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Abuse of 4-Month-Old Child Leads to Settlement With Community-Based Care Provider


Disclaimer: Most cases result in a lower recovery. Results may not be typical and reflect awards before deduction for attorneys’ fees and expenses. It should not be assumed that your case will have as beneficial a result.

A team of child abuse attorneys led by Howard Talenfeld represented a 4-month-old child in a 2005 case many considered horrific.

ChildNet, a community-based care provider contracted by the state to care for the child, who had been subjected to abuse, knew the child was at “substantial risk” of further abuse, according to medical professionals. But the provider failed to offer voluntary protective services (“VPS”) to prevent such further risk.

Investigations confirmed that the child received injuries consistent with physical abuse on more than one occasion. However at no point did anyone from the provider recommend referring the child and his mother for VPS or intervention services, which is a first step according to Chapter 39 and Florida Administrative Code. The child continued to be abused and ultimately sustained significant injuries causing permanent disabilities.

Howard’s team of attorneys claimed the lack of VPS, as well as not holding regular meetings with various service providers overseeing the child’s care, was at odds with Chapter 39 of the Florida Statutes and Chapter 65C of the Florida Administrative Code, and should have violated the company’s contract with the Florida Department of Children and Families.

According to the complaint filed by Talenfeld on behalf of the plaintiff, “Chapter 39 and Florida Administrative Rules required VPS to be utilized as a first tier in child protective cases. ChildNet is the contracted CBC to provide foster care and related services to children and families in District 10, yet ChildNet has a policy prohibiting VPS to be used except in the rarest of occasions. ChildNet’s policy is inconsistent with the statutory and administrative framework. [The child’s] injury likely would have been prevented if [the defendant] would have implemented VPS at some point during one of the three staffings held in this matter.”

The parties settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

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