Win for at-risk kids


Sometimes, doing the right thing at the right time requires unwavering commitment and unsung leadership. In what can be called nothing less than an impressive example of leadership in both houses, the Florida Legislature passed a bipartisan bill to provide attorneys to represent dependent, special-needs children in the legal custody of the Florida Department of Children & Families.

Under the legislation, $4.5 million will be provided to help ensure attorneys skilled in administrative and juvenile court proceedings, including attorneys from Florida’s Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program, are secured to represent children in these dependency cases.

The implications of non-representation were clear for these children, who often suffer medical or developmental disabilities. The DCF or other agencies, including the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Agency for Health Care Administration, and the Social Security Administration, had seasoned attorneys representing their sides in matters of applications for and denials of benefits, education or placement.

Meanwhile, unrepresented children often languished in state custody and programs long after their peers have been placed with permanent families.

The bill, which still awaits Gov. Scott’s signature, is a tremendous win. Among the leaders who helped advance this cause and secure the bill’s passage was Senator Robert Bradley (R-Orange Park). Well before this session began, Sen. Bradley had proven himself tol be a tireless advocate for Florida’s most vulnerable citizens.

He and his fellow legislators, including Senator Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) and Representative Erik Fresen (R-Miami), stand today as shining examples of the positive impact of dedicated child advocates.

Gloria W. Fletcher, vice president, Florida’s Children First, Gainesville

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  • Declare war on ISIS

    The ISIS army, along with the other Islamic militants, have declared war on us by killing our citizens and threatening to kill more.

  • Too much coverage

    With 24-hour coverage of a St. Louis suburb and the shooting of a resident by police, we must get another 24-hour news channel. The Middle East is exploding. American citizens are at risk from brutal terrorists.

  • Black leadership void

    According to the interviews I have seen on television, Ferguson is 70 percent black and has no black elected officials. There are only three black officers in the 60-member police force.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category