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Talenfeld Law Attorneys Featured in 2019 Florida Super Lawyers Magazine Once Again

June 11th, 2019   No Comments   News & Events, Uncategorized

Talenfeld Law, the first law firm in Florida to focus exclusively on protecting the rights of physically and sexually abused, medically fragile, foster and other at-risk children, is proud to announce that the firm’s partners have been selected for inclusion in the 2019 edition of Florida Super Lawyers magazine. Firm founder Howard M. Talenfeld was named to the 2019 Florida Super Lawyers list and partner Stacie J. Schmerling was selected to the 2019 Florida Rising Stars list.

Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, 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.

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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.



The Florida Legislature Shines a Light to Stem Human Trafficking in Florida

Child advocates across Florida applaud the 2019 Florida Legislature for passing significant legislation that aids in the fight to prevent human trafficking. Sponsored  by Sen. Lauren Book and Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, the law would shine a bright light on the places where these heinous crimes are committed – many of which, sadly, could have been prevented.

This anti-human trafficking bill, HB 851, requires educating the employees of hotels, massage parlors, and adult theaters on how to spot the signs of trafficking and common practices. It calls for those employees who see evidence of these crimes to report suspicious activity to the confidential National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-373-7888).The law also reclassifies strip clubs, that employ underage victims who commonly come from the foster care system and overseas, only to become trapped by trafficking rings, as “adult theaters”.

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Nonprofit Industry Veteran Jaye Abbate Joins Florida’s Children First as Vice President of Communications and Community Relations

Florida’s Children First (FCF), a statewide advocacy organization focused on protecting the legal rights of at-risk and foster care children, is proud to announce the addition of Jaye Abbate as Vice President of Communications and Community Relations.

“We are delighted to welcome Jaye to the FCF team,” said Howard Talenfeld, President and Founder of Florida’s Children First. “She adds a new dimension to the organization that allows us to harness the power and passion of corporate partners, community advocates and concerned citizens who want to give a hand up as we collectively strive to put all of Florida’s children first.”

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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.



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.



Florida’s Children First’s 17th Annual Broward Reception Celebrates the Voice of the Youth and the Legacy of Skip Campbell

Florida’s Children First (FCF), the statewide advocacy organization focused on protecting the legal rights of at-risk and foster care children, recognized child advocates and former foster youth in Broward County at FCF’s 17th Annual Broward Child Advocacy Reception, held at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on Feb. 21, 2019.

More than 250 individuals, including child advocates, elected officials, judges, community and business leaders, and other persons concerned about the future of Florida’s children, were in attendance. This event shined a spotlight on the power of youth advocacy, including powerful speeches from several members of Florida Youth SHINE, a statewide organization founded by FCF that empowers current and former foster youth to become advocates for all youth in care. The evening also featured a special tribute to the legacy of the Honorable Skip Campbell including his work with FCF, his achievements as a Senate leader, and his passion for helping children in need.

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WFLA: Florida child therapist charged with 50 counts of possession of child pornography

March 4th, 2019   No Comments   Sexual Abuse

It’s devastating to learn when someone who was supposed to be protecting our children is actually exploiting them. According to this WFLA news report, a licensed clinical social worker in the Tampa Bay area was recently arrested and is facing 50 counts of child porn possession. The report states that the Tampa Police Department Cyber Crimes Squad uncovered “multiple items of evidence” inside the suspect’s Temple Terrace home and his clinic.

Read more here.



Florida’s Preeminent Child Advocacy Group Florida’s Children First Hosts Annual Broward County Fundraiser Event February 21st

February 17th, 2019   No Comments   Florida's Children First

Florida’s Children First, the state’s premiere independent advocacy organization, will recognize the legacy of the Honorable Skip Campbell and celebrate the power of youth advocacy in Broward County at its annual fundraising event. Community and business leaders, and all other persons concerned about the future of Florida’s children, especially abused, abandoned, and neglected children and youth, will be in attendance.

Please join Florida’s Children First this Thursday and help us give a voice to tens of thousands of children in Florida’s Child Protection System!

Register by clicking here.

Donate and support Florida’s Children First 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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More permanent placements needed for Florida’s foster youth

January 9th, 2019   No Comments   Advocacy

A recent investigation by the Tampa Bay Times newspaper found that “thousands of Florida’s foster children were put at risk of further psychological damage by an overburdened system that repeatedly bounced them from home to home and family to family.”

According to Robin Rosenberg, deputy director of Florida’s Children First, too many children in our state are unnecessarily removed from their homes. Since 2013, the number of children in either foster homes or housed with relatives has risen significantly. Child advocates believe this surge in the number of youth needing placements has resulted in a decline in efforts to match children with the best placement situation to fit their needs. Children who are repeatedly moved from house to house will likely act out, only to find themselves moved again when they are not placed with a foster parent trained to deal with behavioral issues.

Read more about the Tampa Bay Times investigation 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.