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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.

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 »



Howard Talenfeld Recognized By 2-1-1 Broward as Non-Profit Board Leader

April 23rd, 2020   No Comments   Uncategorized

Howard M. Talenfeld, a preeminent children’s rights attorney and partner with Justice for Kids, a division of Kelley Kronenberg, was recently honored by 2-1-1 Broward as the Non-Profit Organization Board Leader of the Year. Since 2002, Howard has served as founder and Board President for Florida’s Children First (FCF), Florida’s “go to” agency protecting the rights of foster children and at-risk youth.

Through his leadership over the past two decades, FCF has evolved into a powerhouse that passes crucial legislation, mentors foster youth, changes policy and practice.

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Florida Bar Foundation Revamps Proposed Grants to Build COVID-19 Reserve

April 17th, 2020   No Comments   Advocacy

We are so proud that The Florida Bar Foundation increased Florida’s Children First’s yearly grant and recognized the great systemic work FCF does for children!

Read more from the Florida Bar Foundations here.



New York Times: ‘It’s Hit Our Front Door’: Homes for the Disabled See a Surge of Covid-19

April 9th, 2020   No Comments   News & Events

As reported by the New York Times, 1,100 of the 140,000 developmentally disabled people monitored by the state of New York had tested positive for the virus, state officials said as of Monday. One hundred five had died — a rate, far higher than in the general population, that echoes the toll in some nursing homes.

Read more from the New York Times here.



Local 10: Employee at Broward Youth Treatment Center tests positive for coronavirus

At Justice for Kids, one of our greatest fears is that children in Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) delinquency programs, foster care and disability group homes contract the Coronavirus.

According to Local 10 WPLG, The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice confirmed that an employee at a South Florida facility has tested positive for coronavirus. Read more here.



Talenfeld Law and The JG Firm Join Forces with Kelley Kronenberg to Create Leading Practice Representing Children

January 24th, 2020   No Comments   JusticeForKids.us, News & Events

Three law firms join forces to form Justice for Kids Division at Kelley Kronenberg; Adds 10th office in Daytona Beach

Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Kelley Kronenberg, a diverse full-service law firm, has partnered with Talenfeld Law and The JG Firm to create the Justice for Kids Division at the firm. This division is one of the largest practices in the U.S. devoted solely to protecting abused, disabled and catastrophically injured children. The Justice for Kids Division will collaborate with all of Kelley Kronenberg’s offices in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Miami Lakes, West Palm Beach, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and Chicago, including the addition of an office in Daytona Beach.

Read the rest of this entry »



Talenfeld Law Listed in 2020 “Best Law Firms”

December 2nd, 2019   No Comments   Personal Injury

Talenfeld Law has been recognized by U.S. News – Best Lawyers on its 2020 “Best Law Firms” list. The firm received a Metropolitan (Fort Lauderdale) Tier 3 ranking for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs.



Talenfeld Law Partners Listed in 2020 South Florida Legal Guide

November 14th, 2019   No Comments   News & Events

Congratulations to  firm Partners Howard Talenfeld and Stacie Schmerling on their selection to South Florida Business & Wealth magazine’s 2020 South Florida Legal Guide “Top Lawyers” List! 

 

 

 

 

 



Tampa Bay Times: Plan to use secure facility for Hillsborough’s problem foster teens is ‘ludicrous,’ sheriff says

A plan to use a secure facility to house Hillsborough’s problem foster teens is being met with opposition from several groups, including the Hillsborough County Sheriff, the Hillsborough County Commission Chairman, and Florida’s Children First. They warn that forcing children into a locked facility will cause them more emotional harm.

According to a recent news report from the Tampa Bay Times, Sheriff Chronister “described the plan, which is backed by the Florida Department of Children and Families, as ‘ludicrous’ and warned Wednesday it would further erode children’s confidence in the grownups entrusted to care for them.”

Read more from the Tampa Bay Times here.



Local 10: Police say Miami foster mother abused children, causing one girl to die

October 18th, 2019   No Comments   Abuse

In what has been described by Miami-Dade police and the Department of Children and Families as “one of the most horrifying cases of abuse they have seen” Local 10 WPLG reports that a local foster mother is facing abuse charges for the alleged abuse of three girls, ranging in ages from 6 to 12 years old.

According to the report published by Local 10, “numerous injuries from former beatings were found on their bodies, including healed marks and healed burn scars on their hands and fingers.”

Read more of this horrific story of child abuse by clicking here.



Deadline: ‘Foster Boy,’ Legal Thriller About Foster Child, Has Surprising Real-Life Turn Of Events

October 17th, 2019   No Comments   Abuse

“Foster Boy” is a legal thriller about the abuse of an African-American kid in the foster system. As reported by Deadline, “the screenwriter for the film Foster Boy won a $45M judgment against a social services agency — the largest award in the history of the state of Illinois in a case involving the death of a toddler in the foster system.”

Sadly, there are far worse cases here in Florida.

Read more about the movie by clicking here.