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Welcome to Florida Child Advocate

February 4th, 2018   No Comments   Abuse, Adoption, Advocacy

(Scroll Beyond This Introduction to Read the Latest Blog Post)

Thousands of foster children, former foster children, developmentally disabled and medically needy children are part of the Florida child care system. If you’re currently or formerly a child in – or an advocate for or parent of a child in the foster care system, Florida Child Advocate is here to help.

Every year, thousands of foster children, medically needy children, or those physically abused, sexually abused, the victims of personal injury,  legal damages, and pain and suffering are left to seek solutions on their own. No child should go through this on his or her own. And for the almost 500 who have died while under state watch, they deserved better.

This site was created by the law firm of Talenfeld Law, which was founded by nationally known Florida child advocate Howard Talenfeld, the preeminent children’s rights attorneys focusing exclusively on protecting the rights of physically and sexually abused children, developmentally disabled children and other at-risk children. Florida Child Advocate is dedicated to protecting children and addressing key issues facing those with foster care, physical abuse, child sexual abuse, social services, dependency, disability or personal injury and damages claims or lawsuits against the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), lead agencies, community based care providers, and other child welfare providers.

We believe that children belong with their own families. However, we also believe that when protective investigations by the Florida DCF and its agencies reveal that children are at high risk of neglect, child sex abuse or physical abuse by their parents, they must be placed with suitable relatives when they are available, and if not, some children must be placed in foster care. Critically, if children are going to be taken into foster care, they should be protected by the Florida Department of Children & Families and their community partners from the risk of physical and sexual abuse and returned home or placed in loving and nurturing adoptive families as quickly as possible. Topics also include the rights of foster Children to be safe from harm in care, their right to medical, psychological care, and disability benefits, their educational rights, and their rights on the road to independence.

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Florida DCF confirmed flaws with the handling of child abuse complaints concerning foster parents following USA TODAY story

Several tragic cases of Justice for Kids Partner Stacie Schmerling were recently featured in USA Today concerning the failures of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to investigate and respond to credible complaints against foster care providers to ensure children are safe.

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Florida’s Children First Hosts CHILL For the Kids Virtual Wine Tasting and Celebrity Chef Demo in Jacksonville to Benefit Foster Kids

Sip, Swirl and Support Florida’s Premiere Youth Advocacy Organization on the Ultimate  Zoom Escape to Napa Valley

Florida’s Children First (FCF), an award-winning nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the rights of at-risk children and youth in the foster care system, is hosting the CHILL for the Kids Virtual Wine Tasting and Celebrity Chef Demo fundraiser on Wednesday, October 27, 2021 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Patrons will enjoy a safe, socially-distanced and fun way to “escape” from their local surroundings for a bit, while allowing FCF the opportunity to raise funds and educate supporters on their mission of helping kids in and aging out of foster care.

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Disturbing Video of Violent Child Abuse Leads to the Arrest of Two Daycare Employees

October 14th, 2021   No Comments   Abuse

The unimaginable happened when a Tampa, Florida resident noticed her one-year-old son experiencing serious pain in his leg. She cautiously took him to the hospital for an examination and was shocked to learn that her child was found with multiple fractures in his leg as a result of physical abuse. This revelation initiated an investigation by the Hillsborough Sheriff’s office that led to Time of Wonder Daycare surrendering their surveillance tapes.

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Local 10: Mother fights to pass ‘Greyson’s Law’ after son killed by father in murder-suicide

October 13th, 2021   No Comments   Advocacy

Attorneys from Justice for Kids are working with a South Florida mother to seek justice for her four-year-old who was tragically killed by his father in a murder-suicide. Every stone will be overturned to determine whether red flags, evaluations and proper risk assessments were missed or overlooked. WPLG Local 10 in Miami shares more on this horrific story and her quest to help other families avoid the pain she is now experiencing. Watch the segment here.



Howard Talenfeld Selected Once Again to Florida Trend 500

October 8th, 2021   No Comments   News & Events

Kelley Kronenberg and Justice for Kids are pleased to announce that Partner Howard Talenfeld has been selected by the executive editorial team of Florida Trend magazine for the annual Florida 500 list. This special publication, now in its fourth edition, highlights the 500 most influential executives in different economic sectors throughout the state. He has received this highly sought-after distinction every year since the list was first launched in 2018.

