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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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Miami Herald: ‘This is like a divorce.’ Shelters housing migrant kids caught between DeSantis, Biden

January 7th, 2022   No Comments   Uncategorized

As reported by the Miami Herald, Florida shelters that house migrant children on behalf of the federal government say they’re increasingly worried that a feud between Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration and President Joe Biden over his immigration policies will force them to relocate hundreds of children outside the state.

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WVLA: La. Department of Children and Family Services responds to lawsuit alleging “years of alleged sexual abuse”

January 4th, 2022   No Comments   Uncategorized

As reported by WVLA NBC Local 33, a human trafficking case has been filed regarding allegations of sexual abuse involving the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services.

Sadly, this is yet another example of sexual assault cases in our foster care system.

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3rd Annual Youth Anti-Human Trafficking Summit in Broward County on Jan 8

December 23rd, 2021   No Comments   Uncategorized

After Rilya Wilson, a foster child, disappeared in 2001, we knew there were 400 children missing from our child protection system on any given day. DCF used to post the names, dob, number and was required to take specific actions. Does anyone know how many children are missing from Florida’s Child Protection system today? Thank you to our Children’s Services Council of Broward County for shedding a light on this critical issue!

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Tampa Bay Times: Pinellas sheriff blasted foster agency, but his investigators removed children at a higher rate than any other county

December 21st, 2021   No Comments   Abuse, Foster Care

As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri in November announced a criminal investigation into Eckerd Connects after a child was injured and another overdosed at an unlicensed Largo office where foster children that the agency could not place slept in “deplorable conditions.”

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Kelley Kronenberg Expands Justice for Kids Division with the Addition of Kayla Riera-Gomez

December 16th, 2021   No Comments   Uncategorized

Kelley Kronenberg is excited to announce that Kayla Riera-Gomez has joined the firm’s Justice for Kids Division as a Partner. Justice for Kids is a national practice dedicated to providing legal services to abused, disabled, and catastrophically injured children harmed in foster care, shelters, residential treatment centers, group homes, and other child welfare settings, as well as all children harmed by the acts of others.

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South Florida Mother Fights for Greyson’s Law After the Tragic and Preventable Murder of Her 4-Year-Old Son

After living a parent’s worst nightmare for six months, Ali Kessler, along with an army of Family Court advocates and local politicians, finally received news that Greyson’s Law was filed in the state of Florida. Kessler has been fighting for legislation that would allow judges to remove a child from a home over concerns that one parent is threatening or abusing the other. Kessler said to MSNBC, “I have to fight for my son who can’t fight for himself.”

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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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