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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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3 Accused of Beating Mentally Impaired Man at State Hospital in Pembroke Pines

As a children’s rights law firm representing Florida foster children and others at risk of child abuse, child sex abuse, and other harm, Talenfeld Law is aware of the perils society’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens face. But developmentally disabled adults are not immune from physical harm.

In Pembroke Pines, three former employees of the South Florida State Hospital have been accused of beating a mentally impaired patient, according to reporting of court documents. According to the Sun-Sentinel, the plaintiff, identified as C.S., was 25 when three employees in 2014 tried to restrain him after C.S. allegedly struck a female staffer, who declined to pursue charges.

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Fort Lauderdale Child Abuse Attorney to Sponsor ‘For The Public Good’ Event

September 13th, 2016   No Comments   Advocacy

Talenfeld Law, the premier law firm exclusively representing at-risk children and developmentally disabled adults in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach and throughout Florida, will be a major sponsor for the Legal Aid Service of Broward County (LAS) and Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida (CCLA) annual fundraising event, For the Public Good.

The event will be held Thursday, October 27, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six in Fort Lauderdale.

The partners at Talenfeld Law have long been involved with Children’s Advocacy Programs at LAS and CCLA, including the Tracey McPharlin Pro Bono Dependency Project. As one of Ms. McPharlin’s former law partners, Howard Talenfeld, was a founder of the Project and has supported the initiative since its inception. Through this sponsorship commitment, Talenfeld is challenging others to match the contribution or make a commitment to the children of our community.

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Florida Children’s Rights Attorney Names to List of Best Lawyers in America

September 10th, 2016   No Comments   Advocacy

Fort Lauderdale-based child abuse attorney Howard M. Talenfeld was recently selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2017 in the field of Civil Rights Law. As the preeminent children’s rights attorney, Talenfeld’s firm, Talenfeld Law, exclusively represents at-risk children and developmentally disabled adults in Miami, West Palm Beach, and throughout Florida who are the victims of physical abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse, and other harm by state agencies and private contractors.

First published in 1983 and based on peer-review evaluation, Best Lawyers is the definitive guide to legal excellence. The 2017 edition analyzed some 7.3 million votes and naming almost 55,000 lawyers nationwide to the list.

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Hearing Officer Chides Agency for Persons with Disabilities for Declining Child’s Care

September 5th, 2016   No Comments   Advocacy

In its article, “The machinations used to deny care to one disabled foster kid,” the Miami Herald outlined how the Agency for Persons with Disabilities worked to decline paying for services for a 16-year-old under the state’s care. The child’s guardians requested the agency pay for the child to be enrolled in a suitable residential program. Employees agreed. An APD Miami supervisor overruled them, “and then sought to cover up the prior recommendation,” according to an opinion from a hearing officer.

“The agency was instructed that this manner of conducting reviews, and the … appearance of a deliberate attempt to conceal information from the hearing officer and [S.J.] was strictly unacceptable, and was not to occur again.”

To Fort Lauderdale child abuse attorneys and those who work to protect Florida’s vulnerable It’s vital that organizations charged with providing care for the state’s at-risk youth find ways to provide care – not avoid delivering it.



Soccer Coach’s Arrest for Alleged Teen Sex Abuse Reveals Need for Vigilance

August 31st, 2016   No Comments   Abuse, Advocacy

When a Plantation soccer coach was arrested this month on multiple charges of sexual battery on a minor, the case revealed again how parents must be alert to the sexual abuse even “trusted” adults can perpetrate on young victims.

The victim was in her teens when the alleged sex occurred several times between 2003 and 2007. The accused abuser, Juan W. Ramos, 43, has been over the past decade a school employee and soccer coach at American Heritage and other schools.

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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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