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Archive for January, 2012

Child Welfare Judge Likens Naked, Emaciated Boy, 9, to Concentration Camp Survivor

January 31st, 2012   No Comments   Abuse, Court Cases

It was a horror to see – even to any veteran child advocate, childen’s rights lawyer, foster care professional or Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman – all people accustomed to seeing the abuse, personal injury and the scars of mistreated children. When the 9-year-old boy showed up in her courtroom, the judge likened the emaciated child to a concentration camp survivor.

His uncle said he was unaware of the boy’s condition. A photograph revealed a child so emaciated that his eyes bulged and his bones protruded from his skin. According to the Sun-Sentinel, the boy was “found wandering his North Miami Beach neighborhood Saturday — beaten, naked and starving.

“His parents, Marsee Strong, 34, and Edward Bailey, 40, remain at the Miami-Dade County Jail on charges of aggravated child abuse and neglect on $65,000 bail.” Read the entire story here.

Fort Lauderdale Youth Pastor Arrested For 10-Year Sexual Molestation

January 30th, 2012   No Comments   Abuse

In an warning of how parents and children – from those in good households to vulnerable foster children – must be cautious and aware of potential threats, a youth pastor was arrested last week after an 18-year-old man accused the pastor of sexually abusing him for a decade.

Youth pastor Jeffery London was arrested last week after a man, 18, said London sexually molested him for 10 years while he was under the older man’s care, the Miami Herald reports.

The pastor was arrested at home Wednesday night in Lauderdale Lakes. He had just returned Bible study he conducted at the Bible Church of God in Fort Lauderdale, according to the Broward Sheriffs Office.

The BSO Special Victims Unit is urging anyone who has been a victim of or has information about London to contact Detective Julie Bower at 954-321-4240 or Broward Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 954-493-8477 or www.browardcrimestoppers.org.

Panama City Child Welfare Agency Ranks Tops in Florida

The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) has tagged a Panama City- and Bay Country-area lead agency for child welfare services at No. 1 in the state by a new system of measurements, wrote the Panama City News Herald. The organization, The Big Bend Community Based Care, earned the top spot in the inaugural report.

The rankings are tallied by various information and measures, including administrative costs, ratio of children receiving preventive services, and the percentage of children enrolled in school. The rankings are part of the new DCF and the Florida Coalition for Children monthly “scorecard” that measures success with the 20 community-based care organizations across the state.

“We were very consistent across the board,” said Mike Watkins, CEO of Big Bend. “We got good marks for safety and controlling administrative costs.” Read the entire story here.

Advocates, Child Welfare Attorneys: Child-Welfare System Fixes Might Worsen Situation

Advocates and child welfare attorneys have long said Florida’s child welfare system needs fixing, strengthening and correcting in order to correct foster child and vulnerable children’s abuse, deaths and personal injury. Yet critics say several bills being reviewed by lawmakers and named for Nubia Barahona – the 10-year-old girl allegedly killed by her adoptive parents last February – could have little positive effect.

“Indeed, some of the bills’ provisions will give the agency greater discretion to ignore calls to the state’s abuse hotline, or to cease an investigation at any time when an investigator believes the report is false,” writes the Miami Herald.

A bill in the state Senate would eliminate state standards designed to lower caseloads for Department of Children & Families investigators, though it is an article of faith among trade groups that lower caseloads lead to better outcomes for children.

Read the entire story here.

Children’s Rights, Foster Youth Attorney TV Segment Supports Florida Child Advocate

January 19th, 2012   No Comments   Advocacy, News & Events

Howard Talenfeld, President of Florida’s Children First, and David Gagne, Florida Youth Shine Secretary, went on NBC’s Live Miami to speak about the mission and goals of Florida’s Children First. The non-profit organization founded by child advocate attorneys from around the state speaks on behalf of children at risk. The two called for viewers to visit the organizations’ websites to support their ongoing work


War Against Child Abuse, Deaths an Up, Down Battle in Florida, Counties

Depending on where in Florida you are, child abuse deaths rose – and declined – in 2010. Deaths were down statewide, but up in Palm Beach County over the past two years. Florida Department of Children and Families officials, advocates and child welfare attorneys are watching the numbers closely.

Abuse or neglect that led to child deaths in Palm Beach County hit 14 in 2010, up from 10 the year prior, according to data from a State Child Abuse Death Review Committee report, as reported by the Palm Beach Post. In 2008, nine children died from child abuse or neglect in Palm Beach County.

As written previously in this blog, the death of any child in state care — whether DCF, a foster household, an adoptive home or while under the guidance of a community based care organization charged with ensuring the child’s welfare — is one too many. We must work harder to ensure oversight is improved and children get the care they need to survive and thrive.

Read the entire article here.