Disabled children who have physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, and mental health-related issues are in need of critical attention and specialized representation. Justice for Kids brings its unique and proven approach to the representation of these children who are eligible for governmental benefits, whose services are being cut and others who have been abused by the state child welfare system.
Our results have helped individual children and their families attain the damage awards necessary to receive the long-term medical and psychological care they require to ensure their lives are as “normal” as possible. We also seek to hold state agencies, like the Florida Department of Children and Families and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, and the private organizations they contract with, accountable for their actions.
Founding partner Howard Talenfeld has been recognized nationally for his work with foster children and others who have developmental disabilities in precedent setting cases, class actions, and damages claims in Florida, New York and throughout the country.
His successes have changed the future for developmentally disabled children. In Baumstein v. Sunrise Communities, Howard successfully urged a Florida appellate court to establish a private cause of action for damages based upon the violation of Florida’s Bill of Rights for the developmentally disabled under Florida Statutes.
In the case of 10 disabled foster children who had been abused for years, Howard applied civil rights law to negotiate $27 million in settlements against New York City and the Archdiocese of Brooklyn. The negotiated damages today are helping the now-adult victims get the care they need to try to live normal lives.
Our team’s lawsuits and advocacy have has led to widespread reforms and awareness. Howard helped raise public attention to the then-common practice of prescribing “psychotropic cocktails” of powerful anti-psychotic medications to young children and foster children in state-contracted settings. He brought a wrongful death lawsuit after a 12-year-old Autistic boy died from being given multiple psychotropic medications with no monitoring or supervision in a dangerous, off-label practice without parental consent.
Two years earlier, Howard and Florida’s Children First, an organization he founded, raised alarms after the highly publicized death of Gabriel Myers, the 7-year-old foster child who had been prescribed a variety of mental health drugs and who later hanged himself. The use of psychiatric medications on Florida foster children was then studied by a Blue Ribbon Panel created by the state Department of Children and Families which changed Florida’s practice. He has also successfully obtained recoveries as a result of children behaviorally restrained by such chemical restraints.
From the use of powerful and potentially deadly medications, to doctors and providers treating at-risk children without parental consent, to ensuring the physically disabled get the care the state is obligated to provide, the attorneys at Justice for Kids aggressively pursue appropriate legal actions in search of positive outcomes for society’s most at-risk, developmentally disabled children.