’s the Department of Children and Families that gives the job to a contractor like Our Kids, and they contract out with case management agencies,” Talenfeld says. “We’re seeing kids that just aren’t in the right kinds of placements, don’t receive the right kinds of services. In her case, she wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near the Internet…We’re trying to get at the truth. Until we know what the truth is, we couldn’t even begin to try to determine what’s appropriate.”

As Florida’s premier law firm exclusively dedicated to fighting for and protecting the rights of abused, disabled and injured children in personal injury and damages cases, our lawyers have earned their reputations nationally by earning precedent-setting verdicts and rulings, delivering multimillion dollar settlements and providing pro bono legal counsel that helps our clients on their paths to recovery.



Florida DCF Lawyer Warned in Case of Foster Child Suicide Aired on Facebook Live

Private attorneys who fight for the rights of at-risk and foster children are watching closely as a Miami judge overseeing a case related to a child’s January suicide that was streamed from her foster home on Facebook Live threatened a Florida Department of Children and Families lawyer to jail for reportedly misleading the judge.  The judge is exploring whether other children in the foster home may have witnessed Naika Venant, the 14-year-old emotionally troubled foster child as she hanged herself.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Maria Sampedro-Iglesia, the judge overseeing the case, demanded Florida’s regional child welfare legal director to appear in her court in March.

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Attorney: Girl Who Streamed Suicide on Facebook Live Was Failed by System

When a 14-year-old girl used Facebook Live to live-stream her suicide, the world came to discover the help she desperately needed and never received from Florida’s social services agencies, notes her attorney. Her destructive behavior and long stint in foster care should have been sufficient warning. But as with other cases, warning flags were missed, overlooked, or ignored.

Foster care had been part of Nakia Venant’s life since 2009 – 10 different foster homes and child shelters, even hotels and a child welfare office, since last April alone. Excessive corporal punishment initiated some of the outbursts; alleged sexual abuse by another child while in state care exacerbated her situation. Then, she committed suicide while streaming live on social media, notes Howard Talenfeld, the child welfare attorney representing Venant’s mother, in an article in the Miami Herald

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