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Archive for August, 2012

Child Advocate Attorney Featured in Prominent South Florida Magazine

August 31st, 2012   No Comments   Uncategorized

Howard Talenfeld, a dedicated attorney and legal advocate for foster and at-risk children throughout Florida, and a partner with Fort Lauderdale law firm Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, & Abate, has been featured in Lifestyle Magazine.

The story speaks of Talenfeld’s focus on addressing abuse and personal injury suffered by at-risk children, and his efforts to sue DCF (the Florida Department of Children and Families) and community-based care providers who often fail in their jobs to see to the needs of Florida’s kids

Read the profile here.

Contract Yanked by DCF From Palm Beach County Provider – Foster Child Advocates, Attorneys, Guardians Hope Move Proves Good for Kids

With all the horror stories of children who are victims of neglect, physical and sexual abuse and other crimes and personal injury against minors at private foster service agencies, it’s both disturbing and rewarding to hear that this week the Florida Department of Children and Families pulled one such contract.

DCF reportedly terminated its 10-year contract with Child and Family Connections, a Palm Beach County community-based agency hired to provide services to the county’s foster children. According to news reports, DCF cited “poor performance and ‘serious concerns’ by local judiciary officials.”

The review lasted several months and followed news of leadership changes at the organization, including the resignation in June of CEO Judith Karim. Reports also cited staff turnover and poor performance, the Palm Beach Post reported.


Florida Children’s Rights Attorney: When Abused Fight Back – Sandusky Victim Files Suit Against Penn State

August 25th, 2012   No Comments   Abuse, Damage Claims

First, the victims in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case spoke up about the horror they endured at the hands of a trusted adult and admired college football coach. Now, one is fighting back against Penn State. The result of a court case could be damage claims for personal injury suffered by this victim – and possibly others. 

The victim, whose allegations in 2009 launched the investigation and criminal case, filed suit this week against the school, alleging the school knew of Sandusky’s actions and actively worked to shield him. Known as Victim 1, his lawsuit describes university administrators’ actions as ‘‘a function of (Penn State’s) purposeful, deliberate and shameful subordination of the safety of children to its economic self-interests, and to its interest in maintaining and perpetuating its reputation.’’

What happened at Penn State is a horrible, terrifying example of abuse of trust and power. What’s happening now is the expected and reasonable response by a victim who was abused by a sexual predator – and an organization that allegedly sought to cover up his crimes.

In June, Sandusky, 68, was convicted 45 counts for sexual abuse of 10 boys. Now, the school awaits a trial of its own.

Read the whole story here.

Department of Children and Families Pulls Child Investigation Unit from Citrus Sheriff

In 2000, several Sheriff’s Offices across the state, including those in Hillsborough and Broward counties, began doing their own child protection services investigations. Citrus County began around 2007. No longer for Citrus, news organizations report. In a recent, first-of-its-kind move, the Florida Department of Children and Families announced it would pull the unit from the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office effective Oct. 31.

It’s not clear why the move was made, though some said it was a funding issue and one official said it was not performance related. According to Bay News 9, the Sheriff’s Office expected it would keep the unit following a decision by Gov. Rick Scott to keep Children Protection Investigations there.

“However, according to Bay News 9’s partner paper, the Citrus County Chronicle, an official with the Department of Children and Families informed the sheriff’s office that they were taking over due to budget concerns,” the news organization reported.

Florida Child Advocacy Lawyer Guest Post: ‘Right for Kids’ a First Step – Yet Florida’s At-Risk Kids Need More

August 8th, 2012   No Comments   Uncategorized

Gainesville, Florida-based child advocacy attorney and Florida’s Children First board member Gloria Fletcher offers the following commentary on the “Right For Kids” report…

As an advocate and attorney for foster children and at-risk kids in Gainesville, North Central Florida and throughout the state, I support any effort that advances the cause of protecting our most vulnerable citizens statewide. But the new “Right for Kids” report, while laudable in its the effort to chronicle improvements in Florida’s child welfare system, is to many overreaching in its feting Florida with praise and high rankings.

Frankly, as reported by the leading statewide child advocacy organization, Florida’s Children First, such ratings may leave residents believing “everything is fine” in Florida and our work is done here.

That simply is not the case.


Did ‘Monster’ Who Stabbed Kids Reveal Flaws in Florida Department of Children and Families Process?

It’s a horrible case of child abuse, rape, personal injury and living a life of fear. William DeJesus’ youngest son called him the “Monster” that lurked beneath his bed — more than two years after workers with the Florida Department of Children and Families returned DeJesus’ two sons to his care. This, after the parent had been accused of molesting them. Now, the dad is dead of suicide after stabbing one boy to death and leaving a knife stuck in the other’s head.

DeJesus had been accused of beating, stabbing and raping the boy’s mother, who, in turn once told authorities the couple had repeatedly molested the boy and his older brother, the Miami Herald reported in February.

Now, Broward Sheriff’s detectives and child welfare advocates are left to investigate the pieces in an attempt to discern whether another horrible tragedy could have been avoided.