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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Faith’s Law, a Law Aimed at Eradicating Sexual Misconduct at Illinois’ Schools

January 5th, 2024   No Comments   Abuse, Sexual Abuse

Faith’s Law is a law named after prevention advocate and child sexual abuse survivor Faith Colson, who was sexually abused by a teacher at her high school in Illinois.  Years later, during the course of legal proceedings related to the abuse, Faith learned that several adults within her high school suspected that the teacher’s relationship with her was inappropriate but did not take appropriate action to report their concerns.  This motivated Faith to push for change to state laws related to educator sexual misconduct in K-12 schools.

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Sexual Abuse and Negligence at an Elgin Daycare

January 4th, 2024   No Comments   Sexual Abuse

A former employee of an Elgin daycare is facing six counts of sexual abuse in connection to the abuse of two children younger than 13 years old over the course of nearly 14 years, according to the Kane County State’s Attorney’s office.  The Kane County Child Advocacy Center and the Elgin Police Department conducted the investigation, which revealed that the man, Walaitis, allegedly abused two children who were under the age of 13 between December 2008 and July 2022 while working at The Learning Tree, Elgin West.  Those investigating said Walaitis was the victims’ teacher and held a position of authority, trust, and supervision over the children at the daycare center. Walaitis is now facing six felony counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.  The attorneys at Justice for Kids are able to help victims of such abuse seek justice to remedy the wrongs suffered.

DCF Must Pay $15 Million to a Child for Failing to Protect her From Horrific Abuse, a Jury Decided

January 2nd, 2024   No Comments   Abuse, Court Cases

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) failed to investigate complaints that the mother was using drugs and endangering her child, who suffered “catastrophic” permanent injuries from severe abuse and neglect.  The child, H.H., is now eight years old and completely dependent on others for all aspects of her daily functioning, according to Justice for Kids, which represented her.  The award is among the largest in state history for this kind of case.  The jury’s verdict speaks to “the sheer magnitude and severity” of the girl’s injuries, attorney Stacie Schmerling said.   The Department received a report through its abuse hotline about H.H. and her brother in May 2017, concerning drug activity in the home and poor living conditions.   Moreover, the stepfather, who lived in the home and was a caregiver to H.H., had a criminal history that included arrests for violent crimes, the complaint says.

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Sun-Sentinel: Four relatives face charges in Margate teen’s decade of alleged abuse. Police expect more arrests.

December 22nd, 2023   No Comments   Abuse

As reported by the Sun-Sentinel, “It took one text message to a teacher to uncover years of alleged abuse that a 15-year-old girl said she suffered at the hands of her caregivers.”

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Family Awarded $13.5 Million for Adoption that Led to Molestation Following a Trial Led by Justice for Kids

December 19th, 2023   No Comments   Court Cases, Negligence

Following a seven-day trial led by the Justice for Kids Team, a jury awarded $13.5 million to a family that suffered harm after the adoption agency Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) failed to warn them about psychological problems that make their adopted son unsafe to be around their daughters, one of whom was later molested.  The $13.5 million dollar verdict against JFCS validated claims by the boy’s adoptive parents that the nonprofit failed to convey how risky it would be to place the boy in their home.  “They cannot escape accountability,” attorney Justin Grosz told jurors during final arguments for the seven-day trial, which centered on whether Jewish Family staff failed before adoption to alert the couple to behavioral problems that could last a lifetime.

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WPLG: Relative who worked at child abuse nonprofit is latest arrest in Margate teen torture case

December 14th, 2023   No Comments   Abuse

As reported by WPLG Local 10, authorities arrested a former worker at a child abuse prevention organization in connection with an investigation into an alleged house of torture. This happened in Margate, FL where multiple family members are accused of brutalizing, caging and starving a 15-year-old girl for years.

WFTS: Citrus County taking over investigation of foster care abuse allegations

December 9th, 2023   No Comments   Abuse, Foster Care

As reported by ABC Action News, a group of individuals is accusing their former foster parents, Jacklyn and Jerold Logemann, of abuse. After nine kids in foster care were removed from their home, a criminal investigation was launched regarding allegations from former foster kids and the current living conditions at the home, according to police records.

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Orlando Sentinel: Jury orders Florida to pay $15 million to Volusia girl tortured by parents

December 9th, 2023   No Comments   Abuse, Court Cases

A young girl has been awarded a $15 million verdict against the Florida Department of Children & Families for negligently investigating abuse reports. Stacie Schmerling and Lisa Elliott, attorneys with the Justice for Kids Division of Kelley Kronenberg, represented the eight-year-old girl, who was tortured and suffered permanent traumatic brain injury and quadriplegia from repeated episodes of abusive head trauma.

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Justice for Kids Leader Howard Talenfeld Honored at Keiser University Choice Awards

November 21st, 2023   No Comments   News & Events, Uncategorized

Howard M. Talenfeld, a leading children’s rights attorney and Business Unit Leader of Justice for Kids, a division of Kelley Kronenberg, was recently recognized as an honoree at the Keiser University Choice Awards – Minority Community Leaders Gala on November 17.

This special event recognized and celebrated the achievements of individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to minority communities, fostering a sense of community and empowerment. It also brought together leaders from diverse backgrounds to share their experiences and resources to strengthen their collective impact.

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Miami Herald: Teen was tortured in Broward home for a decade, police say. A sex offender lived there, too.

November 8th, 2023   No Comments   Abuse

As reported by the Miami Herald, a 15-year-old girl suffered close to a decade of horrors at a Margate home where new court records reveal that a sex offender also lived. Horace Crawley, 74, was arrested on Sunday and is now charged with failure to register as a sex offender. Days prior, Shankyria Latricia Clayton, the girl’s 20-year-old sister, was charged with aggravated child abuse and child neglect with great bodily harm in connection with the teen’s case.

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Miami New Times – Lawsuit: State Agency Ignored Red Flags Before Miami Mother Killed Children

November 2nd, 2023   Comments Off on Miami New Times – Lawsuit: State Agency Ignored Red Flags Before Miami Mother Killed Children   Abuse

A lawsuit has been filed accusing a state agency of ignoring red flags that ultimately led to the tragic deaths of two children. According to a report by Miami New Times, the agency ignored the increasingly dangerous household and signs that the mother was behaving erratically.

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Prominent Children’s Rights Attorney Howard Talenfeld Named to Florida Trend 500 Legends List

November 1st, 2023   Comments Off on Prominent Children’s Rights Attorney Howard Talenfeld Named to Florida Trend 500 Legends List   News & Events

Howard M. Talenfeld, a leading children’s rights attorney and Business Unit Leader of Justice for Kids, a division of Kelley Kronenberg, has once again been selected by Florida Trend magazine for its annual Florida 500 list. This special section highlights the 500 most influential executives in different economic sectors throughout Florida. Talenfeld has consistently been included in this publication since 2018. This year, he is listed in the “Legends” category.

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