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Children’s Rights Attorney: More Work Needed at Florida Department of Children and Families

As a child advocate and children’s rights lawyer and foster care abuse attorney specializing in children who have suffered physical abuse, sexual abuse and even wrongful death, Howard Talenfeld works with a number of other leading attorneys throughout Florida in representing these individuals harmed in these cases. One such children’s rights attorney is Gloria Fletcher, who recently was published in newspapers in Tallahassee, Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale regarding proposed changes at the Florida Department of Children and Families. Changes are good, yet more are needed, notes Fletcher, who has sued on behalf of children physically abused and sexually abused while under the watch and care of DCF and its agencies. Her letter is below…

“I applaud interim DCF Secretary Esther Jacobo for her efforts to address the issues with our state’s child protection services. One method has been the use of outside experts to review the safety model, tools, and practice manual intended to improve the performance of child protective investigators and community based care agencies.

“The results of this initiative – the Casey Family Programs report – displays the true need for DCF to fix its child protective investigation “transformation” before real change can be made. In fact, the report itself says “The Safety Model’s Guidelines are incongruent with child protection practices designed for babies and toddlers, the age group at greatest risk for serious inflicted injuries and maltreatment fatalities.” Further evidence that more work is needed before DCF’s new model will achieve its intended purpose of protecting our kids.

“I urge Secretary Jacobo to halt the implementation of the new system until the proper changes are made regarding the protections for foster children and other youth. Moving forward with an incomplete plan is a waste of time and resources.

“They need to stop implementation until it is proven this new system will better protect our youth.

“I hope DCF’s leaders will stop, regroup, and invest needed resources to ensure the new model does what we need it to do – protect our state’s most vulnerable and avoid unnecessary deaths in the future.”

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