Justice for Kids’ attorneys have decades of experience fighting for the rights of foster children and at-risk minors who have suffered personal injury, wrongful death or other damages while under the care and custody of state agencies including the Florida Department of Children & Families, its lead agencies, case management agencies, their contracted care providers and other other institutional care or treatment settings.
The firm was founded to represent children who have been harmed by the system pursue damage awards, wrongful death claims and other legal causes of action for personal injury. Our attorneys are known nationally for achieving multimillion dollar awards, verdicts and settlements and delivering precedent-setting rulings.
Founding partner Howard Talenfeld has been recognized nationally for his work with foster care class actions, civil rights class actions and damages claims. The firm’s creative legal strategies have successfully helped children who are physically abused, sexually abused, or neglected under the care of the state and its contracted private providers while in foster care and other child welfare settings.
Our team of attorneys has secured millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for abused, disabled and injured children. Our lawsuits, settlements and case rulings have not only delivered damage awards to children injured or harmed under the state’s care, but our novel approaches have also led to successes that have helped change case law. Most importantly, the proceeds of these recoveries are used to fund trusts and structured settlement to ensure the children are protected throughout their lives, long after DCF and these agencies have abandoned them.
In the early 2000s, Howard used the federal Civil Rights Act, 42 USC § 1983 to recover $5 million on behalf of six siblings who were abused by their foster and then adoptive parents.
In 2007, a team of attorneys Howard led secured a more than $14 million settlement, the largest recovery of its kind ever in Florida, for 20 foster children who were abused in a foster home. Most recently, in 2014 and 2014, Howard applied civil rights law to prevail against New York City and the Archdiocese of Brooklyn, which together paid more than $27 million in the case of Judith Leekin. The former foster mother ran what the courts called a “house of horrors” that imprisoned, abused and starved 10 developmentally disabled foster children she had adopted by using phony aliases.
The 2008 case H.A.L. v. Foltz resulted in a landmark Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling applying the Federal Civil Rights Act to claims of child-on-child sexual abuse. The ruling today protects children nationwide who are sexually abused in foster care. (link)
At Justice for Kids, our pursuit of justice for foster children, those injured or abused by state agencies and their contracted care providers, or in institutional settings or facilities is driven by a mission: to help these children seek the results they need to carry on with their lives.