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Archive for the ‘Abuse’ Category

Local 10: Girl, 8, abused by adoptive family over several years, police say

June 11th, 2019   No Comments   Abuse

Firm founder Howard Talenfeld weighs in on this latest report and the failure to prioritize the safety of children in this story from Local 10 news

Click here to read more from Local 10.

Daily Business Review: Exposés Explore Child Sex Abuse by Celebs and Complicit Family Members

March 18th, 2019   No Comments   Abuse, Sexual Abuse

“Leaving Neverland” is the heart-wrenching story of two now-adult men who claim they were victims of sexual and psychological abuse as teens by Michael Jackson. Sadly, it’s only one of two such exposés out now. “Surviving R. Kelly” explores similar allegations against former R&B superstar Robert Sylvester Kelly, or R. Kelly. Together, they shed light on a horrible modern reality: children allegedly groomed by their star-struck parents, then handed over to sexual predators.

Read the entire commentary piece from Talenfeld Law Founder Howard Talenfeld by clicking here.

Educators Face Charges of Physical Abuse of Autistic Children, Failure to Report Sex Abuse

February 4th, 2019   No Comments   Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Special Needs

For children, especially those with developmental disabilities, neurological disorders, and other special needs, school should be a safe place. For several children with autism in North Florida, school became a place of physical, emotional, and for one autistic child, sexual abuse that went unreported.

New reports this week revealed allegations that teachers of special needs students in an Okaloosa County school subjected children in their care to horrible physical and emotional abuse. In another charge, a guidance counselor failed to report to authorities an allegation of sexual abuse.

The story revealed allegations that the special education teacher and two aides had been charged by Okaloosa County sheriff’s investigators for abusing the children with autism. It was alleged that the teacher and aides blew whistles in one child’s ears and locked several in darkened bathrooms.

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Horrible Abuse of Orange Park Teen by His Own Mother and Grandmother

December 13th, 2018   No Comments   Abuse

The Associated Press recently reported that a 13-year-old Orange Park boy told police that his grandmother and his aunt beat him, locked him in a box and chained him to a couch for days without food. According to Local 10 News, “Orange Park police said the boy was treated in October for a severe injury to his genitals that he said he received jumping over a fence. But doctors in the Jacksonville suburb found other injuries, scars and burn marks and notified police.”

This horrific story is sadly another example of the extreme mistreatment of children by those who are supposed to be protecting them. Take the New York case of Judith Leekin. Although she was cited for abusing a child in 1980 in Queens, NY, Leekin was still permitted to adopt 11 disabled New York City foster and disabled children. She reportedly abused them in St. Lucie County, FL, more than a decade later, including beating, handcuffing, forcing them to sleep in a closet, keeping them from school and refusing them medical care.

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Orlando Sentinel: ‘Baby steps’ made to protect kids 20 years after Kayla McKean, 6, was murdered by father

November 27th, 2018   No Comments   Abuse, Foster Care, Privatization

Talenfeld Law Founder Howard Talenfeld shares insights on the deficiencies in our state’s foster care program in this article from the Orlando Sentinel, “‘Baby steps’ made to protect kids 20 years after Kayla McKean, 6, was murdered by father.”

According to Talenfeld, privatization of child-welfare services has resulted in more state dollars going toward administrative costs and less money is reaching the ground per capita per kid.

Read the entire story by clicking here.

Governor Scott Signs $5 Million Claims Bill for Child Sexually Abused by Foster Boy Living in the Home

On Friday, March 23, Governor Rick Scott signed CS/HB 6509, a claims bill that directs the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) to pay more than $5 million awarded by a Florida jury to C.M.H., a victim of sexual abuse by a child in foster care. This marks the largest known recovery in Florida for one child who was emotionally and sexually abused against a governmental defendant, DCF. Children’s rights attorney and Talenfeld Law Founder Howard Talenfeld served as co-counsel for C.M.H.

The bill is the result of a verdict and judgment against DCF on behalf of C.M.H., who was sexually assaulted at age nine by an 11-year-old foster child (“J.W.”) that DCF had placed at the home without a safety plan.

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Florida Legislature Approves Claims Bill for Child Sexually Abused by Foster Boy Living in the Home

March 15th, 2018   Comments Off on Florida Legislature Approves Claims Bill for Child Sexually Abused by Foster Boy Living in the Home   Abuse, Court Cases, Department of Children & Families (DCF)

On Thursday, March 8, the Florida Legislature approved a Claims Bill regarding a West Palm Beach jury verdict, which would provide $5 million to a victim of sexual abuse. The bill is the result of a verdict against the Florida Department of Children & Families (DCF) on behalf of a young man (“C.M.H.”) who was sexually assaulted at age nine by an 11-year-old foster child (“J.W.”) that DCF had placed at the home. Children’s rights attorney Howard Talenfeld represented C.M.H.

