What is FCA?

Child Advocacy Blog


Archive for April, 2013

Advocates, Attorneys and Foster Child Lawyers Support National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April 20th, 2013   No Comments   Abuse, Advocacy

It’s important that we all know that April is National Child Abuse Prevention month. People need to be made aware of the plight of Florida’s and America’s abused and neglected children, including foster care kids or just those at-risk. The unsettling point, though, is that we need such a month to stop these despicable and preventable acts.

Thousands of children throughout Florida are abused – and some are killed – at the hands of adults. It’s our responsibility to be the community that helps care for and protect these children.

It’s not just the right thing to do. It’s every Floridian’s responsibility to protect our children from abuse and harm. If you witness or suspect child abuse, it’s your legal obligation to stop it or report it to authorities.Florida law requires that any individual who suspects that a child has been abused by any person to report that to the Florida Abuse Hotline.

The Florida Department of Children and Families investigates all allegations of abuse or neglect of a child by a caregiver. Allegations of child abuse by someone other than a caregiver that are reported to the hotline will be immediately electronically transferred to the appropriate local law enforcement agency where the child lives.


Latest in Rilya Wilson Case: One-Time Legal Guardian Pamela Graham Probation Terminated

April 17th, 2013   No Comments   Abuse, Court Cases

Pamela Graham, the former caretaker of the foster child, Rilya Wilson, who went missing and never was found, had her probation terminated this week and her expected jail time eliminated, according to news reports. This comes after nine years of Graham’s cooperation with prosecutors in the trial and conviction of Geralyn Graham, the caretaker convicted of kidnapping and torturing Wilson.

Pamela Graham, who is not related to Geralyn Graham, in 2004 pleaded guilty to two counts of child neglect. Then last year, she testified against Geralyn Graham, her one-time live-in lover. Today, Geralyn Graham is serving out 55 years in prison for her crimes. The jury deadlocked on a first-degree murder charge and the prosecutor has said the office plans to retry Geralyn Graham on that charge.

Though Rilya – whose name is an acronym for “Remember I Love You Always” – lived a short, tortured life, her case resulted in changes at the Florida Department of Children and Families and greater awareness on how foster kids are followed by the department and other organizations.

Child Advocates Beam as Florida Gov. Rick Scott Signs Foster Care ‘Normalcy’ Bill

April 12th, 2013   No Comments   Advocacy

In a move a long time in the making, on Thursday morning, Gov. Rick Scott signed the “Normalcy” Bill (SB 164/HB 215) at the official bill signing ceremony. He was joined by 25 members of Florida Youth SHINE (FYS), a youth advocacy organization comprised of children and young adults in foster care or who have aged out of Florida’s foster care system. Florida’s Children First (FCF ) Executive Director Christina Spudeas also was in attendance.

The “Normalcy” bill will help eliminate some restrictions and reporting requirements that prevent foster children from enjoying normal activities like other kids, such as playing school sports, traveling with a youth group, or sleepovers with friends without fingerprinting and background checks.

Read the Miami Herald article on the “Normalcy” bill signing.

Guest Column: Florida Foster Kids Just Want ‘Normalcy’

April 5th, 2013   No Comments   Advocacy

Gloria Fletcher is an advocate and lawyer representing the state’s foster children and at-risk kids. So she – like so many other child advocacy attorneys and advocates – was keenly interested in the new laws passed by the Florida legislature. Read her Letter to the Editor of the Miami Herald here.

Normal. For Florida kids in foster care — and the foster parents, guardians and attorneys who advocate for their lives and futures — the word “normal” was not in their vocabulary.

They have little access to normal healthcare channels, like other kids do. They often get shuttled from one school to the next when they change foster homes. School field trips, play dates and sleepovers require approval from case managers at best or, at worst, fingerprints and background checks.

Read the rest of the letter here.