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Archive for September, 2013

Medically Needy Child Dies Under DCF Care and Amid Provider Bickering

On Florida Child Advocate, we’ve advocated for attorneys and attorneys ad litem for developmentally disabled and medically fragile children and foster and at-risk children – and to put an end to their needless and senseless wrongful death, personal injury and physical abuse. We’ve admonished the Florida Department of Children and Families and their contracted community-based providers for not seeing that these citizens receive the critical and appropriate medical care they need, and we’ve lauded the legislature for funding that care.

So it’s saddening and frustrating to read that a young child under the watch of DCF and under the care of two such providers died as those providers debated who should handle and pay for her care. In brief, this young child should have had assigned to her a skilled child advocacy attorney to argue for her needs. Simply put, she died because no one skilled to do so was there on her side advocating for her very specific and necessary medical needs.

Read just part of her story to get a sense of her suffering, and now plain it would seem to an outsider that she needed someone to advocate on her behalf…


Media Reports on DCF Lawsuit by Boy Sexually Abused, Knifed by Father

September 25th, 2013   No Comments   Abuse, Court Cases

South Florida and regional media have been keenly interested in news of a then 7-year-old boy who had been sexually abused and later was knifed by his father suing the Florida Department of Children and Families and four contracted agencies Monday for negligence.

The man also killed his then-9-year-old autistic son and a stranger, before committing suicide. Children’s rights attorneys note that the episode is indicative of larger issues within Florida’s child protection system. DCF has long sought to preserve and reunify troubled families, instead of protecting children facing sexual abuse or physical harm at home, reported the Miami Herald.

There was a mountain of evidence against that father, whose two other children had been removed from his care years ago in New York for the same type of sex abuse allegations, and Florida’s agency was aware of that,” WIOD News Radio cites attorney Joel Fass as saying.

“All the warning signs — including past allegations of abuse — were there regarding De Jesus; no one seems to have read them,” wrote the Broward New Times.

Child Advocate Attorneys Sue Florida DCF on Behalf of Boy Knifed by Pedophile Father, Suit Claims Agency Knew Potential for Harm

September 24th, 2013   No Comments   Abuse, Court Cases

In a violent, murderous rampage that one local newspaper called a “bloodbath,” a child was left with a knife embedded in his skull, his autistic brother and a stranger killed – and his pedophile father and perpetrator of the violence dead of suicide. The Florida Department of Children and Families could have predicted the 2012 outburst, given the man’s history of physical abuse and sexual abuse against his children.

The boy’s child advocate attorneys, Howard Talenfeld and Joel Fass, both shareholders with Fort Lauderdale law firm Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb, filed suit in Broward County Circuit Court Monday, the Miami Herald reported today.

The lawsuit claims the 2012 event at the Deerfield Beach trailer park resulted from the state returning the boy to his parents. The agency already had removed the boys from the care of the parents, who had been accused by several sources of repeatedly molesting the boy, despite growing evidence and reports the boy was terrified of his parents. A half-brother reportedly even warned agency officials of the man’s sexual assaults on him when the man lived in New York.


Florida’s Children First to Host Gainesville Fundraiser and Annual Advocacy Awards

September 22nd, 2013   No Comments   Advocacy, News & Events

Florida’s Children First, the state’s premier advocacy organization for foster children, and neglected, physically abused and sexually abused at-risk and vulnerable youth statewide, will host its annual fundraiser and awards event this week.

The Florida’s Children First 2013 Gainesville Reception will be held Thursday, September 26 from 5:30PM to 7:30PM. The event will be hosted by Cotton and Gloria Fletcher. Ms. Fletcher is a leading North Florida children’s rights attorney.


DCF Risk Factor List Aims to Prevent Child Abuse, Death

For Florida children abused or subjected to sexual abuse, physical abuse, personal injury or even wrongful death, a new program from the Florida Department of Children and Families could be the change the agency is hoping to implement after a spate of 20 deaths of children known to DCF officials.

DCF’s new guidelines may to allow it to respond more quickly when a child is in danger. DCF’s new Rapid Safety Feedback follows a study of child injuries and deaths and is on the heels of DCF family investigations.

Hillsborough County was the first to use the new guidelines, that call for caseworkers to look for risk factors, including the parents’ age, evidence of drug use or the presence of an unrelated boyfriend in the home, notes news reports.


Former Foster Children From Florida Youth Shine Speak Out at Statewide Events

What can you learn from a child or young adult? Listen and you’ll see. Members of Florida Youth Shine, who are current and former foster children, spent their summer speaking to child advocates throughout Florida, and working in the nation’s capital. They shared information about independent living legislation and other issues affecting foster kids.

The “Voice of the Youth” series took the young adults across the state to share their stories.

They spoke at trainings sessions, statewide committee meetings, and to the media that covers child advocacy issues.

In the past weeks, 22 Florida Youth Shine members actively participated in two workshops at The Department of Children and Families Child Dependency Summit in Orlando. There to learn, advocate and learn about leadership building, they also presented at workshops and served on panel discussions.

Among the events in which Florida Youth Shine members participated were: