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Archive for April, 2009

NY Times: Suit Contends New York City Failed to Prevent Adoption Fraud

April 30th, 2009   No Comments   Damage Claims, Foster Care

From the New York Times: New York City violated the rights of 10 disabled children who were adopted more than a decade ago by a former Queens woman who abused them and used government subsidies meant for their care to support a lavish lifestyle, according to a federal lawsuit filed on Wednesday.

The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, claims that the woman, Judith Leekin, 64, who is now in prison, was able to carry out her scheme for so long because the city’s child welfare authorities did not adequately investigate her fitness as a mother or monitor the children’s care in her home.

Two Florida lawyers involved in the suit, Theodore Babbitt of West Palm Beach and Howard Talenfeld of Fort Lauderdale, said New York officials have refused to provide the children with what they described as any meaningful assistance in Florida since Ms. Leekin’s arrest in 2007.

“They learned no skills that would allow them to survive in this world, and yet the City of New York just turned their back a second time,” Mr. Talenfeld said. Click to read the entire New York Times article.

DCF Secretary George Sheldon Announces New Leadership Academy for Florida’s Foster Youth

April 21st, 2009   No Comments   Foster Care, News & Events

The Myron L. Rolle Foundation, Department of Children and Families and Department of Military Affairs Partner in Week-Long Camp

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – One hundred Florida foster children between the ages of 12 and 14 will have an opportunity to spend a week this summer at the new Myron L. Rolle Wellness and Leadership Academy at Camp Blanding, in Starke, Fla.

Department of Children and Families Secretary George Sheldon announced today at a press conference that the Myron L. Rolle Foundation (Foundation) will host 50 boys and 50 girls from Florida’s Foster Care System at the academy from June 15-19.

The teens will participate in wellness and leadership activities led by Florida State University graduate, Seminole football star and Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle, as well as nationally recognized athletes and volunteer mentors. (more…)

Florida Guardian ad Litem Funding Vital to Helping Neglected Kids

As Florida faces a financial crisis, our Florida Legislature is forced to grapple with ways to balance the budget. I recognize there are no good options for the Legislature, but some cuts create more problems than others.

The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program — whose staff and volunteer counselors and attorneys help the state’s neglected children and foster care youth — is facing severe budget cuts by the Florida Legislature that it cannot sustain. The Florida Senate has proposed an 8% cut in GAL funding and the Florida House proposal would cut 23% – or $7.6 million.

These cuts would result in a potential loss of 152 employees, or more than a third of the staff needed to recruit, screen, train, coach and mentor the nearly 5,700 volunteer child advocates who represent the best interests of abused, abandoned and neglected children caught in our dependency system. (more…)