Read the entire story from the Palm Beach Post by clicking here

 

Anti-Human Trafficking Bills Deserve to be Heard

The Legislature has only a few days to pass Anti-Human Trafficking Bills SB 1044 and HB 167 which would hold hotels and motels responsible if they turn a blind eye to traffickers.

Ask for a full vote on the House & Senate floors this session and protect Floridians from suffering like Lynn did! As to SB 1044, contact: President Joe Negron at negron.joe@flsenate.gov (850 487-5025);Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto benacquistolizbeth@flsenate.gov (850 487-5027); and as to (HB 167) contact Speaker Richard Corcoran richard.corcoran@myfloridahouse.gov, (850 717-5000) and Rep. Jose Oliva jose.oliva@myfloridahouse.gov (850 717-5110).

Please share my story and urge the Florida Legislature to pass SB 1044 and HB 167 to hold hotels and motels responsible for turning a blind eye to human trafficking #Lynnsstory #HumanTrafficking #Survivor

Posted by Lynn Doe on Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Welcome to Florida Child Advocate

February 4th, 2018   No Comments   Abuse, Adoption, Advocacy

(Scroll Beyond This Introduction to Read the Latest Blog Post)

Thousands of foster children, former foster children, developmentally disabled and medically needy children are part of the Florida child care system. If you’re currently or formerly a child in – or an advocate for or parent of a child in the foster care system, Florida Child Advocate is here to help.

Every year, thousands of foster children, medically needy children, or those physically abused, sexually abused, the victims of personal injury,  legal damages, and pain and suffering are left to seek solutions on their own. No child should go through this on his or her own. And for the almost 500 who have died while under state watch, they deserved better.

This site was created by the law firm of Talenfeld Law, which was founded by nationally known Florida child advocate Howard Talenfeld, the preeminent children’s rights attorneys focusing exclusively on protecting the rights of physically and sexually abused children, developmentally disabled children and other at-risk children. Florida Child Advocate is dedicated to protecting children and addressing key issues facing those with foster care, physical abuse, child sexual abuse, social services, dependency, disability or personal injury and damages claims or lawsuits against the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), lead agencies, community based care providers, and other child welfare providers.

We believe that children belong with their own families. However, we also believe that when protective investigations by the Florida DCF and its agencies reveal that children are at high risk of neglect, child sex abuse or physical abuse by their parents, they must be placed with suitable relatives when they are available, and if not, some children must be placed in foster care. Critically, if children are going to be taken into foster care, they should be protected by the Florida Department of Children & Families and their community partners from the risk of physical and sexual abuse and returned home or placed in loving and nurturing adoptive families as quickly as possible. Topics also include the rights of foster Children to be safe from harm in care, their right to medical, psychological care, and disability benefits, their educational rights, and their rights on the road to independence.

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Foster Child Deaths Again Highlight Failed Privatized Welfare System

A letter to the editor from preeminent foster child rights attorney Howard Talenfeld was published in the Miami Herald and the Naples Daily News this week regarding the tragic deaths of teens like Giulianna Ramos Bermudez, Lauryn Martin-Everett and Naika Venant.

Their suicides prove again that privatization of the child welfare system has done little to improve the welfare of Florida’s children.

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Child Rights Attorney: South Florida Children Sexually, Emotionally Abused by Human Trafficking

April 15th, 2017   No Comments   Abuse

Many think of “child abuse” as a physical act of abuse being committed upon kids who are emotionally, physically, or sexually harmed by others. The harm they face, whether as young children or teenagers in households with their families, living in the system, or enduring life on the streets, often is beyond the view of daily life.

Yet, there’s another peril infecting society that recently was raised by child advocates; Human trafficking. This form of abuse knows no bounds. If affects children – and adults – of almost all ages and socio-economic backgrounds everywhere in the world. It can start with an adult befriending an unwitting but vulnerable child and steering them toward a life of sexual slavery.

While government organizations and private groups work to help prevent at-risk kids from falling into the trap of human trafficking, it’s up to society to do more.

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Foster Child Suicide Shows Florida’s Failed Child Welfare Privatization Experiment

When the Florida Department of Children and Families responded to a records request by the media regarding the suicide of Lauryn Martin-Everett with the line, “We remain deeply saddened by the tragic loss of this child,” some could argue the admission itself was a reflection of the state’s failed experiment with privatization and outsourcing of child welfare services.

The 16-year-old girl was a ward of the state; her parents knew little about her care or what led to her death by hanging. Though she spent eight years in “the system,” a DCF “child fatality summary” was less than three pages long.

Whether Gabriel Myers;  Naika Venant, the 14-year-old who hanged herself in a Miami Gardens foster home little over a month later, or Lauryn, we’ve learned that privatization of the child welfare system has done little to improve the welfare of the state’s children.

Again, child abuse attorneys and others who fight for the rights of abused, neglected, sexually abused, or those minors otherwise harmed or the victims of wrongful death while in the Florida child welfare system are left to wonder: When will the final stories of these children’s sad lives amount to a three-page summary? And when will the lessons be learned?