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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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Another Sexual Abuse Cover-up by an Institution — the Southern Baptist Convention

May 26th, 2022   No Comments   Sexual Abuse

As reported by the New York Times,  a nearly 300-page report on sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention has published online. Read more here.



HANDY & H.O.M.E.S INC. PARTNER WITH JUSTICE FOR KIDS® TO HOST AN INFORMATIVE TOWN HALL MEETING: “SOUNDING THE ALARM ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING” ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 11th

May 6th, 2022   No Comments   Human Trafficking

WHAT:                 HANDY (Helping Abused Neglected Disadvantaged Youth) & H.O.M.E.S. INC., and Justice for Kids®, a division of Kelley Kronenberg, proudly present “Sounding the Alarm on Human Trafficking,” a Broward County Town Hall Meeting taking place on Wednesday, May 11th.

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Florida’s Children First Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Twenty years ago, child advocates from across the state who were individually working on issues affecting Florida’s most vulnerable children came together with the idea that we could collectively make a greater impact. We ran the gamut in perspective — coming from private practice, businesses, law school clinics, and legal aid organizations —but we were united in our mission to achieve greater reform in the systems that affect children.

Our vision in founding Florida’s Children First was to use a broad range of advocacy strategies to improve the lives of children served by the state.  We believed that the effective implementation of public policy could lead to improve the lives and outcomes for children throughout our state. Twenty years later, I can say proudly that we have made great strides – but our work is far from over.

We worked hard to increase the number of children in state care who have their own attorneys, and to improve the quality of representation provided by all attorneys in the system. We’re also a leader in training all child welfare stakeholders on the laws that are intended to protect and benefit children. But we don’t just educate people about the law, we help make the law better for children.

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Stacie Schmerling featured on WESH 2 in Orlando

Justice for Kids Partner Stacie Schmerling was recently interviewed by WESH 2 News in Orlando regarding Florida’s Department of Children and Family Services enacting changes, including one major statewide change after Palm Bay’s police chief sounded the alarm on the state’s child welfare system.

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The Inextricable Link Between Child Welfare and Human Trafficking

February 23rd, 2022   No Comments   Human Trafficking

In February 2022, a married couple in New York City was accused of operating an extensive sex trafficking ring that involved over 6 young women and went on for many years. Most appalling is the fact that two of the sex trafficking victims were placed in the wife’s foster care. She was the one who was supposed to provide stability and safety for these children; now she and her husband—a registered sex offender from previous offenses (which the foster agencies failed to notice)—have now been indicted on multiple felony charges including sex trafficking and third-degree promoting of prostitution.

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Miami Herald: Florida seized a disabled mom’s 4-day-old son: ‘I didn’t think this could happen in America’

As reported by the Miami Herald, it was just two days after Alysha Princess Cesaire gave birth to her son when someone at Memorial Regional Hospital called the state’s child abuse hotline to express concerns that her physical disability — which causes her to use a walker and have difficulty speaking — rendered her an unfit mother.

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DCF Removes Four Children from Palm Beach County Couple After An Investigation Reveals They Physically Abused a 13-Year-old Adopted son.

February 11th, 2022   No Comments   Abuse

The Palm Beach County couple was arrested for child abuse by the police after discovery of the abusive, deplorable conditions the boy suffered in.

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Justin Grosz Appointed to Florida’s Children First Board of Directors

February 7th, 2022   No Comments   Advocacy

Florida’s Children First (FCF), a statewide advocacy organization focused on protecting the legal rights of at-risk and foster care children, is proud to announce the addition of Justin Grosz to its Board of Directors.

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Kelley Kronenberg Attorney Julianna Walo Selected for Inclusion as Rising Star in 2022 Illinois Super Lawyers Magazine

February 4th, 2022   No Comments   News & Events

Kelley Kronenberg, a multi-practice business law firm, and its Justice for Kids Division are pleased to announce Attorney Julianna Walo has been selected for inclusion as a Rising Star in the 2022 issue of Illinois Super Lawyers magazine. Julianna has been included in the publication since 2020.

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National Human Trafficking Prevention Month

January 31st, 2022   No Comments   Human Trafficking

The following letter to the editor was authored by Justice for Kids Partner Justin Grosz:

 

Human Trafficking is an incredibly important issue that demands our attention. January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month; and as it comes to a close, we must continue to bring our awareness to this issue and how we can each do our part to prevent human trafficking. There are many misconceptions when it comes to human trafficking. While most think these events mostly take place abroad, this is a grave domestic issue. In fact, Florida ranks 3rd in the nation in terms of the number of calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, the vast majority of which involve the commercial sexual exploitation of minors.  The average age that a trafficked victim is first used for commercial sex is between just 12-14 years old. These children are vulnerable and often lured into terrifying situations which they lack the resources to extricate themselves from.

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Miami Herald: ‘This is like a divorce.’ Shelters housing migrant kids caught between DeSantis, Biden

January 7th, 2022   No Comments   Uncategorized

As reported by the Miami Herald, Florida shelters that house migrant children on behalf of the federal government say they’re increasingly worried that a feud between Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration and President Joe Biden over his immigration policies will force them to relocate hundreds of children outside the state.

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WVLA: La. Department of Children and Family Services responds to lawsuit alleging “years of alleged sexual abuse”

January 4th, 2022   No Comments   Uncategorized

As reported by WVLA NBC Local 33, a human trafficking case has been filed regarding allegations of sexual abuse involving the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services.

Sadly, this is yet another example of sexual assault cases in our foster care system.

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