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Archive for the ‘Foster Care’ Category

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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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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Op Ed: Coronavirus Changes are Everyday Life in Foster Care

Sadly, many of the challenges we are all facing during this pandemic are similar to what children in foster care experience every day. Hear firsthand from Florida Youth Shine advocate Jessica Overstreet in this op ed from Fostering Families Today magazine.

Click here to read more.

AP: Claims of abuse in foster homes mount for migrant kids separated at border

August 16th, 2019   No Comments   Abuse, Foster Care

As reported by the Associated Press, the foster care programs meant to provide migrant children with care while authorities work to connect them with parents, relatives or other sponsors may actually be harming them.  A review of 38 legal claims obtained by the Associated Press — some of which have never been made public — shows taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $200 million in damages from parents who said their children were harmed while in government custody.

Read more from the Associated Press by clicking here.

Tampa Bay Times: State agrees to foster care reforms in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, but what about rest of Florida?

It’s a tragedy that abused and neglected foster children like Naika Venant who died by suicide have been bounced from inappropriate placement to inappropriate placement. It is our hope that Secretary Chad Poppell will make these critical changes throughout Florida.

To read more from the Tampa Bay Times, click here.

Newly-released Report Shows How Florida Compares to Other States in Outcomes of Youth Transitioning from Foster Care

December 18th, 2018   No Comments   Advocacy, Aging Out, Foster Care

On November 13, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released Fostering Youth Transitions, a report with the most comprehensive data ever collected across all 50 states to help illustrate how young people ages 14 and older are faring as they transition from foster care to adulthood. This first-of-its-kind report examines how children from foster care in Florida are handling the transition out of care in comparison with the rest of the country.

Florida’s Children First and Florida Youth SHINE have continuously worked to inform the public and legislators about the needs of the youth who are aging out of foster care. Read this informative op ed from FCF Executive Director Christina Spudeas in the Tallahassee Democrat to learn more.

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.

Howard Talenfeld Quoted in Miami Herald Article on Florida’s Child Protection System

Child advocates in our state continue to warn us about the problems that have resulted from Florida’s failed experiment with privatization in our state’s child protection system. This article from the Miami Herald details those failures, including commentary from children’s rights attorney Howard Talenfeld.

Howard comments: “DCF continues to be plagued by many of the same systemic failures that have bedeviled the agency for generations: low pay and crippling turnover among investigators and caseworkers, a dearth of beds at foster homes, especially for kids with emotional or behavioral illnesses, and chronic physical and sexual abuse at shelters.”

Read the entire story by clicking here

Howard Talenfeld published in South Florida Legal Guide

Read about needed changes to South Florida’s foster care program in the article “South Florida’s Foster Care Program Urgently Needs to Change” by Talenfeld Law Founder Howard Talenfeld in the May 7 issue of the South Florida Legal Guide.

Click here to view the South Florida Legal Guide.

Opinion Piece: In Florida and Nationally, Privatized Foster Care is a Failed Experiment

October 17th, 2017   No Comments   Foster Care, Privatization

The following is an opinion piece from Howard Talenfeld, President of Florida’s Children First and the founder of Talenfeld Law.

When Senators Orrin Hatch and Ron Wyden, the Chairman and Ranking Member respectively of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, released findings from a two-year investigation into foster care privatization, it did more than reveal “abuse, neglect and system failures at every level.”

It confirmed what Floridians have known for years, though Florida did not respond to senators’ request for information. As implemented in Florida in many jurisdictions around the country, privatized foster care is an experiment that has failed.

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Florida’s Children First Honors Miami-Dade State Attorney, Senator and Public Defender’s Office at its Miami Awards Reception

Florida’s Children First (FCF), the statewide advocacy organization focused on protecting the legal rights of at-risk and foster care children, had a very successful Miami-Dade awards reception last week.

Dozens of community and business leaders, and all other persons concerned about the future of Florida’s abused, abandoned and neglected children, were there to honor the 2016 award recipients. This year’s Champion for Children award went to Sen. Anitere Flores, who has been an active advocate since her teen years and has been in public service since 2004. Receiving Child Advocate of the Year Awards were Katherine Fernandez Rundle of the State Attorney’s Office and Carlos J. Martinez of the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s Office. Additionally, Edward Cody was honored as the 2016 Youth Advocate of the Year for Miami.

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