Welcome to the Justice For Kids Blog
Thousands of foster children, former foster children, developmentally disabled and medically fragile children are part of the Florida child care system. If you’re currently or formerly a child in – or an advocate for or parent of a child in the foster care system – the Justice for Kids blog is here to help.
Every year, thousands of foster children, medically needy children, or those physically abused, sexually abused, are the victims of personal injury, legal damages, and pain and suffering and are left to seek solutions on their own. No child should go through this on his or her own, and for the almost 500 who have died while under state watch, they deserved better.
This blog was created by Justice for Kids, a unique law practice and division of law firm Kelley Kronenberg. Founded by Howard Talenfeld, the preeminent children’s rights attorney focusing exclusively on protecting the rights of physically and sexually abused children, developmentally disabled children, neglected children and other at-risk children, Justice for Kids blog addresses key issues facing those with foster care, physical abuse, child sexual abuse, social services, dependency, disability or personal injury and damages claims or lawsuits against the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), lead agencies, community based care providers, and other child welfare providers.
Along side Howard are Justice for Kids Partner and Co-Business Unit Leader Stacie Schmerling, a veteran child abuse case worker and investigator who spent 10 years working in the child welfare systems in New Jersey and Florida. Firm Partner and Co-Business Unit Leader Justin D. Grosz is a 25-year veteran trial lawyer and former Assistant State Attorney. he practices in the areas of child safety, catastrophic injury, wrongful death, and civil rights.
We believe that children belong with their own families. However, we also believe that when protective investigations by the Florida DCF and its agencies reveal that children are at high risk of neglect, child sexual abuse or physical abuse by their parents or other caregivers, they must be placed with suitable relatives when they are available, and if not, some children must be placed in foster care. Critically, if children are going to be taken into foster care, they should be protected by the Florida Department of Children & Families and their community partners from the risk of physical and sexual abuse and returned home or placed in loving and nurturing adoptive families as quickly as possible.
In this blog, we also explore topics including the rights of foster children to be safe from harm in care, their right to medical care, psychological care, and disability benefits, their educational rights, and their rights on the road to independence.
This site offers resources for various government, social service and independent agencies. We also try to provide help understanding children’s legal rights as they pertain to foster care dependency, damages and disability claims.
We answer important questions, and show how to:
– Get medical and psychological care and disabilities benefits
– Understand foster children’s rights
– Achieve permanency
– Redress damages so that children who are harmed in care can get the help they need before and after they turn 18.
– Find whom to turn to
Fighting for abused, disabled and injured kids is our mission. Please feel free to Contact Us with any additional questions.
Every foster child deserves to live a safe and happy life. The Justice For Kids blog can provide the information to help that happen.
The unlimited power of DCF to push through shelter orders with exaggetated and unsubstantiated claims which all judges err on the side of protecting the children cause many to be put at great risk in the foster system with no due process rights. Current resourrces only allow court appointed counsel for parents with limited resources allowing children to languish in foster care a minimum of two to six months if you bow to their demands. Especially in cases of autism spectrum disorders or other physical or mental challenges how can we protect the children at the shelter hearing level without talented advocates who are willing to plead the case for the child or parents against DCF counsel. Current procedures allow no time to defend against charges and court appointed counsel are
frequently in a position to only see or hear the DCF position. It is frequently appallling to hear an appointed attorney tell a parent, ‘You have no choice but to admit the claims, it is your child.’ Question ‘How do you reform the system to prevent excessive shelter orders and how do we assure children who are physically and mentally challendged are protected before the shelter they receive becomes a traedy.’.
Judging by the treatment I received on the phone today while trying to get my children representation for an appeal against DCF, who kidnapped them illegally and the story goes on….I don’t understand what this website is all about???? I was hung up on several times and told no attorneys get involved in “dependency” cases.
I am an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) with 40 years of private practice in a mid sized town in FL and I have a good reputation here. I have worked with a number of families caught in the CPS system. I have been appalled by their tactics and their use/abuse of power and lack of concern for the child’s well being in their attempt to basically destroy families. It is worse now due to their paranoia about the opioid epidemic and also because 7 years ago the investigative arm went under the County Sheriff Dept. resulting in even more strong arm maneuvers.
Now my 3 year old grandson (sheltered almost a year ago for “potential for abuse”) is placed with a distant relative who has a hx of 2 protective injunctions against him due to domestic violence and a horrific temper. . They have said I have “mental health issues” because I asked the investigator how she sleeps at night after he was sheltered due to my daughter’s “eyes.” They won’t let me have unsupervised visits because I fail to snitch on the parents. I kid you not. The nightmare has just gotten worse. All agree he has never been abused, neglected or abandoned but there is “potential!!” Say what???.
I was searching Mr Tallenfeld’s website for civil action after they destroy my grandson’s mental health and who knows what else. I can’t quit work because trying to fight this has made me broke. But when I do or at least when this case comes to its conclusion I plan on fighting this system aggressively. Right now I sit on a Foster Care Initiative Committee. They don’t know my grandson is under their “care.” and I’m just gathering information to use in the future. It needs to be reorganized from the bottom up, not the way they are trying to do it now…top down. I have been to the newspaper who was really interested but am holding off due to fears of repercussion. Meanwhile CPS caseworkers continue to call my office occasionally about children I used to treat and other issues. But I can’t see my grandson because I’m such a risk…
I get pretty down about all of this but remember….there is power in numbers. We are in appeal right now after losing in lower court due to a lawyer our appeal attorney says should be reported to the Bar…and she is. Someday I will organize a group of citizens affected by this disastrous entity and make changes needed like citizen oversight, better trained (outside of the system) and educated caseworkers, more transparency etc. etc. Please join me.