Florida failing neglected and abused children, report says

A nationwide study of state policies governing legal proceedings for  abused and neglected children resulted in an “F” for Florida and nine  other states. (My thoughts:  This is one of the toughest states on sex offenders, yet FAILS to protect their children from abuse and neglect!  Start spending your time, effort and taxpayer money to protect the children from real harm instead of from sex offenders, which have one of the lowest recidivisim rates, other than murderers.)

The report titled A Child‘s Right to Counsel: A National Report Card on Legal Representation  for Abused and Neglected Children  was released today by First Star, a  national organization working to  improve the lives of abused and  neglected children, and the Children’s  Advocacy Institute at the University of  San Diego Law School. It graded  each state and the District of  Columbia on dependency court procedures  and the type of legal representation children received.

Florida received low marks in several categories because state law  does not require an attorney to be appointed to represent children in  dependency proceedings. The state’s guardian ad litem program allows  non-attorneys to service in this capacity. Florida scored a 55 out of  100 possible points.

Click here to Download the Florida Report

  • 3 states earned A+’s: Connecticut, Massachusetts and  Oklahoma;
  • 12 states earned A’s: Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland,   Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, and  West  Virginia;
  • 11 states earned B’s: Arkansas, California, District of  Columbia,  Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island,   Tennessee, Virginia, and Wyoming
  • 9 states earned C’s: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado,  Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Wisconsin
  • 6 states earned D’s: Alaska, Georgia, Illinois,  Kentucky, Nevada, and South Carolina
  • 10 states earned F’s: Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho,  Indiana, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Washington

The two organizations are hopeful that the report leads to stronger federal and state laws, according to a news release.

“In  the U.S., the right to counsel is guaranteed to everyone accused  of breaking the  law – including parents and other caregivers accused  of child abuse and  neglect,” said Elissa T. Garr, Executive Director of  First Star. “Yet the abused  and neglected children in these cases, who  are the least able to advocate for  themselves, are not guaranteed  counsel. It is tragic that in many states across  the country, when  judicial decisions are being made that will impact every facet  of these  children’s lives, the right to counsel is not guaranteed to the victims   of that abuse and neglect.”

Source:  http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/content/florida-failing-neglected-and-abused-children-report-says

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