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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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Florida Child Abuse Attorney: Journal Reveals Allegations of Child Sex Abuse

August 9th, 2016   No Comments   Abuse, Advocacy

When a judge admits that a case of suspected child sexual abuse is “by far one of the worst allegations I have ever seen in my career and it greatly disturbs this court,” it should raise alarms among child advocates, South Florida child abuse lawyers, and Fort Lauderdale foster child supporters.

That was Broward Judge Michael Davis’ comment following the revelation of a child who said that the child and two siblings had been sexually abused. The defendant, Amber Williams, 29, has been charged with molesting a child under age 12 and child neglect.

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Court to DCF: ‘Astounding’ that Agency Didn’t Follow Case of At-Risk Child Whose Mother Now Says is Dead

A Miami-Dade Circuit Judge chastised the Florida Department of Children and Families Broward County office for not following more closely the case of a toddler whose mother now reports the child has died.

According to news reports, after Judge Cindy Lederman learned that Broward DCF was not monitoring the family, whose children had previously been removed following the mother’s arrest, the judge said, “It seems like someone in Broward is sleeping, all the priors here and nothing was done. It’s astounding, quite frankly.”

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Florida DCF Investigating Death of Infant Taken From Family

Another infant has died while under the watch of the Florida Department of Children and Families and one of its privately contracted providers, spurring child advocacy attorneys and lawyers who fight for at-risk children or those suffering abuse or harm to closely follow this case.

Miracle Collins, only 7 months old, was taken from her mother in February after reports of domestic violence, according to news reports on a Tampa Police Department report. Eckerd Kids, a contractor to the Florida DCF, placed the child with a family friend. The child was sleeping on the couch, and later was found unresponsive.

A DCF critical incident team is investigating the death.

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Florida Foster Child Abuse Attorney Named to ‘Super Lawyers’ List

Howard M. Talenfeld, the preeminent Florida foster child abuse lawyer and children’s rights attorney, has been included in the 2016 Florida Super Lawyers list. Talenfeld was selected to the 2016 Civil Rights Super Lawyers category. Talenfeld has been listed in Florida Super Lawyers Magazine since 2006 and was named in the “Top 100: 2014 Miami Super Lawyers” list.

Talenfeld is the Founder and Managing Partner of Talenfeld Law, the first law firm in Florida to focus exclusively on protecting the rights of physically and sexually abused, medically fragile, foster and other at-risk children. Known throughout the legal community and national media as having established the nation’s premier children’s rights practice, his work on behalf of at-risk individuals has earned multimillion dollar awards and resulted in sweeping judicial and legislative reforms.

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Before Mother Reportedly Smothers Two Children in Broward, Warning Signs Were There

June 27th, 2016   No Comments   Abuse, Aging Out

The deaths of two young children in Miramar, Florida, allegedly at the hands of their mother, should serve as yet another warning of how children’s protective services need to be more protective of the children. Ariel, a toddler, and St. Leo, 7 months old, were taken from and later returned to their mother by social service authorities in their hometown of Philadelphia.

Then this month, their mother – Sophia Hines – allegedly smothered both children while staying in South Florida. The woman previously had been under care for severe depression, and the children “were receiving in-home services” from a Philadelphia social services agency, according to the Miami Herald, which fought Philadelphia authorities and the Florida Department of Children and Families successfully to review the family’s case file.

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Florida Couple Arrested for Child Abuse Highlights Need to Report Harm

June 20th, 2016   No Comments   Abuse, Advocacy

Throughout society, law enforcement officials and child abuse advocates and foster care attorneys implore citizens who witness crimes to take an important step: “See something? Say something.” An Okeechobee, Florida, mother has been arrested for not reporting suspected abuse of her two young children perpetrated by her husband.

Detectives with the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office and investigators from the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) reportedly arrived at the family’s home this month on reports of child abuse. Investigators reported that the children, aged 2 and 4, suffered bruises and black eyes. One child had hair pulled out, the police reported. It was characterized as “extreme physical injury,” according to news reports.

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Tampa Community to Celebrate Foster Child Advocates on June 7

Join some of Tampa’s leading child advocates, child abuse attorneys, and those who fight for the rights of Florida’s foster children and other neglected kids whenFlorida’s Children First hosts its Tampa Bay Area Child Advocacy Awards & Reception. The event will be held on Tuesday, June 7, 2016, from 5:15pm to 7:30pmat The Law Offices of Shook Hardy & Bacon (100 N. Tampa Street, Suite 2900, Tampa 33602). Register Now.

