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WTSP Tampa Bay: Pasco County man indicted on federal human trafficking charges

January 22nd, 2021   No Comments   Sexual Abuse

A Pasco County man could face life in prison after being indicted on federal human trafficking charges. A recent DOJ release reveals the 49-year-old man recruited people, including children, to engage in prostitution through misrepresentation and violent tactics such as sexual assault and physical violence. Prosecutors allege the man trafficked children, foreign nationals, and others across the United States to work in prostitution, forcing them to turn over the money they earned or ask for his permission to spend it.

Florida is one of the top states in the country for the commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. Far too often, children are recruited out of the foster care system and lured into prostitution, where they are exploited for commercial sex, resulting in severe physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.

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After years of ignoring red flags, DCF secretary finally recognizes department’s failures in stopping child sexual abuse

After years of protestation by families, children, and advocacy groups that sexual abuse is rampant in state foster homes, DCF secretary Chad Poppell recognizes DCF’s failure in stopping children placed in state-licensed foster care from being sexually abused.

The Miami Herald recently disclosed that during this past year, ninety-two children in Florida reported being sexually abused by state-licensed foster parents. However, only six allegations of sexual abuse were verified by the state, leaving eighty-six children left alone in the dark, many forced to remain with their alleged abusers.

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NBC News – Foster care crisis: More kids are entering, but fewer families are willing to take them in

January 7th, 2021   No Comments   Foster Care, Uncategorized

The coronavirus pandemic has left many victims in its wake, and the nation’s foster care system is no exception. A recent NBC news article reveals that more kids are entering the foster care system, but fewer families are willing to house them in fear of spreading Covid-19. Children in highly populated areas like New York, New Orleans, and Chicago have been hit the hardest. Chicago alone has seen a 33% increase in the number of children who need foster care services. Foster parents fear expanding their households amidst the pandemic could lead to exposure.

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Fla Lawmakers Debate Continuing Child Protection System Issues

A recent series of articles in USA Today again indicted Florida’ s failing privatized child protection system, including an interview with Florida child advocate Stacie Schmerling on a horrific case of child sexual abuse in Ocala. Since the release of the articles, Florida lawmakers and child welfare leaders have debated the best route of care for our state’s youth. While it had once been common practice to keep families together, several years ago Florida’s leaders changed its policy resulting in the placement of more children into state care. As a result, an overwhelming number of children entered the system and were, sadly, put in greater danger of abuse, neglect and catastrophic injury when these children were placed with abusive foster parents.

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More than 600 Children Separated, Caged, Abused, and Neglected by U.S. Government

November 18th, 2020   No Comments   Abuse

The U.S. immigration crisis has led to the placement of 666 children, in cages, subjecting them to varying abuse and neglect from the Government which their parents sought protection. Instead of being placed in safe foster homes which the U.S. government requires of the states who remove children from the parents, an estimated 666 children have been ripped away from parents, placed in cages, and deprived of basic love, empathy, and kindness.

Cognitive development is critical for a child’s well-being; unfortunately, when the Limbic, an area of the brain that controls emotions and behavioral actions, and the Cortex system, an area of the brain which involves abstract thinking, is subject to abuse and neglect during the first five years of a child’s life, the brain cannot fully develop. This early set-back subjects a child to permanent lifelong trauma, irrepealable harm and has a detrimental effect on the remainder of the child’s life and even the community at large.

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Florida’s Children First Invites Supporters to Virtually Escape to Napa: State Attorney’s Office Communications Officer Grayson Kamm to Emcee

FLORIDA’S PREMIERE YOUTH ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION OFFERS A UNIQUE WAY FOR TAMPA BAY AREA PATRONS TO SIP, SUPPORT OR SAY “THANK YOU” WITH A SPECIAL GIFT THAT SUPPORTS THEIR CRITICAL WORK


Tampa, Fla. – Florida’s Children First (FCF), an award-winning nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the rights of at-risk children and youth in the foster care system, is hosting the CHILL Virtual Wine Tasting fundraiser on Thursday, December 3, 2020 from 6 to 7 p.m. As part of its annual Greater Tampa Bay area fundraiser, patrons will enjoy a safe, socially distanced and fun way to “escape” from their local surroundings for a bit, while affording FCF the opportunity to raise funds and educate supporters on their mission of helping kids in and aging out of foster care.

