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Archive for October, 2015

Child Abuse Attorney: Will DCF Chief’s Admitting Failure in 2 Cases Lead to Improved Care?

As Florida’s child advocates and attorneys who fight for the rights of kids who suffer child abuse, sexual abuse and other physical personal injury mourn the finding of the bodies of two children in recent days, Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll had an admission. The Florida DCF chief admitted this week that Florida’s child-protection system failed in both cases.

Speaking to the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee, Carroll said that in both the case of 2-month-old Chance Walsh and 11-year-old Janiya Thomas, who was found to be missing for more than a year when authorities sought to remove five kids from their mother’s home, the agency could have done more.

A call to a child abuse hotline regarding Walsh was dismissed by a hotline counselor. The discovery of a body in a freezer is suspected of being that of Thomas. The autopsy is not yet complete. Read more here.

While Carroll’s admission is laudable, children under the watch for suspected child abuse or sex abuse still are slipping through the cracks. It’s similar to the case of Phoebe Jonchuk, whose father was accused of dropping her from a bridge into Tampa Bay. The man’s attorney reportedly had called the abuse hotline warning of potential harm. Still, she died.


Florida’s Children First to Host Palm Beach Fundraiser, Awards For Foster Kids, Child Abuse Advocates

October 22nd, 2015   No Comments   Abuse, Advocacy

Florida’s Children First (FCF) will recognize Palm Beach County individuals for their tireless efforts to advocate for the state’s most vulnerable citizens at its annual Palm Beach Reception on Oct. 28 at the National Croquet Center Point Club in West Palm Beach. FCF is a statewide, nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting abused foster children and other at-risk youth. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Register and learn more at Florida’s Children First.

Dozens of Palm Beach County’s prominent business and community leaders, as well as people concerned about the future of Florida’s children, especially abused, abandoned and neglected children and youth, will be in attendance. Read more here.


Fort Lauderdale Child Abuse Attorney Discusses Fixing Foster Care System

October 11th, 2015   No Comments   Advocacy, JusticeForKids.us

Howard Talenfeld, the leading child advocacy attorney who fights for the rights of children who suffer sexual abuse, child abuse, and other harm and personal injury, recently was interviewed on Viewpoints Radio regarding changes to Florida’s child welfare system. In a tweet, Viewpoints posted:  talks about how we can improve and strengthen the system .

Discussing the topic, Foster Care: How Can We Make the System Better for All?,” the discussion explored, “When a child is placed in foster care, she’s already been through the traumatic experience of being removed from her family’s care, and now faces an uncertain future in a new home – sometimes worse than the one she left. We discuss the successes and failures of the system and hear about what can be done to strengthen it so that children receive the best care available, foster families get the support they need to help a child with the transition, and caseworkers receive the support they need to do their jobs.”


Florida’s Children First to Host Jacksonville Awards & Reception

Florida’s Children First, the state’s advocacy organization for foster kids and those at risk of child abuse, sexual abuse, and personal injury, will hold its Northeast Florida / Jacksonville Child Advocacy Awards & Reception. Attended by attorneys, lawmakers and business leaders, the event will be held on Thursday, November 12th, 2015, from 5:30 pm- 7:30pm, at The Haskell Building (111 Riverside Avenue, Jacksonville, 34236). Register here. Learn more by downloading the flyer.

At Florida’s Children First, we believe that all children have the right to food, clothing, housing, education, medical care, property and personal privacy. Most children have parents who take care of their needs and protect their rights. But thousands of children in Florida rely on state agencies to meet some or all of their needs. FCF exists to protect the rights of those children.


Advocates Wonder How 5 Foster Kids Walk Out of Children’s Home Society

October 3rd, 2015   No Comments   Abuse, Advocacy

Five children have been found safe after walking out of their Cutler Bay foster home. The siblings — ages 16, 14, 13, 6 and 5 — were under the care of the Children’s Home Society in the Miami suburb of Cutler Ridge. They later were found in Florida City. Reportedly, their case manager was unaware when they left the facility.

Foster child abuse attorneys and lawyers who fight for the rights and to prevent abuse, harm, sexual abuse and personal injury to the state’s at-risk children are closely watching how the state Department of Children and Families handles the fallout of this case.


Foster Child Abuse Advocacy Group Wins State Bar Award

Florida’s Children First, the pioneering advocacy organization that fights for foster children and others who have been physically abused, neglected, injured, and victims of sexual abuse, was named the the 2015 recipient of The Florida Bar Foundation’s Paul C. Doyle Children’s Advocacy Award.

Founded by leading foster child advocacy attorney and foster child personal injury attorney Howard Talenfeld, Florida’s Children First, with the support from a Florida Bar Foundation Children’s Legal Services grant, advocated successfully for passage of the 2014 legislation, which provides attorneys to protect dependent children with special needs who are in the state custody. The Florida Legislature also appropriated $4.5 million in 2014 to fund attorneys to represent these at-risk children. The bills were sponsored by Sen. Bill Galvano and Rep. Erik Fresen.

Established in 2013 in honor of Doyle, the Foundation’s longtime grant program director, the award recognizes and encourages systemic legal advocacy on behalf of low-income children by Florida Bar Foundation grantees. Florida’s Children First received the award June 25 at the Foundation’s 39th Annual Reception and Dinner in Boca Raton for its Counsel for Dependent Children with Special Needs Project.

Talenfeld, a leading children’s rights attorney, called the legislation historic when it was passed last year.  Florida’s Children First will work to ensure continued funding, a top priority following a $2.2 million appropriation in 2015.

“These children need all the additional protections they can get,” Talenfeld said.