What is FCA?

Child Advocacy Blog


Florida’s Children First Honors Butterworth, Foster Kids & Caregivers

February 23rd, 2009   No Comments   Foster Care, News & Events

Former foster child Mez Pierre addresses attendees at the recent Florida's Children First event.

Former foster child Mez Pierre addresses attendees at the recent Florida's Children First event.

Mez Pierre is a former foster child, a college student and aspiring rap music performer.

Kaydrin Smith is a 8-year-old foster child who spends his day in a wheelchair and surrounded by the love of his foster mother, Georgina Herbert.

The link between these two Florida children — aside from the state’s foster-care system — are the adults who cared for them.

Howard Talenfeld with Kaydrin Smith and foster mother Georgina Herbert.

Howard Talenfeld with Kaydrin Smith and foster mother Georgina Herbert.

Howard Talenfeld and members of S.H.I.N.E. honor Bob Butterworth (center).

Howard Talenfeld and members of Florida Youth S.H.I.N.E. honor Bob Butterworth (center).

One such adult is Robert “Bob” Butterworth.

Florida’s Children First (FCF), the statewide legal advocacy organization focused on protecting the legal rights of at-risk children, especially children in foster care, honored Butterworth and Pierre, and acknowledged Herbert and Smith at the recent Child Advocate Awards and Reception.

FCF’s annual Broward event recognized Butterworth for his work as the former Secretary of Department of Children & Families and Florida Attorney General. He was lauded as “Florida’s Friend of Children” for his decades of public service. These posts in public service also included roles as Broward County Sheriff and a judge.

“Bob’s work has changed the culture of the Florida Department of Children and Families, guiding it to become a more open and transparent agency, inviting all voices to the table,” FCF President Howard Talenfeld told the Sun-Sentinel. “We are privileged to honor his ongoing legacy as a leading child advocate.”

Robert "Bob" Butterworth and Florida's Children First Executive Director Andrea Moore.

Robert "Bob" Butterworth and Florida's Children First Executive Director Andrea Moore.

All four were in attendance as the organization and hundreds of attorneys, judges, elected officials, care givers, teachers and other supporters turned out for the honor. The event was sponsored by Fort Lauderdale law firm Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky & Abate, P.A.

Nothing was more important to Butterworth during his years of public service than his efforts on behalf of Florida’s children. He led Florida’s Department of Children & Families as Secretary, transforming the agency into a more open and transparent office. He encouraged employees to work with a sense ot urgency and common sense. He also insisted on inviting all voices to the table.

Also in attendance were members of Florida Youth S.H.I.N.E. The FCF project is for young adults who “age out” of or become adults while in foster care. Butterworth invited members to teach him and others about how the system could do better. S.H.I.N.E. members called Butterworth “Our Friend Bob.”

For his part, foster care graduate Mez Pierre is a talented young man who was in foster care from the ages of 5 through 18. He now works with Florida Youth S.H.I.N.E., 4Kids of South Florida, and Camelot Community Care, to make things better for kids still in foster care. He is currently attending BCC and plans to complete his degree by late 2010.

Emceed by Mistress of Ceremonies Kristi Krueger, Local 10 Anchor, also in attendance were child advocates, community and business leaders, and others concerned about the future of Florida’s children, especially abused, abandoned and neglected children and youth.

The 2009 Host Committee Members included Maria Abate, Anne V. Alper, Hon. Sheila Alu, Hon. Robin Bartleman, Hon. Ellyn Bogdanoff, Skip Campbell, Mike Colodny, Alfreda Coward, Joel S. Fass, Marietta Glazer, Hon. Susan Goldstein, Chuck Grimsley, Saundra Grimsley, Fred Karlinsky, Kristi Krueger, Holly Krulik, Melissa L. Barnhardt, Judith Levine, Alan & Marsha Levy, Fred Lippman, Denise Manning, Clarence McKee, Tracey McPharlin, Robin Moselle, Jack Moss, Cindy Niad Hannah, Hon. Ari Porth, Mimi Ribotsky, Hon. Nan Rich, Hon. Jeremy Ring, Sharon Ring, Phil Saia, Howard Talenfeld, Julie Talenfeld, Todd Templin, Susan Tommers, Gia Tutalo-Mote, Cindy S. Vova, Aleida Waldman and Hon. Lois Wexler.

The Statewide Sponsor is United Automobile Insurance Group. Early Sponsors also include Heros I. Lorraine Thomas, Holland & Knight LLP and White & Case LLP; Protectors McKee Communications, Regions, Morgan, Keegan Trust; Forever Families; Champions ADT, Mediation LLC, American National Bank, Hon. Ellyn Bogdanoff, Nova Southeastern University, RBC Bank and Wax Custom Communications; and Friends Hank Asher, Melissa L. Barnhardt, Mimi Ribotsky, Diana Ragbeer, BCMAA, Collective Construction & Design, Kluger, Peretz, Kaplan & Berlin, P.L, First United Insurance Company, Atkinson, Diner, Stone, Mankuta & Ploucha, P.A., Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, Ira & Marietta Glazer, David & Enid Howell, William & Laura Reich, David & Diane Lillesand, Spencer & Judith Levine, Stephen and Rhoda Moss, Ted Babbitt, Dick Batchelor, Brian Cabrey, Walter “Skip” Campbell, Bob Dillinger, Richard Filson, Gloria Fletcher, Karen Gievers, Nancy Gregoire, Wayne Hogan, Jay Kassack, Melissa Lader-Barnhardt, Denise Manning, Carlos Martinez, Clarence McKee, Bernard Perlmutter, Diana Ragbeer, Howard & Julie Talenfeld, Margaret Timmins and Christina Zawisza.

FCF receives grants from The Florida Bar Foundation and generous local sponsors including: United Automobile Insurance Group; Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky & Abate P.A.; President’s Fest in the Park; Daily Business Review; and many other individuals and corporations.

For interviews with any of the FCF Board Members, please contact Michelle Friedman or Carolyn Popescu at Boardroom Communications at 954-370-8999.

Leave a Reply