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Foster Child Abuse Attorney: Psychotropics and Kids Wrong Mix

The 2009 death of 7-year-old Gabriel Myers, an abused foster child found hanging from a shower fixture in his foster home in Margate, Florida, shone a bright light on the state’s policy of allowing doctors to prescribe psychotropic drugs on foster kids. His suicide was a horrible tragedy – one that led to outrage and supposed reform. Six years later, advocates and attorneys who fight for the rights of foster children who suffer child abuse, sexual abuse, and other physical and personal injury have discovered little has changed.

Gabriel Myers (image from Florida DCF)The same “black box” medications Gabriel had received, even though they were intended for adults, at the time were part of a list the Department of Children and Families found were given to 16 percent of cases where foster kids were medicated – often without the consent of a parent or judge.

Despite all this, the practice continues. The preliminary report from the researchers with Florida’s child-protection system revealed that 11 percent of foster kids today are prescribed these psychotropic medications without caregivers following proper procedures, according to the Florida Institute on Child Welfare at Florida State University.

That’s 2,434 of 21,899 children who had open prescriptions for at least one psychotropic drug. Further, of 140 of the children’s files reviewed, only one in five met the requirements for administering psychotropic medications, often with consent forms that were completed late – if they were completed at all.

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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 Care Attorney: Second Teen in Youth Facilities Ignored as He Lay Dying

October 19th, 2012   No Comments   News & Events, Personal Injury

As if history is repeating itself in a tale of possible wrongful death, pain and suffering, and personal injury, a recently released report explores the case of a Florida youth in a state youth lockup who died of a brain injury after complaining of serious pain and personal injury to guards and supervisors. The incident follows a 2003 case where a youth in lockup complained of severe stomach pain, was ignored, and later died of a burst appendix, the Miami Herald reported.

The similarities surrounding the possibilities of wrongful death, personal injury and claims of pain and suffering being ignored are as striking as they are tragic.

The first detainee, Eric Perez, was despondent and in severe pain for several hours. All the while, he was ignored by facility personnel. The prison guard said Perez was “faking it.”

In the earlier case, youth Omar Paisley was in Miami-Dade juvenile lockup in 2003 when he died of the burst appendix.

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Florida DCF Hires 100 Investigators in Move to Prevent Foster, Adopted Child Deaths, Personal Injury

The Florida Department of Children and Families has hired 100 additional child investigators following the death this spring of Nubia Barahona, 10, and the critical, personal injury suffered by her twin brother, Victor. DCF administrators hope to reduce child investigator caseloads.

DCF has diverted millions of dollars from other areas to boost recruitment and training of child protective investigators. Secretary David Wilkins, speaking to legislative committees Tuesday, said his department has “reduced child investigator caseloads by 30 percent and plans to reduce them by another 30 percent,” notes WTVY.

“DCF is asking permission to redirect $35 million to revamp
technology and overhaul the abuse hotline,” the media outlet reported. “The Legislature provided $5 million last year to begin the process.”