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DCF, Care Provider Settle Over Child Left Brain Damaged After Near-Drowning


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.

On April 17, 2002, Angela, a 23-month-old foster child in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families and its contracted providers, wandered through an open and unlocked sliding glass door on the patio to a swimming pool at her foster family’s home.

Contrary to Florida foster care rules, the home had no locked safety or “baby” gate surrounding the pool. Moreover, case managers from Help a Child who visited the Bryson home every month since its initial licensing disregarded the obvious danger the licensing violation created. Angela soon was found floating in the pool and was airlifted to a hospital.

As a result of her near drowning, Angela suffered personal injuries, including serious brain damage. She now is in a semi-comatose vegetative state. She has a G-tube, a tracheotomy, is on a ventilator full time, and is in need of constant intensive care.

Howard Talenfeld, on behalf of representatives for Angela, brought suit in Pinellas County, Florida, against the Department, foster parents Ronald and Joyce Bryson, and private care providers Help a Child Inc., and Family Continuity Program, Inc.

The parties settled to ensure Angela would receive the skilled medical care her doctors said she would need for the rest of her life.

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