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Archive for February, 2014

Broward Child Advocacy Awards & Reception to Held on Thursday, February 27

February 20th, 2014   No Comments   Adoption

Florida’s Children First, the state’s premier child advocacy organization, will hold its 2014 Broward Child Advocacy Awards & Reception on Thursday, February 27 at 5:30pm at the 110 Tower in Fort Lauderdale (110 SE 6th Street, Fort Lauderdale 33301).

The event will honor:

– Children’s Services Council of Broward County as the Children’s Advocate of the Year

– Taevon Pierre & Aaron Dames as the Youth Honorees of the Year and

– Forever Family Bella’s Group as the Youth Inspiration Award

Master of Ceremonies will be Todd Templin, former WPLG reporter and current Vice President with Boardroom Communications.

Sponsors include Boardroom Communications; Colodny Fass Talenfeld Karlinsky Abate & Webb; Guardian Trust: Coral Gables Trust; Lifestyle Media Group; Daily Business Review; and Paul Palank Memorial Foundation.

For more information, contact: Debby Beck (fcf@floridaschildrenfirst.org or 954-796-0860).

Proposed Law to Provide Attorneys for Disabled Children Passes House Civil Justice Sub- committee

Tallahassee, Fla. – (February 19, 2014) – By a unanimous vote, HB 561, sponsored by Representative Erik Fresen (Miami), was approved by Florida’s House Civil Justice Sub-committee today. The proposed bill would provide attorneys for Florida’s disabled children who linger in foster care for an average of up to five years, and sometimes longer.

“In order to protect the well-being and welfare of one of our most vulnerable populations in the State of Florida, our disabled dependent children, we must provide them with additional tools,” said Rep. Fresen, the bill’s House sponsor. “By providing these children legal representation, we are helping to ensure that all of the benefits afforded to them are delivered with the ultimate goal of finding permanent residency.”

Under HB 561, the attorney would provide necessary legal services, including Medicare waiver benefits and, most importantly, seek to focus dependency courts on finding permanent families for these children. Recognizing the need for skilled representation, these lawyers would represent disabled children in applications for benefits and denial of benefits from the state and federal agencies, like the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Agency for Health Care Administration or the Social Security Administration.


Florida Child Abuse Attorney: Five Years Later, Lessons Learned Lie Dormant

February 7th, 2014   No Comments   Uncategorized

Gabriel Myers (image from Florida DCF)After Gabriel Myers, 7, killed himself while the foster child was being treated with a “psychotropic cocktail,” Florida foster care advocates hoped momentum had built sufficiently to get through the state Legislature a series of laws designed to protect children already traumatized by sexual abuse by other abused children. Instead, the proposed rules – and momentum – died.

Now, advocates are hoping to built momentum anew. They hope to push through several measures during the coming legislative session.

If any child could serve as a case study for the need for such rules and laws, it was Gabriel. He exhibited sexual behavior problems at school and had lost a foster placement due to his troubling behavior, according to news reports.

“One of the major things we learned was that the reason he was so disturbed was that he had been sexually abused himself,” said attorney Howard Talenfeld, president of the advocacy group Florida’s Children First. “As a victim of sexual abuse, he was acting out. This was a significant part of his problem that went unaddressed.”

Read the entire story here.