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Netflix Expose’ on Son’s Torture, Death Nothing New to Florida Families

May 4th, 2020   No Comments   Abuse

The Netflix documentary, “The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez,” is the tragic story about catastrophic failures of the California child welfare system that led to the torture, abuse and death of an 8-year-old boy at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend.

The events might have unfolded 3,000 miles away. But they draw striking similarities to events that continue to happen in Florida and around the nation.

In young Gabriel’s case, signs of his physical abuse were clear enough that school teachers, neighbors, and others called the police and social service agencies numerous times. And each time, the authorities entrusted to protect him found an excuse to look the other way. Police even accused the boy of faking the abuse and released him to his mother.


Nonprofit Industry Veteran Jaye Abbate Joins Florida’s Children First as Vice President of Communications and Community Relations

Florida’s Children First (FCF), a statewide advocacy organization focused on protecting the legal rights of at-risk and foster care children, is proud to announce the addition of Jaye Abbate as Vice President of Communications and Community Relations.

“We are delighted to welcome Jaye to the FCF team,” said Howard Talenfeld, President and Founder of Florida’s Children First. “She adds a new dimension to the organization that allows us to harness the power and passion of corporate partners, community advocates and concerned citizens who want to give a hand up as we collectively strive to put all of Florida’s children first.”


Child Advocates Raise Concern Over Care of Migrant Children Taken From Their Parents

June 22nd, 2018   No Comments   Uncategorized

Child advocates are very worried about the thousands of migrant children who have been taken from their parents. We know that children separated from their parents at young ages are at substantial risk of serious emotional harm.

Read more in this ABC Action News story by clicking here.

Please join us for The Dylan Schopp Sunshine Foundation’s Sunshine at the Park

January 13th, 2016   No Comments   Uncategorized

Talenfeld Law is a proud sponsor of The Dylan Schopp Sunshine Foundation’s Sunshine at the Park event. Join us March 5th to raise awareness for suicide prevention. Get your tickets today: https://sunshineatthepark.eventbrite.com/


JAFCO Kids Enjoy Winter Holiday Party

December 24th, 2015   No Comments   Fundraising & Support

More than 175 children and families celebrated the miracle of Chanukah at the annual snow-filled party at the JAFCO Children’s Village in Sunrise. Children’s right attorney Howard Talenfeld and his wife Julie Talenfeld sponsored the party, as they have for the past eight years.

Miami Herald 12-24-15

Florida Foster Child Abuse Attorney to Florida Legislature: Cut Bad Group Homes, Boost Child Placement Choices

November 20th, 2015   No Comments   Abuse, Advocacy, Commentary

Fort Lauderdale foster child abuse attorney Howard Talenfeld this week wrote an editorial on privatization of Florida’s child welfare system. He summarized how contracting of such services by the Florida Department of Children and Families to such lead agencies like ChildNet and Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe Inc., ostensibly to cut costs, actually results in higher costs, while introducing dangerous, substandard child placements.

The result has been higher costs, poor placements, and long-term issues for children in the system. If passed, legislation now before the Florida Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee headed by Sen. Eleanor Sobel and supported by Sen. Nancy Detert, would create stability and safety for foster children by pursuing the best possible placement opportunity.

Read the entire editorial here.

Florida Child Abuse Attorney Named ‘Super Lawyer’

Howard Talenfeld, the premier child abuse attorney and child sexual abuse lawyer who represents abused, disabled and injured kids, has been named a South Florida “Super Lawyer.” Talenfeld won the award for the civil rights category and is recognized as among the top attorneys in Florida.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.
Super Lawyers Magazine features the list and profiles of selected attorneys and is distributed to attorneys in the state or region and the ABA-accredited law school libraries. Super Lawyers is also published as a special section in leading city and regional magazines across the country. In the United States, Super Lawyers Magazine is published in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., reaching more than 13 million readers.

Since the 1980s, Talenfeld has focused his practice exclusively on protecting the rights of vulnerable individuals in civil rights cases, personal injury cases and systemic reform litigation. He has litigated cases that have resulted in multimillion dollar settlements and jury verdicts that changed how governmental and private institutions care for children and the elderly.

As one of America’s leading children’s rights, injury, and child disability attorneys representing the needs of abused and neglected children, especially in cases of foster child abuse, child sexual abuse, child rape, and other harm and abuse of children in the child welfare system, Talenfeld’s work has resulted in multimillion dollar damage awards and has created systemic change in how government agencies and private institutions care for those vulnerable individuals.

