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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.



Horrible Abuse of Orange Park Teen by His Own Mother and Grandmother

December 13th, 2018   No Comments   Abuse

The Associated Press recently reported that a 13-year-old Orange Park boy told police that his grandmother and his aunt beat him, locked him in a box and chained him to a couch for days without food. According to Local 10 News, “Orange Park police said the boy was treated in October for a severe injury to his genitals that he said he received jumping over a fence. But doctors in the Jacksonville suburb found other injuries, scars and burn marks and notified police.”

This horrific story is sadly another example of the extreme mistreatment of children by those who are supposed to be protecting them. Take the New York case of Judith Leekin. Although she was cited for abusing a child in 1980 in Queens, NY, Leekin was still permitted to adopt 11 disabled New York City foster and disabled children. She reportedly abused them in St. Lucie County, FL, more than a decade later, including beating, handcuffing, forcing them to sleep in a closet, keeping them from school and refusing them medical care.

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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.



Miami Herald: BSO could have intervened to protect this abused baby. It didn’t. She died violently.

November 5th, 2018   No Comments   Court Cases

This is yet another devastating example of the mishandling of a child’s safety when red flags had previously been raised about the child’s care. Talenfeld Law partner, and former BSO child abuse investigator, Stacie Schmerling discusses the recent lawsuit in this article from the Miami Herald.

Click here to view the full article.



Seeking attorneys who are interested in protecting the rights of children and disabled persons

September 5th, 2018   No Comments   Uncategorized

Does anyone know of a brilliant attorney who may even have some personal injury background who is looking for a position protecting the rights of children and disabled persons? If so, please contact Howard Talenfeld at howard@justiceforkids.us.



Talenfeld Law’s Howard Talenfeld Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2019

August 15th, 2018   No Comments   News & Events

Howard M. Talenfeld, a preeminent children’s rights attorney, was recently selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers™ in America 2019 in the fields of Civil Rights Law and Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs. Talenfeld is the Founder and Managing Partner of 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.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor.

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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



Children’s Rights Attorney Howard Talenfeld Receives 2018 Medal of Honor Award from The Florida Bar Foundation

July 20th, 2018   No Comments   News & Events

Nationally-known children’s rights attorney Howard Talenfeld was recognized by The Florida Bar Foundation as the recipient of the 2018 Medal of Honor Award for a Lawyer. The Medal of Honor Award is the highest award given by The Florida Bar Foundation and recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves through their exceptional achievements in improving the administration of justice in Florida. Talenfeld received this recognition at The Florida Bar Foundation’s 42nd Annual Reception and Dinner on June 14 at the Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando, site of the 2018 Florida Bar Annual Convention.

Known as one of the nation’s preeminent children’s rights attorneys and advocates, Talenfeld is the founder of Talenfeld Law, the first law firm in Florida to focus exclusively on protecting the rights of physically and sexually abused children, developmentally disabled children and other at-risk youth.

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