• Only 67 kids have been removed on Christmas Day in Florida (since 2007)

    A video of a child being forcibly removed from his mother has been in the news lately. It’s brutal to watch. A group of police officers and security guards yank at the one-year-old while another swings a taser wildly around the room at anyone who gets too close. The woman is on the floor. Her […]

  • How long do Florida appeals take?

    The First DCA published statistics on its caseloads and decisions. But notably (as appellate judges like to say), the length of time they take to resolve cases was not reported. It motivated me to update the How Long do Appeals Take tableau. The answer? Probably 120 to 170 days for a Dependency case, 260 to […]

  • Florida child welfare case law bonus post!

    The Florida Supreme Court issued a child welfare opinion, so it seemed like a good time to do a case law review. Here we go… What guardians ad litem don’t do The Florida Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether the appointment of a guardian ad litem on a dependency case tolled the statute of […]

  • It’s sort of official: Florida foster care is in a contraction period

    In July of this year, the Florida foster care system did something unseen since February 2014: it shrunk. For the first time in over 50 months, the year-over-year (YOY) change in out-of-home care numbers went down by 45 children. By August it was down 118, and the reports out this month for October show a contraction of […]

  • George Sheldon has passed away

    According to an email by Our Kids’ Director of Communications, George Sheldon passed away last night at Mount Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach. Our Kids reported back on August 6 that George had surgery. Their website has not been updated to reflect the news. Sad to learn of the news of George Sheldon’s passing today. He […]

  • Florida’s foster care system is racially biased, too

    The ACLU of Florida did a fantastic (and super data-heavy) study of racial and ethnic disparities in the Miami criminal justice system called Unequal Treatment. It’s amazing and you should check it out. The study reminded me that DCF publishes its own statistics on race, but they are buried in the Trend Report excel graveyard. […]

  • Is my appeal taking a long time? Probably not.

    Our office has been handling more appeals lately, and I am learning the rhythm of the process a little better each day. Appeals seem to go like this: (1) you lose or win at trial and feel really emotional about it, (2) you file your appeal or get noticed that someone filed one on you, […]

  • Florida Supreme Court: Sorry we’ve mucked up paternity law for 75 years

    The Florida Supreme Court released the long-awaited opinion in Simmonds v. Perkins, holding unanimously that the world of paternity has changed in the last 75 years and courts need to catch up. The case involves a man, Connor Perkins, who was the unquestionably biological father of a child. He raised the child with the mother, […]

  • A word to anyone considering caging a child in Florida

    I am very worried that the Trump administration’s asinine efforts to defend the indefensible are going to result in normalizing caging. I can imagine some misguided person, standing in partisan solidarity, caging their own child to prove it’s no big deal. I can imagine some group home worker seeing caging on the news and thinking […]

  • We oppose family separation at the border (and everywhere else)

    Our clinic has joined with 540 organizations across the country to oppose the forced separation of children and parents at the border. There is no legal, policy-based, or moral justification for harming children in an attempt to deter their parents from seeking asylum or entry into the United States. The Administration has options to keep […]

  • A belated Foster Care Month, Tampa is still on fire, and some actually interesting appellate cases.

    Here’s your periodic child welfare update. If you have any tips or suggestions, please let us know at rlatham@law.miami.edu. What’s going on in child welfare world Moving and shaking. Judge Ariana Fajardo Orshan has been nominated for US Attorney in Miami. News reports have called her a “divorce court judge” and a “family court judge.” […]

  • Sometimes you just have to sue. Believe kids. The adoption intervention battles continue. Here’s some child welfare news.

    The Miami Herald published a joint Op Ed by the next friends in the H.G. v. Carroll suit detailing why they (we) felt a lawsuit was both necessary and good. Kids in foster care aren’t getting what they need – that’s why we’re suing DCF. A lawsuit against Lutheran Services, Children’s Network of Southwest Florida, […]