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Archive for September, 2015

Pope Francis: Child Sexual Abuse Victims Will Be Heard, Clergy Dealt With

September 28th, 2015   No Comments   Abuse, Sexual Abuse

In a week when Pope Francis addressed a number of controversial topics, none was more so than the subject of child sexual abuse by the Catholic priests and clergy. Every Florida child abuse personal injury attorney and child protection advocates from around the country are watching closely to see how the Pope lives up to his promises made during public meetings and private statements.

He met and prayed this week with victims and families who suffered sexual abuse. And he spoke publicly to church leaders and others about how the church will handle the matter going forward.

“God weeps” was his public statement about the long-held suffering. He also said that those priests and bishops who abused children or covered up the crimes would be held accountable.


Foster Child Abuse Attorney: Psychotropics and Kids Wrong Mix

The 2009 death of 7-year-old Gabriel Myers, an abused foster child found hanging from a shower fixture in his foster home in Margate, Florida, shone a bright light on the state’s policy of allowing doctors to prescribe psychotropic drugs on foster kids. His suicide was a horrible tragedy – one that led to outrage and supposed reform. Six years later, advocates and attorneys who fight for the rights of foster children who suffer child abuse, sexual abuse, and other physical and personal injury have discovered little has changed.

Gabriel Myers (image from Florida DCF)The same “black box” medications Gabriel had received, even though they were intended for adults, at the time were part of a list the Department of Children and Families found were given to 16 percent of cases where foster kids were medicated – often without the consent of a parent or judge.

Despite all this, the practice continues. The preliminary report from the researchers with Florida’s child-protection system revealed that 11 percent of foster kids today are prescribed these psychotropic medications without caregivers following proper procedures, according to the Florida Institute on Child Welfare at Florida State University.

That’s 2,434 of 21,899 children who had open prescriptions for at least one psychotropic drug. Further, of 140 of the children’s files reviewed, only one in five met the requirements for administering psychotropic medications, often with consent forms that were completed late – if they were completed at all.


Attorneys, Advocates for Child Abuse Victims Gather for FCF Awards

September 22nd, 2015   No Comments   Abuse, Advocacy, Florida's Children First

This week, child advocates, attorneys who fight for abused, neglected, and injured children, business leaders, and others interested in protecting Florida’s foster children from sexual abuse, physical neglect, and other personal injury, gathered for the annual Orlando fundraiser for Florida’s Children First (FCF). The event was held Sept. 17.

Founded by Howard Talenfeld, the state’s premier child abuse personal injury attorney, the preeminent statewide advocacy organization FCF honored child advocates in Orlando 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, gathered to laud Child Advocate of the Year, Melissa Landry.

Ms. Landry is not only Guardian ad Litem volunteer, but she is a true child advocate. Ms. Landry’s commitment to children is more than a personal decision, it is a family affair. Ms. Landry and her mother Brenda have both been Guardians ad Litem for more than six years and went through training at the same time.


Fort Lauderdale Child Abuse Attorney Recognized for Career Spent Helping Neglected Kids

September 17th, 2015   No Comments   Abuse, Advocacy, News & Events

Throughout her career, Stacie Schmerling, a lawyer and partner with Fort Lauderdale foster child abuse law firm Talenfeld Law, has pursued the child advocacy and protection. Now, Stacie has rightfully been recognized by one of South Florida’s leading legal and professional publications for her accomplishments.

STACIEThe Daily Business Review recognized Stacie as a “Rising Star,” making her one of 40 Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach county civil practitioners and law firm partners who hold leadership or mentoring positions within their firms and have advocated for their clients. In Stacie’s case, those clients have included children physically abused, sexually abused, neglected, or injured while under the care of or known to be at risk by state social services organizations.

Her story in the DBR begins below. We applaud Stacie for her successes. Honestly, though, the praise she’s receiving from the DBR is something her partners, peers, and clients have realized for years.


Child Abuse Attorney: Death of Teen in Miami-Dade Juvenile Detention Raises Concerns

Not all teenagers are model citizens. Those who find themselves in juvenile detention might have committed acts or crimes or otherwise left the police with no options but to detain them. But when a child in juvenile lock-up is injured while in detention, some child abuse attorneys believe it’s the responsibility of the authorities to attend to those injuries.

This week, a 17-year-old died while in the custody of Miami-Dade juvenile lockup. Elord Revolte was injured in a clash with other detainees but the staff waited until the following day to take him to the hospital. Read the story here.

County and state juvenile justice administrators are left to determine why Mr. Revolte’s injuries were not attended to, and attorneys who advocate for children abused or injured in the child welfare or criminal justice systems are left again to wonder what went wrong.

The tale is not unique. Mr. Revolte was a foster child who had been roaming the streets. When he died in detention following his arrest on Aug. 28, he became the second such child death in a Department of Juvenile Justice detention center this year, according to news reports.