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Archive for August, 2014

Even in Death, Disabled Child Serves as Example that Helped Pass Vital Law

Advocates for Florida’s at-risk children are watching closely as a case unfolds regarding the aftermath of the death of Tamiya Audain. The 12-year-old, severely disable child died when the caregiver in whose care she was placed while under the protection of the state neither fed nor appropriately cared for the girl, officials charge. Tamiya died from starvation last year.

Four women have been charged in connection with her death. But to child advocates and whose who support efforts to improve the oversight of children under the care of the Florida Department of Children and Families and other local or state agencies, Tamiya’s death helped get passed critical legislation this year.

In fact, Tamiya became the example used by advocates to get the Florida Legislature to pass a law funding legal counsel for disabled kids.


Southwest Florida Child Advocates to Gather Oct. 2 to Honor Foster Kids, Supporters

August 25th, 2014   No Comments   Advocacy, News & Events

Are you a Florida children advocate? Join Florida’s Children First, the state’s premier foster child advocacy organization, as it hosts its annual fundraiser and awards events in Sarasota this fall. The events will celebrate recent successes in the Florida Legislature, and the child advocates who help the state’s at-risk kids throughout the year.

Florida’s Children First 2014 Sarasota Reception will be held on Thursday, October 2, 2014 from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM at the Sarasota Yacht Club (1100 John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, FL 32436).

Florida’s Children First will honor child advocates in Sarasota at its annual fundraising and awards event. Community and business leaders, and all other persons concerned about the future of Florida’s children, especially abused, abandoned and neglected children and youth, will be in attendance.

The event will honor Senator Bill Galvano, Champion of Children’s Rights. Senator Galvano has been a member of the Florida Senate since 2012, representing the District, which serves DeSoto, Glades, Hardee and parts of Charlotte, Highlands, Hillsborough and Manatee Counties.


Central Florida Child Advocates to Celebrate Children, Supporters and Big Legislative Wins

Foster child advocates and supporters of at-risk children from across Central Florida will join Florida’s Children First, the state’s premier foster child advocacy organization, in September as FCF hosts its annual fundraiser and awards event. This year’s event will be special cause for cheer as advocates celebrate recent successes in the Florida Legislature – and the child advocates who help the state’s at-risk kids throughout the year.

Florida’s Children First 2014 Orlando Reception will be held on Thursday, September 18, 2014, from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM at the Law Offices of Broad & Cassel.


Florida Department of Children and Families Adds New Data to Child Deaths Site

Florida child abuse attorneys and advocates are watching a move to boost transparency around the deaths of children known to the Florida Department of Children and Families to be at risk of harm. The agency has added to a new website five years of data regarding child abuse deaths.

The pubic site, which was mandated by the Florida Legislature in the wake of the deaths of almost 500 children over the past several years, is being updated each week. It includes new data on the fatalities children stemming from neglect, abuse or other harm.


Child Advocates: Hotels, Offices No Place for Florida Foster Children

Over-crowding among foster children in Miami-Dade County and throughout Florida has child advocates watching closely as the situation unfolds – and as the Department of Children and Families and its community based agencies deal with the outcomes.

News about the placements broke earlier this month and forced Florida DCF to jump into action. This situation has existed for more than a year. This year, one agency said it has seen a 44% rise in the number of kids entering the system, and is actually working with 33% more kids this year over the same time last year.

The news came on the heels of sweeping changes by the Florida Legislature to how the state handles foster children and at-risk youth populations. After a year of intense scrutiny, especially following news that almost 500 kids known to the DCF had died over the past several years, the new laws took effect July 1.

Yet the lack of placements in Miami-Dade County exacerbated the problem.


As ‘Crisis’ Looms, We Praise Florida Foster Families in Protecting At-Risk Kids’ Needs

The Florida foster child care system can be a challenging place for foster kids – and foster families. Much as the state encourages families to volunteer to provide stable, if temporary, homes to these at-risk children, foster parents find a blend of reward and difficulty in their tasks.

It’s an unenviable situation across the board. A newspaper investigation found that 477 kids who were known to be at risk by the Florida Department of Children and Families were not removed from their homes. Instead, the agency has supported a policy of “family preservation,” believing that a safe natural family home is the best place for at risk kids.

We agree. But for those kids who are truly in harm’s way, removal – at least temporarily – often is the answer.

In the wake of the investigation, experts believe more kids will be removed from their biological families. If that’s the case, adults and families must be encouraged to become foster providers to nurture at-risk children as attempts are made to help biological parents create safe and nurturing homes for their children.

Read this Florida Weekly story on the successes and trials of foster families. You’ll discover who they are, why they care for at-risk children, how they’re treated – and mistreated – by the system, and why many have fostered dozens of children and even helped some biological parents become better parents to their children.

We applaud their efforts.

Florida Foster Child Attorney Hits TV to Support Children’s Services Council

August 3rd, 2014   No Comments   Advocacy

In November, Broward voters will be asked if the Children’s Services Council should remain in existence. Reauthorization for each Children’s Services Council in Florida is required by law to ensure electoral oversight on how taxpayers’ dollars are used and to justify themselves to voters.

Howard Talenfeld, co-chair of Citizens for Broward’s Children countywide political action committee that supports the reauthorization recently took to the media to discuss the importance of this measure. Talenfeld also is founder and president of Florida’s Children First, the state’s premier foster child and at-risk children’s organization.

Children’s Services Council “is everything, from all of the early education programs and truancy prevention programs to tutoring and independent living,” he said. “We’re now seeing because of these kinds of programs and the outcome measurements from these programs dramatic improvements in what is happening with children.”

Watch his entire interview below.