Florida’s Children First, the pioneering advocacy organization that fights for foster children and others who have been physically abused, neglected, injured, and victims of sexual abuse, was named the the 2015 recipient of The Florida Bar Foundation’s Paul C. Doyle Children’s Advocacy Award.
Founded by leading foster child advocacy attorney and foster child personal injury attorney Howard Talenfeld, Florida’s Children First, with the support from a Florida Bar Foundation Children’s Legal Services grant, advocated successfully for passage of the 2014 legislation, which provides attorneys to protect dependent children with special needs who are in the state custody. The Florida Legislature also appropriated $4.5 million in 2014 to fund attorneys to represent these at-risk children. The bills were sponsored by Sen. Bill Galvano and Rep. Erik Fresen.
Established in 2013 in honor of Doyle, the Foundation’s longtime grant program director, the award recognizes and encourages systemic legal advocacy on behalf of low-income children by Florida Bar Foundation grantees. Florida’s Children First received the award June 25 at the Foundation’s 39th Annual Reception and Dinner in Boca Raton for its Counsel for Dependent Children with Special Needs Project.
Talenfeld, a leading children’s rights attorney, called the legislation historic when it was passed last year. Florida’s Children First will work to ensure continued funding, a top priority following a $2.2 million appropriation in 2015.
“These children need all the additional protections they can get,” Talenfeld said.