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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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More than 600 Children Separated, Caged, Abused, and Neglected by U.S. Government

November 18th, 2020   No Comments   Abuse

The U.S. immigration crisis has led to the placement of 666 children, in cages, subjecting them to varying abuse and neglect from the Government which their parents sought protection. Instead of being placed in safe foster homes which the U.S. government requires of the states who remove children from the parents, an estimated 666 children have been ripped away from parents, placed in cages, and deprived of basic love, empathy, and kindness.

Cognitive development is critical for a child’s well-being; unfortunately, when the Limbic, an area of the brain that controls emotions and behavioral actions, and the Cortex system, an area of the brain which involves abstract thinking, is subject to abuse and neglect during the first five years of a child’s life, the brain cannot fully develop. This early set-back subjects a child to permanent lifelong trauma, irrepealable harm and has a detrimental effect on the remainder of the child’s life and even the community at large.

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Florida’s Children First Invites Supporters to Virtually Escape to Napa: State Attorney’s Office Communications Officer Grayson Kamm to Emcee

FLORIDA’S PREMIERE YOUTH ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION OFFERS A UNIQUE WAY FOR TAMPA BAY AREA PATRONS TO SIP, SUPPORT OR SAY “THANK YOU” WITH A SPECIAL GIFT THAT SUPPORTS THEIR CRITICAL WORK


Tampa, Fla. – Florida’s Children First (FCF), an award-winning nonprofit 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, December 3, 2020 from 6 to 7 p.m. As part of its annual Greater Tampa Bay area fundraiser, patrons will enjoy a safe, socially distanced and fun way to “escape” from their local surroundings for a bit, while affording FCF the opportunity to raise funds and educate supporters on their mission of helping kids in and aging out of foster care.

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The Ledger: Florida foster child sexually abused for 4 years, private agency misses multiple red flags

When Florida’s child welfare system fails, the child pays the ultimate price. Far too often, warning signs are overlooked by the private agencies entrusted to care for our kids. In the case of one young boy in Osceola county, they were ignored for four years. This tragic lack of oversight led to the child’s repeated sexual abuse, battery, and continuous exploitation by his relative caregiver/adopted parent.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.