“If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much”
– Marion Wright Edelman
10360 W. State Road 84
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33324
Phone: 844-4KIDLAW (4543529); 754-888-KIDS (5437)
Broward County, FL has been the situs of the most significant tragedies in recent history with the epidemic of child-on-child sexual abuse, hundreds of missing foster care children, and other child welfare tragedies that were the subject of the Ward v. Feaver class action law suit filed to reform foster care in 1997. Justice for Kids attorney Howard Talenfeld was lead co-counsel in this case that almost tripled the child welfare budget for Broward County. Even more recently, the attorneys for Justice for Kids have filed lawsuits because of the deaths of far too many children in the care of ChildNet, Inc. after investigations by the Broward Sheriff’s Office, such as Antwan Hope, McKenzie Nevarez and Ahziya Osceola, among others. On a positive note, as a result of the failures in its child protection system, Broward County voters created the Children’s Services Council of Broward County, which is one of the most comprehensive, quality programs for the protection of children in the country.
Broward County is also the home of Florida’s Children First, a statewide organization devoted to fighting for children’s rights that was founded in 2002 by Justice for Kids Business Unit Leader Howard Talenfeld. During the last 20 years, attorneys for Justice for Kids have handled many of the significant child welfare cases in Broward County.
- Ward v. Feaver Class Action. Justice for Kids attorney Howard Talenfeld, a board member of the Youth Law Center, was lead co-counsel in the Ward v. Feaver class action that alleged that there was an epidemic of child-on-child sexual abuse, that children in the custody of Florida were not getting their education, and that there were hundreds of missing children from foster care. As a result of this lawsuit, in 2000, the Florida Department of Children and Families entered into a consent decree that almost tripled the grossly inadequate child welfare budget for Broward County and improved the lives of thousands of children in the care of Florida.
- Lawsuit for Child Victim of Sexual Abuse By His Parents, Exposed To Domestic Violence. This lawsuit was filed in Broward County, FL against DCF and private community-based agencies located in Polk County, FL and Volusia County, FL on behalf of a child who had been sexually abused by his parents and exposed to domestic violence. The child was reunified with his biological parents despite warnings that he was at significant risk of harm. The father drove the family to Broward County, shot a man, and held the family hostage resulting in a SWAT standoff during which time the father stabbed the child, stabbed the child’s non-verbal autistic brother to death, stabbed the mother, and stabbed himself to death. The case resolved against DCF and several private child welfare agencies for undisclosed amounts. Read more below.
- Settlement In Matter Against Broward Sheriff’s Office. A $1.575 million settlement brought an abrupt end to a Fort Lauderdale trial that questioned the Broward Sheriff’s Office for its management of abuse allegations involving an infant who suffered injuries and brain damage, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. “Sheriff Lamberti did the right thing by resolving the 5-year-old child’s claim as a result of a lawsuit for a negligent protective investigation, which occurred during a prior administration,” said Howard Talenfeld, one of the plaintiff attorney’s trying the case. The newspaper went on to report that the insurance company for the Sheriff’s Office reached the deal with attorneys for Jace Manning, who was left developmentally disabled after his skull was fractured in February 2006. Two months before the boy’s severe injuries, he was hospitalized with an unexplained bruise under his chin, and his grandmother implored authorities to remove him from the Coral Springs, FL apartment where he lived with his mother and her boyfriend.
- Attorneys Settle Case for Trafficked Child Against Child Welfare Agencies for Undisclosed Sum. Florida child abuse attorneys represented a former foster child in a federal lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Florida against community-based child welfare agencies and emergency shelter for failure to protect the then 17-year-old foster child from being sold into sex trafficking in 2012 and then being held captive in Fort Lauderdale Hotel. The case resolved for an undisclosed amount as to the child welfare agencies responsible for failing to provide her an appropriate placement and for placing her into the custody of the traffickers. The claim is pending as to the hotel that turned a blind eye to her abuse. Read more below.
- Settlement for Foster Child Placed in the Home of a Pedophile. A foster boy was placed in the Broward County, FL foster home of a pedophile by a private agency that failed to locate prior arrest records and police reports that should have prevented the licensure of the home and the subsequent grooming and sexual assault of the boy. Justice for Kids attorneys settled this case for undisclosed settlement amounts that were placed in a guardianship and special needs trust.
- Settlement for Foster Child Returned to Schizophrenic Mother Who Smothered Him to Death. Justice for Kids attorneys obtained an undisclosed settlement from a Broward County, FL agency that permitted the foster child to be returned to his bipolar mother who subsequently smothered him to death.
- Lawsuit Against Therapist Who Missed Classic Signs of Sexual Abuse. A Broward County foster child was placed in a specialized foster care placement where he displayed the classic signs of sexual abuse. His treating therapist, who was unlicensed, failed to detect them. The parties entered into a confidential settlement.