What is FCA?

Child Advocacy Blog


Archive for January, 2011

Sun-Sentinel: New DCF Chief Wilkins has ‘Big Shoes to Fill’

From the Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board: Florida’s recently-appointed Secretary of the Department of Children and Families David Wilkins has some big shoes to fill. He is replacing George Sheldon who, along with his predecessor Bob Butterworth, made significant progress in reforming the state’s foster care system.

Under the previous two secretaries, Florida greatly reduced the number of children in foster care and made us one of the nation’s leaders in the number of adopted kids. Both Butterworth and Sheldon were guided by the direct voice of experience, the youths in state care.

We urge Secretary Wilkins to continue listening to youths, to keep up the momentum in reforming foster care and to pay special attention to the well-being of kids while they’re waiting for a permanent home.

The Legislature will have the opportunity to give kids in state care a chance at living more normal lives both while in care and as young adults making their way in the world. The new secretary’s leadership on such issues will be vital.

Advocates Laud Sheldon’s DCF Legacy, Hope New Head Continues Gains

Outgoing Department of Children and Families head George Sheldon’s announced departure leaves behind a vast legacy. He cut the number of kids in foster care in Florida. He increased the number of adoptions to among the most in the nation. He also installed transparency in government, where people once operated behind a veil of secrecy.

With this week’s naming of former business executive David Wilkins to head the DCF, the world of advocates is hopeful these legacies continue.

According to the Miami Herald, Florida’s new social services chief will look a lot like the state’s new governor: a corporate executive with conservative social roots. Wilkins, a businessman who helps lead a social service group with strong Christian fundamentalist roots, will replace Sheldon, a former state prosecutor widely regarded as a reformer.

Wilkins, a member of the governor’s transition team, is the finance chief of the Florida Baptist Children’s Home, a private agency that allows only “professing Christians” to adopt children in its care.

Read the entire Miami Herald story here.

Florida’s Children First to Honor Child Advocacy Award Winners at Annual Event at the Tower Club

January 14th, 2011   No Comments   Uncategorized

Florida’s Children First (FCF), the state’s preeminent child advocacy organization, will hold its annual Broward Awards Reception on February 24 (5:30 pm) to honor those in our community who advocate for the rights of at-risk and foster children and provide a voice to those who don’t have one. FCF President and children’s rights lawyer Howard Talenfeld will lead the event, along with FCF Executive Director Christina Spudeas.

Jesse Diner and Howard Talenfeld at FCF event

Jesse Diner and Howard Talenfeld at FCF event

“This year’s awards event will focus on our efforts to build and support Florida Youth Shine, a statewide group of foster children and former foster children who advocate to improve Florida’s foster care system,” said Talenfeld. “This year’s honorees have been instrumental in improving Florida’s foster care system and advocating for the children.”

This year George Sheldon, Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, will be receiving the Children’s Advocate Award. He has been an advocate for youth aging out of foster care, a friend to FCF, and has worked tirelessly to improve the agency. WPLG Local 10 Anchor Kristi Krueger will also receive the Media Advocate Award for her selfless service to FCF and other non-profit organizations. (more…)

DCF Review: Injuries, Hints Led to Concerns Before Death of Boy, 2

January 13th, 2011   No Comments   Abuse, Damage Claims

Despite medical experts’ suspicions that 2-year-old Deondray Ashe had growing issues in his home, doctors couldn’t be certain that injuries revealed before his death in June were the result of abuse.

Deondry AsheAccording to a review by the Florida Department of Children & Families and a story in the Lakeland (Fla.) Ledger, a child protection team physician who examined Deondray on March 27 diagnosed the child “with chronic bilateral subdural hematoma, healing rib fractures not in typical position, growth retardation, evidence of cerebral palsy, severe developmental delays, acute sinus infection, pneumonia, sagging skin in which the BMI is below normal, the Ledger reported.

While state child welfare officials had expressed some concerns about Deondray’s physical condition, newly released details show they had no proof, either, the Ledger noted.

Read the entire story here.

DCF: South Florida Child Abuse Reports Up

Child-abuse cases have increased in South Florida, according to reports from the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). This has department officials, child and foster care advocates, and guardians calling for greater awareness.

The news follows a year when DCF investigated some challenging, difficult, and by some reports, gruesome cases, according to a recent article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

In Broward County, cases rose to 15,748 in 2010, compared with 14,876 the year before, according to the Sun-Sentinel’s report of the DCF numbers. In Palm Beach County, cases rose to 12,183 — up from 11,947 the previous year, the paper reported.

“You’ll see a lot of domestic violence,” DCF spokesman Mark Riordan said in the paper. “That’s where the cycle is perpetuated. It’s a learned response.”