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Pro Bono Attorney: Florida’s Practice of ‘Warehousing’ Disabled Children in Geriatric Nursing Homes

The case was dramatic – where most tend not to be. In a hearing room, a single mother – present with her severely disabled 10-year-old daughter – fought state healthcare administrators to give her child the care doctors say she needs. With child advocacy attorney Howard Talenfeld at her side, the woman alternated between stating her case – and providing the type of care she insists the child will not get if sent off to a geriatric nursing home, like so many such disabled children are under Florida guidelines and practices.

She’s not alone. “In September, the U.S. Justice Department said Florida had ‘planned, structured and administered a system of care that has led to the unnecessary segregation and isolation of children, often for many years,’ in geriatric nursing homes,” reported the Miami Herald.

“Children in such homes often spend their days in virtual seclusion, lying in bed or watching television, the civil rights division wrote.” With Talenfeld at her side and handling the case pro bono, the single mother sought to fight the way Florida cares for its most at-risk, disabled children.

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