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Florida Bar News: Foster Child Abuse Attorneys Back Bills to Provide Lawyers for Special-Needs Kids

The Florida Bar News this month discussed bills in both the House and Senate that would provide state-paid attorneys for dependent children with special needs. The publication spoke with Howard Talenfeld, the Fort Lauderdale attorney who serves as president of Florida’s Children First, an advocacy group pushing the proposed legislation, and Statewide Guardian ad Litem Director Alan Abramowitz.

“It’s the first time in history we have a director of the GAL supportive of attorneys representing children,” Talenfeld said.

When Talenfeld was president of The Florida Bar’s Legal Needs of Children Committee in 2009, he fought unsuccessfully to persuade the former GAL director to support legislation that would provide attorneys for dependent children, a key recommendation of the predecessor 2002 Legal Needs of Children Commission. He referred to the child advocates’ clashing views on representation over the years as “the Crusades.”

“It’s very important to signal to the guardians of the world that the Crusades are over,” Talenfeld said the day before CS/SB 972, sponsored by Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, passed unanimously out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 1.

Read the entire story here.

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