As an attorney, Gloria W. Fletcher was the staunchest advocate for her clients. As a champion for the children, she was one of Florida’s great child advocates. Though a formidable, tenacious criminal defense attorney for her clients, including many law enforcement personnel, Gloria arguably had her greatest impact on the lives of children.
From the streets of Gainesville, to the federal and state courts of Florida, to the halls of the Florida Legislature and even the governor’s office, she was a force to be reckoned with when arguing on behalf of the state’s neediest children. That was where many knew her best. With her passing this week, that’s where she’ll be missed most.
Gloria for years served as Vice President and an active board member of Florida’s Children First, a statewide child advocacy organization, where she pressed for foster children to have attorneys. With her relationships in the capital and her unwillingness to take “No” for an answer, she pursued key legislation from sponsors through committees straight to the governor’s desk.
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From its most vulnerable citizens – including foster care and abused children, to criminal defendants in search of justice, North Central Florida’s people needs staunch advocates for their rights and trial attorneys skilled in the pursuit of justice. They need a resource where they can learn about news that can affect and improve their situations or cases, and the people out there striving to help. They need a one-stop site to keep them informed – and to assure them they have an ally in their cause.
That’s why we’ve created this site and blog. Gloria W. Fletcher, P.A., is North Central Florida’s advocate for both vulnerable citizens and defendants facing criminal charges. We’ve worked in and around Gainesville for more than 25 years. We know how the court system, both civil and criminal, works. We’re respected trial attorneys who aggressively pursue our clients’ cases and protect their rights.
Turn to this site for news, reviews, case updates and insights on issues surrounding foster care, social services, dependency or disability cases, as well as cases facing the Florida Department of Children & Family Services and its agencies. You’ll also read about cases involving rights of foster children to be safe from harm in care, their right to medical and psychological care and disability benefits, their rights to a suitable education, and their rights as they travel the road to independence.
Check back often. If you have topics for consideration or have an issue or case you’d like to discuss, please contact us. Gloria W. Fletcher, P.A., is your advocate.
The drowning death of Phoebe Jonchuck, who allegedly was thrown into Tampa Bay by her mentally ill father, caused Florida’s child advocates and attorneys who fight for abused children, as well as the Florida Department of Children and Families itself, to explore what went wrong. Now, legislators want answers, too.
Following her death on January 7, Florida DCF dispatched its Critical Incident Rapid Response Team (CIRRT) to investigate the incident. The report revealed that calls to the state’s child abuse hotline went ignored. Red flags across the board, including warnings reportedly from father John Jonchuck’s attorney and others who warned of his mental state, went unnoticed. Even a history of family incidents known to DCF officials didn’t set off alarms or trigger intervention by child protective services.
“The Jonchuck family struggled with (John Jonchuck’s) mental health issues … self-injurious behaviors and delinquency during his teen years, until he went to live with family friends at age 17 in 2006,” the CIRRT report said. “During his childhood, the family was reported to the department on four separate occasions, with all investigations resulting in no verified findings of maltreatments.”
The deaths of Phoebe Jonchuck, the 5-year-old girl who police say was tossed to her death in Tampa Bay by her father, and the North Florida shootings last year by Donald Spirit of his daughter and her six children, still haunt child welfare advocates and child abuse attorneys. The Florida Legislature has helped fund and bring about reforms that the Florida Department of Children and Families implemented in the aftermath of these two incidents. But more reforms are needed.
In a recent letter to the Gainesville Sun, Florida child abuse and foster child attorney Gloria Fletcher discussed how any child known to be at risk by a family member, yet harmed or killed, is one child too many.
What we’ve learned is that the Department of Children and Families has made great strides toward improving the system. But the journey is not yet complete.
Florida child welfare officials were in Tallahassee this week explaining their new process for tabulating and reporting the deaths of at-risk children under the watch of the Florida Department of Children and Families. While Legislators questioned administrators about the processes used in reporting on the deaths, the question should focus on the kids.
It should always be about the kids.
In the wake of the drowning death of Phoebe Jonchuck, who police allege was tossed into Tampa Bay by her father, the death of even one more child known to be at risk by the DCF is one child too many.
