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Archive for the ‘Education Issues’ Category

Florida Foster Child Abuse Lawyer Howard Talenfeld Receives UM Law Alumni Achievement Award

More than 150 local attorneys and officials were in attendance this week to celebrate the awarding of the University of Miami Law Alumni Association’s Alumni Achievement Award to Howard M. Talenfeld. A leading Florida foster care abuse attorney and life-long advocate for children’s rights, Talenfeld was recognized for his tireless efforts on behalf of society’s most vulnerable citizens.

The award was presented by Fort Lauderdale attorney and 2015 award recipient Bruce Lyons, Miami attorney and president of the Law Alumni Association Edward R. Shohat, and University of Miami School of Law Dean Patricia D. White.

“Howard was a natural for this award. We’re very proud of his pioneering work for children’s causes,” said Shohat. “The association represents over 30,000 alumni around the world, and Howard is an excellent ambassador for the school.”


Florida Advocates’ Successful Push for Florida Foster Kids Gets Tuition Exemptions for College, Graduate Education

When a former foster child from Sarasota was accepted to Florida International University Law School, he wondered how he’d pay for it. After all, foster families often don’t have the money for such expenses. While state law granted tuition exemptions for foster kids seeking undergraduate and graduate educations, the State University System of Florida Board of Governors (BOG) refused to require state schools to grant exemptions.

That’s changing. After four years of work by Florida Youth Shine, Florida’s Children First, and other advocacy groups, committed lawmakers, and pro bono legal counsel that brought an administrative challenge, the BOG has directed state universities to grant exemptions to accepted students from foster care. A full repeal of the rule is said to be under consideration.


‘Age Out’ Woes: Advocates, Attorneys Fear Florida Foster Children Face Hard Times as Adults in Tough Economy

September 15th, 2011   No Comments   Aging Out, Education Issues

In Fort Lauderdale, Broward County and across Florida, foster kids who leave the system – or ‘age out’ of foster care – at 18 find themselves struggling in a tough job market. Child care advocates, legal needs attorneys, and others say internships yield work experience – but in temporary jobs. Many former foster kids also lack personal and financial “management” skills needed to be self-sufficient, independent and to thrive in the workplace.

Statewide, data shows that some 47 percent of teens in foster care graduate with a high school diploma. Across the U.S., unemployment among “aged out” foster kids hovers around 56 percent, according to an article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Moreover, about 15 percent become homeless for one or more months within 12 months of leaving foster care, the paper reported.

“Between 2010 and 2011, about 100 teens in Broward and 80 in Palm Beach County aged out,” the paper reported. If they stay enrolled in school or meet other requirements, they may receive some $1,200 monthly from the state until they hit 23. Education, job training, finding mentors and learning life skills are key to thriving independently.

Read the entire story on aged out foster kids in the tough economy here.

Five Florida Agencies Unite to Improve Educational Opportunities for Foster Youth

August 12th, 2009   No Comments   Education Issues, Foster Care

The heads of five Florida state agencies formally agreed today to work together to ensure that children in state care — including foster children — receive an appropriate, high-quality and stable education.

Signing the Interagency Agreement to Coordinate Services for Children Served by the Florida Child Welfare System were the heads of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Department of Education (DOE), the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), and the Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI).

Click here to see the Guide to Improve Educational Opportunities for Florida’s Foster Youth.

Signers say that the agreement will go a long way toward ensuring that foster children receive the coordinated services and the stability they need to succeed in school and beyond. (more…)

Round-Up: Crist Signs Records Law, State Reviews Foster Care Cases

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist

Florida’s foster children have been both a source of both eye-opening revelation about how they’re cared for, as well as the recipients of legislation designed to help them in the future.

In some good news for foster kids, Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed into law bills designed to help grant them access to records for medical and educational needs.  The Foster Folly News wrote  that the legislation benefits children in foster care as well as young people leaving foster care. The move “provides children in foster care better access to their own personal records often needed for medical and educational purposes.  Senate Bill 1128 ensures that disabled homeless children and children in foster care receive appropriate educational services.”

WEAR-TV reported that the bills can be credited, in part, to members of Florida Youth Shine, a statewide advocacy group that specializes in foster care and child welfare issues. “You’re great advocates, you truly are,” Crist said.

Recent news in Florida’s foster child and foster care landscape continued to center on the fall-out of the Department of Children and Families response to Gabriel Myers, the 7-year-old child who committed suicide in his foster home. Reporters and government leaders are scrutinizing how Gabrielwas prescribed powerful psychotropic drugs, and how the DCF plans to deal with such cases in the future. Among the stories… (more…)

Guardian ad Litem Takes Moderate Cut In Tough Budget Year. Many Florida Foster Children Will Lose Their Voice in Court

Florida’s Guardian ad Litem program emerged from this year’s Legislative budget process with fiscal cuts not as deep as originally feared.

The program’s funding will be reduced by $2.81 million. Proposed cuts were $7.6 million in the Florida House of Representatives, and $2.6 million in the Florida Senate.

In the Fiscal Year 2009-2010 Appropriations Act, the Florida Legislature will reduce the Guardian Ad Litem Program by $3.817 million, and then reinstate $1 million in non-recurring money. Therefore, if the Legislature does nothing for FY 2010-2011, the GAL will be cut by $1 million.

There were no simple or pleasant solutions. This was the toughest budgetary year many people have ever seen. Although advocates stepped in quickly to help negotiate a balanced approach to this tough budgetary call, many foster children will be left without Guardians.

But make no mistake: The cuts span the spectrum of child services. (more…)