What is FCA?

Child Advocacy Blog


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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Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc Smith Held in Contempt of Court Yet Again for Lack of Placements for Foster Children After a Youth Spent More than Half a Year in a Psychiatric Hospital Beyond Medical Necessity

Judge Patrick Murphey took a hardline approach to DCFS’ inability to create or find proper placements for youth in foster care by issuing countless orders throughout 2022 that held Director Marc Smith in contempt of court.  The basis for the twelfth contempt of court order involved a 15-year-old girl who was cleared to be released from a psychiatric hospital on January 14, 2022. Yet, by March 5, 2022, DCFS failed to find an appropriate placement for the minor.  During a hearing on May 12, 2022, DCFS assured the court that the minor would be placed by the middle of June.  However, by the beginning of July, the youth still had not been released from the psychiatric hospital, losing months of her life.

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Florida’s Children First to Honor Broward’s Top Advocates for Children on March 7

Florida’s Children First (FCF), an award-winning non-profit organization that has been the voice of at–risk children and youth in Florida, will recognize truly remarkable child advocates and former foster youth at FCF’s 21st annual Broward County Advocates for Children Awards, held at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on March 7.

This is one of the largest events FCF hosts each year, recognizing the accomplishments of community leaders in Broward who support its mission of making positive changes in the lives of children. Joe Johnson, NPR and Beatles Brunch radio host, will return as the event’s emcee with an expected attendance of 300 supporters including community leaders, former honorees, and individuals who are committed to helping Florida’s children.

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Investigative Report Reveals Chicago Public School Employees Sexually Groomed and Sexually Assaulted Students and Failed to Properly Report Sexual Contact with Students

February 20th, 2023   No Comments   Sexual Abuse

The Chicago Public Schools Office of the Inspector General conducted an investigation of Chicago’s Publics Schools, revealing hundreds of teachers and school officials sexually groomed and assaulted students.  The investigation also found numerous incidents of teachers and school officials engaging in policy violations over the last four years by not properly reporting incidents of sexual grooming and sexual assault of students.  Chicago Public Schools are governed by clear and specific reporting protocols in the event a teacher or other school official initiates improper sexual contact with a minor.

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Justin Grosz interviewed by Sun-Sentinel for series on human trafficking issues in Florida

December 8th, 2022   No Comments   Human Trafficking, Uncategorized

The Sun-Sentinel newspaper is publishing a four-part series that investigates the serious issue of sex trafficking at Florida hotels. Justin Grosz, co-founder of the Justice for Kids Division, has filed lawsuits against hotels where underage girls are suspected of having been trafficked for sex, and shares his insights in part one of the series.

Click here to read part 1

Click here to read part 2, which focuses on girls in foster care.

New Law Provides Foster and Adoptive Families with Additional Resources to Care for Children Exposed to Trauma, Abuse, and Neglect

November 22nd, 2022   No Comments   Abuse, News & Events

Public Act 102-926 provides intervention services for abused and neglected children in the Child Welfare System.  Early exposure to trauma, abuse and neglect can damage a developing brain and lead to developmental disabilities.  Historically, families involved in Illinois’ Child Welfare System struggled to navigate and attain necessary resources.  The new law aims to expand eligibility under DHS’ Child Care Assistance Program to include foster parents or caregivers of youth in care, regardless of whether they are working or participating in employment or education programs.  Families can seek these services through DCFS, but only for abused and neglected children under the age of three.

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School bus carrying a Chicago area high school hockey team hit and flipped on its side injuring 16 students; Police were warned driver was speeding excessively and swerving

November 15th, 2022   No Comments   News & Events

A school bus carrying 23 students from St. Ignatius College Preparatory in Chicago was struck by a tractor trailer, resulting in injuries to 16 children.  Police in Warsaw, Indiana were warned that a truck was swerving and excessively speeding on a highway.  The truck then ran a red light, striking the bus of 23 students, two coaches, and a driver, who were returning from a hockey tournament.  The impact flipped the bus to its side, ejecting at least one student from the bus and injuring 16 other students between the ages of 14 and 17.  Three students required surgery and are now in stable condition.  Police referred charges against the driver to the Kosciusko County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, in Indiana, for operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury.

Read more from Yahoo! News here.

BND: Foster parents want justice for child who died after IL DCFS removed him from their care

Chicago, IL foster care child abuse law firms have been following the devasting news about the death of two-year-old Hunter Drew. After the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services took protective custody from Hunter’s mom, he was placed with his aunt and uncle. Despite several improvements to his health and well-being since the move, Hunter was again moved to his dad’s and stepmom’s home about two months before his stepmom was accused of child abuse which allegedly led to his passing.

Read more about this sad case of foster child death and child abuse here.

Holly Hill man accused of repeatedly abusing foster children to remain in jail, judge rules

August 10th, 2022   No Comments   Abuse, Foster Care

A Holly Hill man accused of repeatedly abusing at least four foster children will remain in jail without bond, a judge ruled on Monday.

Lawrence Henry Williams, 50, was arrested last week on one count of sexual battery and one count of lewd and lascivious molestation. According to the state attorney’s office, he was “mistakenly issued a bond contrary to the law and the no bond mandate on the arrest warrant.”

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A baby died in foster care in Marion. Now two social service agencies face negligence case.

August 2nd, 2022   No Comments   Court Cases

Stacie Schmerling and Lisa Elliott of Kelley Kronenberg’s Justice for Kids Division have filed a lawsuit against two social service agencies on behalf of the estate of an infant who died while in foster care in Marion County. Read more in this article from the Ocala StarBanner here.

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In lawsuits, Turpin siblings say foster parents beat them, forced them to eat vomit

July 22nd, 2022   No Comments   Abuse

As reported by the Desert Sun, “Six of the Turpin siblings have filed lawsuits against Riverside County and a foster care provider, saying they faced further abuse after being rescued from decades of confinement and malnourishment at the hands of their parents.”

Read more here.

Distraught parents still waiting for answers from Homestead daycare after death of 9-month-old son

July 21st, 2022   No Comments   daycare negligence

Another tragic daycare death from overheating raises questions about daycare‘s negligence.

Read more from WPLG Local 10 here.

Another Child Death from Neglect After Being Left in a Motor Vehicle

July 11th, 2022   No Comments   Negligence

As reported by WPLG Local 10, “Detectives are investigating how a 3-year-old boy died inside a car outside of a school on Monday afternoon in Miami Gardens.

According to the Miami Gardens Police Department, officers responded just after 3:45 p.m. to the Lubavitch Educational Center, at 17330 NW 7th Ave. Fire Rescue personnel used a helicopter to fly the boy to the hospital where a doctor pronounced him dead, police said.”

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