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Archive for June, 2011

Florida DCF Rule: Positive Drug Test Will Lead to Child Abuse Hotline Referral

Florida’s child advocacy community is watching closely as the Florida Department of Children and Families institutes a new policy regarding drug testing of welfare recipients. Starting next month, Florida’s social service agency will refer every welfare applicant who fails a drug test to a child abuse hotline, reports the Tampa Tribune. While some state officials claim such results will be used to remove children from their parents, civil rights activists fear it will do just that.

“Beginning Friday, anyone applying to the state for temporary cash assistance must pass a drug test to receive benefits,” the paper reported.  “Applicants must pay the test’s cost, which will be refunded for those who pass. That upfront expense could exceed $100, according to state documents, for those who need a medical review to confirm that the drug detected is one for which they have a legal prescription,” it reported.

Read the entire story here.

Fostering Hope: Florida Foster Care Attorney Named ‘Super Lawyer’

June 11th, 2011   No Comments   News & Events

Howard Talenfeld, a leading children’s rights and civil rights attorney helping those in foster care with representation and damage claims, has been featured in 2011 ‘Super Lawyer’.

Florida civil rights and foster care attorney Howard Talenfeld has been named a 'Super Lawyer'

Florida civil rights and foster care attorney Howard Talenfeld has been featured in 2011 'Super Lawyer'

“Howard Talenfeld is fighting for Florida’s most vulnerable kids,” the publication wrote. The article profiles his work with Florida Youth SHINE, which pushes for improvements in Florida’s foster care system.

His policy efforts have found him partnering with The Florida Bar and Florida’s Children First to convince the Legislature to pay for mandatory legal representation of certain groups of high-needs children in dependency court. Talenfeld is a partner in the Fort Lauderdale law firm Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky & Abate, P.A.

It cites him as have “built a remarkable record of reforming Florida’s foster care, juvenile delinquency and mental health systems, while winning large class action and individual verdicts and settlements on behalf of children and adults injured while in those systems.” Read the entire article here.

News Report: New Records Released in Case of Jacksonville Foster Parent Licensed Despite Abusive Past

June 9th, 2011   No Comments   Abuse, Advocacy

New records released by the state revealed that a background check on a caregiver licensed to operate a day care center by the Florida Department of Children and Families failed to show her abusive past. Yet, attorneys and child care advocates are watching carefully as the DCF refuses to provide more details because of a pending damage lawsuit.

According to FirstCoastNews, “DCF gave Annette Smith a license to operate a day care in 2001 and one to be a foster parent in 2004. But Smith was convicted of child abuse in 1991, which according to DCF’s foster care checklist is a disqualifier.”

Family Support Services (FSS), the agency hired by DCF to monitor Smith, “noted Smith’s abusive past in 2006 when she was arrested and later convicted of abusing a foster child,” the publication noted

The documents released by DCF are partially redacted, the news organization reported. A background check performed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement revealed only DUI arrests and convictions in 1992 and 1993. DUI is not a disqualifier for foster parenting or child care. Read the entire story here.