The event will honor some of the Tampa area’s most prominent and tireless child advocates. They include:

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Florida’s Children First Honors Miami-Dade State Attorney, Senator and Public Defender’s Office at its Miami Awards Reception

Florida’s Children First (FCF), the statewide advocacy organization focused on protecting the legal rights of at-risk and foster care children, had a very successful Miami-Dade awards reception last week.

Dozens of community and business leaders, and all other persons concerned about the future of Florida’s abused, abandoned and neglected children, were there to honor the 2016 award recipients. This year’s Champion for Children award went to Sen. Anitere Flores, who has been an active advocate since her teen years and has been in public service since 2004. Receiving Child Advocate of the Year Awards were Katherine Fernandez Rundle of the State Attorney’s Office and Carlos J. Martinez of the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s Office. Additionally, Edward Cody was honored as the 2016 Youth Advocate of the Year for Miami.

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Foster Care Documentary Shows the Need for Reform of Florida’s Privatized Child Welfare System

April 15th, 2016   No Comments   Abuse, Foster Care

Florida’s privatized system of foster care is still failing our children.  This documentary, which aired at the Palm Beach film festival, tells the story of many children who have fallen through the cracks of Florida’s experiment and who have been physically, sexually and emotionally abused in the system that was supposed to protect them. It begins the discussion as to what we must do next to protect our state’s children.

 

Foster Shock Documentary Trailer from Brian Bayerl on Vimeo.



Talenfeld Law Expands to Central Florida; Attorney Lisa M. Elliott to Head Children’s Rights Office in Daytona Beach

Talenfeld Law, Florida’s only law firm dedicated exclusively to protecting abused, disabled and injured children, has opened an office in Daytona Beach. Attorney Lisa M. Elliott will lead the office, and becomes the firm’s fifth lawyer. Ms. Elliott will now devote her practice to protecting these very special children throughout Central and Northern Florida.

Talenfeld - Lisa Elliott“We are thrilled that Lisa has joined our firm and will allow us to handle more cases and better serve children throughout Florida,” said Howard Talenfeld, the firm’s managing partner. “Lisa’s skills, reputation and advocacy for vulnerable children and her connection to Central Florida’s communities make her an invaluable addition to our firm.”

Mr. Talenfeld first met Ms. Elliott while working together with her on civil rights and damages cases with the late Gainesville lawyer and well-known child advocate Gloria Fletcher. While at her prominent Gainesville law firm, Ms. Elliott represented children who had been injured or abused in the Florida child welfare system, and advocated for clients in personal injury claims and other civil matters. She opened her own practice in 2015.

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Child Advocate: Attorneys’ Work Pays Off As State Settles Child Medicaid Class-Action Suit

April 9th, 2016   No Comments   Commentary, Court Cases

Attorneys who claimed millions of Florida children had failed to receive medical check-ups under Medicaid reached a milestone settlement with the state in the class-action lawsuit. The agreement followed federal lawsuits that claimed the children didn’t receive medical or dental care. In 2014, the judge in the case agreed with the plaintiffs and ordered both sides into mediation. The news is a significant win for the state’s neglected at-risk and foster children.

The attorneys representing children in this case, Stuart Singer and Carl Goldfarb with law firm Boies Schiller & Flexner, were presented by child advocate attorney Howard Talenfeld with the Florida’s Children First Child Advocates of the Year in a presentation earlier this year for their commitment to the decade-long case.

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Florida Foster Child Abuse Lawyer Howard Talenfeld Receives UM Law Alumni Achievement Award

More than 150 local attorneys and officials were in attendance this week to celebrate the awarding of the University of Miami Law Alumni Association’s Alumni Achievement Award to Howard M. Talenfeld. A leading Florida foster care abuse attorney and life-long advocate for children’s rights, Talenfeld was recognized for his tireless efforts on behalf of society’s most vulnerable citizens.

The award was presented by Fort Lauderdale attorney and 2015 award recipient Bruce Lyons, Miami attorney and president of the Law Alumni Association Edward R. Shohat, and University of Miami School of Law Dean Patricia D. White.

“Howard was a natural for this award. We’re very proud of his pioneering work for children’s causes,” said Shohat. “The association represents over 30,000 alumni around the world, and Howard is an excellent ambassador for the school.”

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