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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 Today: Police investigation: DCF alerted at least 6 times before mother charged with manslaughter of infant son

As reported by Florida Today, a police investigation revealed the state Department of Children and Family Services had been called at least six times regarding abuse allegations in the case of a mother who now faces a charge of manslaughter in connection to the death of her infant son.

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Throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic, over 2,700 Children Came into the Custody of Illinois’ Already Struggling Child Welfare System

A year and a half into the Covid-19 Pandemic, the existing problems with Illinois’ child welfare system have worsened. In April 2020, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) received only 47% of the calls it did in April 2019. This drop in calls was largely attributed to the fact that children were confined to homes and not in as close contact with teachers, police officers, medical professionals, and other mandated reporters who would typically report problems to DCFS. Moreover, last March was the first time national abuse hotlines received a majority of calls from minors reporting on their own behalf. The drop in reports is a worrying trend, according to experts. About 80% of child sexual abuse cases occur without any witnesses. With many children still confined to their homes, the number of unreported abuses is likely to be shockingly high.  Zoom provides some insight for teachers and medical professionals, but it does not always show the full picture of a child’s behavior. Families themselves have been going to police stations to report abuse.

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WTSP: Pinellas sheriff will announce criminal investigation of lead child welfare agency

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri will announce a criminal investigation Thursday into Eckerd Connects Community Alternatives.

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Tampa Bay Times: Eckerd Connects loses child welfare contract in Pinellas, Pasco

DCF terminates Eckerd Connect contract because of too many child deaths and for placing children in dangerous, risky and abusive placements.

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HANDY & Justice For Kids®are Partnering to Present “Finding Family & Friends As An Out Of Home Placement” Virtual Webinar On Wednesday, November 17

November 1st, 2021   No Comments   Foster Care, Uncategorized

Webinar Series will Educate Youth in the Foster Care System about their Rights

WHAT:  HANDY (Helping Abused Neglected Disadvantaged Youth) and Justice for Kids®, a Division of Kelley Kronenberg, proudly present “Finding Family & Friends as an Out of Home Placement,” a virtual webinar to educate youth in the foster care system about their rights. Multiple episodes will be held throughout 2021 and 2022.

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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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