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The Ledger: Florida foster child sexually abused for 4 years, private agency misses multiple red flags

When Florida’s child welfare system fails, the child pays the ultimate price. Far too often, warning signs are overlooked by the private agencies entrusted to care for our kids. In the case of one young boy in Osceola county, they were ignored for four years. This tragic lack of oversight led to the child’s repeated sexual abuse, battery, and continuous exploitation by his relative caregiver/adopted parent.

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Stacie Schmerling Interviewed by USA Today

October 15th, 2020   No Comments   Sexual Abuse

Kelley Kronenberg‘s Justice for Kids Division Partner Stacie Schmerling recently sat down with USA TODAY to discuss a lawsuit filed last week in Marion County regarding the outrageous story of a three-week-old foster child who was sexually assaulted by another child in her foster home.

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Prominent Children’s Rights Lawyer Howard Talenfeld Once Again Selected to Florida 500

October 2nd, 2020   No Comments   News & Events

Howard M. Talenfeld, a leading children’s rights attorney and Business Unit Leader of Justice for Kids, a division of Kelley Kronenberg, has once again been selected by Florida Trend magazine for its annual Florida 500 list. This special section highlights the 500 most influential executives in different economic sectors throughout Florida.

As a Partner and Business Unit Leader with Kelley Kronenberg and Justice for Kids, Talenfeld is known as having established a robust children’s rights practice. His work on behalf of at-risk children has improved many lives and has resulted in judicial and legislative reforms. He is also the founder and Board President for Florida’s Children First (FCF), a statewide advocacy organization protecting the rights of foster children and at-risk youth. His leadership of FCF caught the attention of 2-1-1 Broward, which recently honored him as the Non-Profit Organization Board Leader of the Year in 2020.

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39 Missing, Trafficked Children Found Now Need Extraordinary Help

September 23rd, 2020   No Comments   Sexual Abuse

Recent news that US Marshals in Georgia rescued 39 children who had gone missing might seem like a miraculous ending to a sordid tale of children kidnapped and exploited for child sex trafficking and sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.

The truth is, while their rescue by federal, state, and local authorities was a blessing and an incredible law enforcement accomplishment, their recovery begins now.

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Boy Scouts Sex Abuse Victims Have Only A Few Weeks Left to Bring Claims Forward

September 18th, 2020   No Comments   Sexual Abuse

The Boy Scouts of America was intended as an outlet for young men and women to learn character development and values-based leadership training. The nationwide program has had more than 130 million participants in its 100+ year history. Sadly, the idyllic images of youth coming together for a greater purpose have been tarnished by claims of childhood sexual abuse.

Earlier this year, the Boys Scouts filed for bankruptcy, thus suspending all civil litigation against the organization – including hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits. As reported by CNN, several of the lawsuits allege repeated fondling, exposure to pornography, and forced anal or oral sex.

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Florida’s Children First to Host Virtual Wine Tasting Fundraiser in Orlando to Support Critical Work with Foster Youth

FLORIDA’S PREMIERE YOUTH ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION BRINGS NAPA TO YOUR HOME FOR A GREAT CAUSE

Orlando, Fla. – Florida’s Children First (FCF), an award-winning non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the rights of at–risk children and youth in the foster care system, is hosting the CHILL Virtual Wine Tasting fundraiser on Thursday, September 24, 2020 from 6 to 7 p.m. While Central Floridians continue to social distance, this event provides a safe yet entertaining venue for FCF to raise critical funds that support their mission of helping kids in and aging out of foster care, many of whom have been dramatically impacted by the pandemic.

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