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Civil Rights of Children Violated — Only 37 Emergency Shelter Beds are Available for Youth Across Illinois while Specialized Foster Home Beds Have Not Been Created

Over a thousand children came into state custody in 2020, yet there are less than 40 emergency shelter beds available to these kids, creating a crisis-level shortage of shelter beds. Currently, children that come into the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) have four options:

1) emergency shelters;

2) residential facilities;

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Civil Rights Violations of Hundreds of Children are Left in Psych Wards and Emergency Shelters after DCFS Eliminated Nearly 500 Residential Beds

A Cook County Probate Judge ordered the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to “get your act together” after DCFS left hundreds of kids in psych words and temporary shelters for months, while taxpayers continually covered the bill. This year alone the bill was about $6.2 million. Judge Murphy added that leaving children in such a limbo isn’t care, it’s torture, and a violation of the Constitution. Charles Golbert, Cook County Public Guardian, agreed that this situation is a disgrace. Judge Murphy ordered DCFS to immediately find placements for eight of these children, “or else.”

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The State of Illinois has Been Collecting Foster Children’s Benefits to Reimburse Itself; New Legislation Aims to Move the Money to the Children

September 2nd, 2021   No Comments   Foster Care

The state of Illinois has been collecting the financial benefits for abused, neglected and abandoned children in foster care as state revenue rather than providing the benefits to the children. Last year, the benefits collected totaled over $14.2 million from sources such as disabilities or monies owed deceased parents from places like social security or veterans’ benefits. Many of the children are unaware of the benefits they qualify for because state agencies manage and collect the sums before the children ever find out. In 2018, the state of Illinois collected $13 million from foster children’s benefits to reimburse itself for things like food, clothing, and medical care. “The state already has a responsibility to provide those things, and it does not have to take this money,” said Congressman Danny Davis, who has proposed legislation that would allow the benefits to accumulate in an account that the children could access upon leaving the system.

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Howard Talenfeld Selected as an Honoree in South Florida Business & Wealth’s Legal Awards

August 13th, 2021   No Comments   News & Events

The Justice for Kids Division of Kelley Kronenberg is pleased to announce that Partner Howard Talenfeld has been selected as an Honoree in South Florida Business & Wealth’s First-Annual Legal Awards.

South Florida Business & Wealth (SFBW) is South Florida’s premier business and lifestyle magazine serving Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. SFBW will host their first annual Legal Awards to celebrate the accomplishments, acumen, and dedication of the top-flight attorneys in the region. Honorees will be celebrated at an awards ceremony held on Thursday, November 4, 2021, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

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Florida Law Enforcement Acts Swiftly to Apprehend a Therapist for Sexually Abusing a Child

August 12th, 2021   No Comments   Sexual Abuse

Sixty-year-old Robert Batie worked as a Psychotherapist at a counseling center located in Flagler County, Florida.  During his time there, Batie used his position as a trusted counselor to engage in several unlawful acts of sexual abuse, including sexual molestation of a minor.  Fortunately, the courageous victim reported the incident to the Flagler County Sherriff’s Office (FCSO) and the Sherriff immediately initiated their investigation into Batie.  FCSO soon discovered that Batie left Flagler County and relocated to Daytona Beach, Florida.

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WESH 2: Foster dad accused of abusing 4 children ordered back to jail

July 27th, 2021   No Comments   Abuse, Sexual Abuse

As reported by WESH 2 news in Orlando, a foster father accused of raping and molesting a young girl in his care is now facing additional charges involving a second young victim.

Read the full story here. 

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Another Death of a Child Known to DCF

On November 6, 2020, Florida lost another child that had been repeatedly involved with the Department of Children and Families (DCF). 22-month-old Rashid Bryant was pronounced dead at Miami Jackson North Medical Center. The cause? Complications of acute and chronic blunt force injuries, attributable to “parental neglect,” according to the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner. Read more from the Miami Herald.

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