“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
– Albert Einstein
10245 Centurion Parkway N, Suite 300
Jacksonville, FL 32256
Phone: 844-4KIDLAW (4543529); 754-888-KIDS (5437)
Some of the most horrific child abuse cases in Florida have occurred in the Northeast Florida area in and around Jacksonville. In 2003, Latiana Hamilton was drowned in a bathtub, and her brother was horribly abused. Read Article. Justice for Kids attorneys have also filed a number of wrongful adoption claims because of misrepresentations that have been made to the parents concerning prior behavioral and even sexual histories of adopted children, causing these parents and their families struggle with children who are sexually and physically aggressive toward other children in the family. There have been cases where the child welfare agencies have also failed to obtain critical mental health services and placements for children in their care and custody. To their credit, the Jacksonville Children’s Commission works with privatized child welfare agencies and monitors their progress and outcomes, and provides additional services to improve the lives of children and families in Northeast Florida.
- Adoptive Parents Settle Lawsuit for Undisclosed Amount Against Child Welfare Agencies Responsible for Not Revealing Prior Abuse History in Foster Care. The adoptive parents of two Jacksonville area children ffiled suit in Duval County, FL on behalf of themselves and their adopted children against child welfare agencies for negligence and wrongful adoption. The suit claimed that the agencies were negligent in licensing and re-licensing a foster parent who had her own children removed from her due to abuse and had a criminal history for child abuse. The minor Plaintiffs were subsequently severely physically, emotionally and sexually abused by this foster parent and suffer from varying behavioral issues and mental health diagnoses, including Reactive Attachment Disorder. The children’s mental health and behavioral issues were not disclosed to the adoptive parents prior to the adoption. The case resolved for an undisclosed amount, which was placed into two special needs trusts so the children can receive the extensive therapeutic treatment they need for a lifetime.
- Lawsuit Filed in the Middle District of Florida Against Private Child Welfare Providers and Individual Employees On Behalf of The Estate of a Seventeen-Year-Old Foster Child Who Died While She Was On Runaway. The suit brought wrongful death and survival claims under state law causes of action and civil rights violations alleging the defendants allowed the child’s mental health to deteriorate while in foster care and encouraged her to run away. The case resolved for an undisclosed amount. Smith v. Beasley, 775 F. Supp. 2d 1344 (M.D. Fla. 2011)
- Civil Rights Case Paves the Way For Many Other Children To Recover For Their Injuries. In 2003, One-year -ld Latiana Hamilton was drowned in a bathtub, and her three-year-old brother was horribly abused by foster mother Lena Cumberbatch with a belt and ironing cord. Justice for Kids attorney Howard Talenfeld was instrumental in filing civil rights complaints for her and her brother, paving the way for many other children to recover for their injuries. Substantial recoveries were made on behalf of these children. Ray v. Foltz, 370 F.3rd1079 (11 Cir. 2004) Read more from The Ledger and www.scholar.google.com/, www.scholar.google.com/
- Several Children In Foster Care Were Placed and Allowed To Be With Children Who Were Sexually Aggressive and Known Perpetrators of Sexual Abuse. Justice for Kids Business Unit Leader Howard Talenfeld served asthe lead counsel in A.L. v. Foltz, 551 F.3rd 1227 (11 Cir. 2008), the federal court precedent that established the right of children not to be sexually victimized. After a successful appeal, this case resolved for $1.725 million.
- Firm Sues Florida Dept. of Children & Families, Settles Negligence Case for $14.26 Million. Child abuse attorney Howard Talenfeld filed a civil rights complaint in federal court on behalf of 19 children against nine Florida Department of Children and Families employees who were responsible for the children’s adoption and/or investigations of the abuse allegations. The children were allowed to be adopted and lived in various locations with her between Orlando, FL and Gainesville, FL even though there had been a prior verified abuse report against the mother. The children were victims of bizarre punishments and beatings throughout their childhood. The State of Florida settled all of the Plaintiffs’ claims, including a negligence claim in Alachua County against DCF, for a total of $14.26 million. Read the case here
- Lawsuit For Failure To Protect Child From Multiple Incidents of Child-On-Child Sexual Abuse By Known Sexual Predator Living in the Same Group Home. This lawsuit was filed in Orange County, FL on behalf of a former foster child from Jacksonville against an agency that owned and operated a therapeutic group home for failure to protect the then 13-year-old from multiple incidents of child-on-child sexual abuse by a 17-year-old known sexual predator living in the same group home. The case resolved for an undisclosed amount.
- Settlement for Female College Student Hazed By Student Athletes. At a college in Northeast Florida, Justice for Kids attorneys represented a female student who was sexually assaulted, ostracized and bullied by members of an athletic team. The client did not complete final exams, her education was delayed, her grade point average dropped significantly, and she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. Attorneys for Justice for Kids investigated and learned that there had been a large numbers of other students who had been sexually assaulted on this campus and that administrators had tolerated these acts. After asserting her Title IX federal claim, this case settled for an undisclosed amount, while the student was able restore her educational record and to transfer to another college.