He began his career involving at-risk children, seniors and the developmentally disabled in the 1980s and 1990s, when he represented the state of Florida in its major class-action lawsuits dealing with the foster care system, children’s mental health system, juvenile justice system, state psychiatric hospitals and the provision of Medicaid services to the developmentally disabled, among others.

Florida Child Advocates Debate Foster Homes vs. Group Homes for At-Risk Kids

January 13th, 2015   No Comments   Uncategorized

When the Florida Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability released a study in December on the price and value of placing the state’s at-risk, abused and troubled children in group homes versus foster homes, the findings were not surprising to some who fight to protect the rights and safety of at-risk youths.

The study found that group homes are more expensive than foster homes, yet only one in 10 kids removed from their families are placed with suitable foster situations, like with relatives, friends or foster homes.

Group homes can provide higher levels of professional attention, especially for the most troubled kids. Not all kids – or all kids’ needs – are the same.

The key is to find the balance and serve kids’ particular needs, as well as those of the foster parents who often struggle to provide a suitable, loving home, noted Christina Spudeas, executive director of Florida’s Children First. The organization is the state’s premier child advocacy group. Some kids are tough to place, even with caring foster parents willing to take on the task.


Florida’s Children First 12th Annual Broward Child Advocacy Awards Featured in Weston Lifestyles

June 1st, 2014   No Comments   Advocacy

FCF Broward Awards 2014 - LifestylesFlorida’s Children First, the state’s premier organization that fights for the legal rights of foster care children and other at-risk and vulnerable kids, was featured in Weston Lifestyle magazine for its 12th Annual Broward Child Advocacy Awards & Reception.

The event was held earlier this year in downtown Fort Lauderdale. It was attended by hundreds of attorneys, judges, elected officials, and members of the business, legal and civic community – all of whom are dedicated to advancing the cause of protecting Florida’s at-risk youth.

Each year, the event raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for kids statewide. To learn more, visit Florida’s Children First.org. We thank all those who attended the event this year – and support this vital cause every year.

Florida Department of Children and Families: Sexual Abuse by Accused May Be Far Reaching

Kenneth Hagins apparently is an equal-opportunity abuser. In what is unfolding as possibly a horrific episode of ongoing sexual abuse of children and adults, the one-time Central Florida youth pastor, 40, is behind bars while investigators work to determine how many people – kids, adults, even the disabled – he might have victimized.

Hagins has worked at a children’s day care, a group home for the disabled and as a youth pastor at a church. Exposure of his alleged crimes began when a young child told his parents about the sexual abuse.

“From that point it simply unraveled,” Department of Children and Families spokesperson Carrie Hoeppner said, according to News 13.

Read the entire story here.

Florida Child Advocate Attorney: Sandusky Case Begs Questions Be Asked – and Answered

As we’ve already seen and written on this blog, child advocates and foster child attorneys are taking some time to address fall-out from the Jerry Sandusky guilty verdict. As the Penn State University former assistant coach awaits sentencing on his conviction for child sexual abuse, the rest of us have our own lessons to learn. The simple lessons are to listen, act and change the way we view others.

In short, Listen to those who claim abuse. Act on what you hear. Remember, no one – from “trusted” football coaches to priests to neighbors, teachers and others in positions of trust or responsibility – can be beyond suspicion.

Child advocate attorney Howard Talenfeld wrote this essay for the Daily Business Review. Its lessons couldn’t be more clear.


‘It’s Just Sick’ South Florida Children’s Rights Attorney Says of Alleged Neglect

July 15th, 2012   No Comments   Abuse, Court Cases

Spanked with a spatula, locked in their rooms and not allowed to use the bathroom, not allowed to bathe for days – maybe weeks, this was the horror allegedly endured by the children of a Palm Beach Gardens mom and her boyfriend.

A 5-year-old girl allegedly was molested by the 34-year-old man. The children all have been removed by the Florida Department of Children & Families. A 1-year-old baby has been placed in a foster home. The three other children have been put in the care of a relative.

“This is a very sad situation that we see occur repeatedly in the county,” Florida children’s rights attorney Howard Talenfeld told the Sun-Sentinel. Such incidents are not rare or isolated, he added. “It’s very sick.”

Read the entire story here.