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Archive for November, 2013

Florida At-Risk and Foster Child Attorney Explores DCF Ills on Local News Show

Howard Talenfeld on PutneyFort Lauderdale child advocate and Florida foster child attorney Howard Talenfeld, who has brought suit in many cases of wrongful death and sexual abuse and physical abuse perpetrated against Florida’s at-risk children, was a guest as Local 10’s Michael Putney discussed issues with Department of Children and Families. This comes after at least 25 children have died since April at the hands of abusive and violent parents or other caregivers. All 25 kids were known by DCF officials.

The topic was “The state Department of Children and Families and its inability to prevent the deaths of many children under its care” since April this year, utney said. “It’s an alarming trend and one that must stop.”

Watch the entire episode here.

Florida Department of Children and Families Sued for Disabled Child’s Death in ‘Warehousing’ Practice

November 15th, 2013   No Comments   Abuse, Court Cases

In a case attorneys for Florida foster children and other medically at-risk youth have watched closely, Florida Department of Children and Families was sued this week when a girl died following a move from her Tampa home to a geriatric facility in Miami Gardens. Though the former practice of “warehousing” medically fragile children has been reduced or resolved, attentive care for medically needy kids remains an issue.

Florida Child Advocate covered the original story and editorials about it back in November 2012. Now, the mother of the teenage girl from Tampa who died being taken from her mother under DCF orders and driven five hours to a Miami Gardens geriatric or senior nursing home has sued DCF and its agencies for the girl’s death. Read the news story here. 


With 25 Kids Dead, Florida Department of Children and Families Must Change its Failed Policies

November 11th, 2013   No Comments   Abuse, Advocacy, Commentary

The Florida Department of Children and Families has argued for years in support of its policy of keeping troubled families together. In the wake of the deaths of 25 children known by DCF potentially to be at harm, some have called the policy flawed.

In this letter to the Tampa Bay Times, child advocate attorney Howard Talenfeld argues that in light of situations of wrongful death, physical abuse and sexual abuse of at-risk children and foster children, there is no doubt that DCF needs desperately to revamp its child protection system, as there is no excuse for a single death of a child where there are red flags known to DCF investigators. However, the best practice is to always try to keep children in their homes if it can be done so safely.


Florida Department of Children and Families, Agencies Sued by Parents of Tortured Port Charlotte Boy

November 3rd, 2013   No Comments   Abuse, Court Cases

In a case of the Florida Department of Children and Families and its community-based care providers not paying heed to warning signs of child abuse and neglect against those in its care, DCF and several agencies are being sued by the adoptive parents whose adopted boy was left in a Port Charlotte home for several months – even after DCF child welfare officials were told his stepmother was torturing him.

The suit charges DCF, Lutheran Services Florida and Charlotte Behavioral Health Care with negligence.

In 2012, the stepmother was sentenced to a prison term of four years for aggravated child abuse, including smearing feces and urine on the boy’s face and sliding peanut butter sandwiches under his door.

The boy was later adopted by his paternal aunt and uncle. Today, he is 13 and lives in Tennessee.

“He told everybody that would listen what was happening to him and nobody believed him and he ended up in the same place night after night after night,” the attorney told the News Press. “This is going to affect him for the rest of the life.”