Guardians, caregivers or attorneys and lawyers who work with or advocate for children who have been victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse, rape or emotional harm while in foster care, protective services or other state-run agencies or their contracted community based care providers, know these kids are society’s most vulnerable citizens. They often find themselves in foster homes or protective services through no fault of their own. Worse still, they have no voice in the system.
In this interview with the Attorney Talk Radio Show, child advocacy lawyer Gloria W. Fletcher, who also practices criminal defense law for defendants accused of crimes throughout Gainesville, Ocala and North Florida, discusses how protecting the rights of Gainesville, Alachua County and North Central Florida children today is an unfortunate need in today’s world. It’s also her mission.
When someone charged with a crime arrives in the offices of Gainesville law firm of Gloria W. Fletcher PA, they can be charged with any one of 300 different criminal charges – from battery to DUI. Yet each criminal defendant arrested or accused of a crime seeks a common result: exoneration, acquittal or dropping of charges by the prosecutor or the court system.
For that reason, it’s key to have a legal team with experience to ensure your reputation and freedom stay intact.
In this interview with Attorney Talk Radio, North Central Florida criminal defense attorney Gloria W. Fletcher discusses the reasons she pursued criminal defense law, how her work in the State Attorney’s office gave her the essential experience to help her clients, and how her respected team of attorneys today bring have experience and a list of victories in both state and federal courts.
In short, she wanted “to create a level playing field for those less fortunate.”
To a North Florida defendant charged with a crime or otherwise in need of a criminal defense attorney, or the family or guardians of a child who has suffered physical abuse, or who has been sexually abused, or otherwise has been harmed while under the watch of state child services authorities or their contracted community based service providers, an attorney or lawyer is more than a legal representative. It’s often the last hope for exoneration or justice under the law.
With a history in child care issues, child abuse, mental health and state Health and Rehabilitative Services, the legal team at Gloria W. Fletcher, P.A. strives to uphold our shared personal values and our professional commitment to each client with every case and every interaction.
What are those values, and how does Gainesville attorney Gloria W. Fletcher seek to infuse those beliefs in the law firm she founded?
In this recent interview on the Attorney Talk Radio Show, Ms. Fletcher discusses her deeply held beliefs in justice, the legal system and why doing what’s right for criminal defendants and children harmed by the child welfare system isn’t just good business. It’s the right thing to do.
“These values are important to us and have set the foundation for our law firm. Although we are strongly committed to our clients, we also uphold our promises to the community and to the legal system. Each important in its own right, together these three elements have helped us grow into the reputable law firm that we are today.”
Whether in Gainesville, Jacksonville, across North Central Florida or around the state, Florida’s Children First’s mission is to be the state’s premier nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting foster children and other at-risk youth. FCF this month recognized South Florida individuals for their tireless efforts to advocate for the state’s most vulnerable citizens at its annual Miami Reception at the Sabadell Financial Center on Dec. 11, 2014.
Dozens of South Florida’s prominent business and community leaders, as well as citizens concerned about the future of Florida’s children, especially abused, abandoned and neglected children and youth, were in attendance.
This year, Rep. Erik Fresen, was named as Champion of Children’s Rights for his groundbreaking legislation that will provide attorneys the right to protect dependent children with disabilities who are in legal custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). He was also honored and for his continued fight for the rights of children in foster care. Rep. Fresen was the House sponsor for the Attorneys for Dependent Children with Special Needs bill (HB 561). This bill is the culmination of many years of advocacy for representation for children and has been the core mission of Florida’s Children First since its inception.
It’s the holiday season. By this time, you’ve probably heard about charities seeking contributions – tax deductible, they’ve no doubt reminded you. So many charities play an important role in society. They feed the homeless, help families in need or protect the veterans who gave so much protecting us. For society’s downtrodden and less fortunate than others, these groups lend such strong voices.
But what about the smallest, quietest of voices in our community, the ones that are hardest to hear but often have the loudest stories to tell?
This holiday season, as we all rejoice with family and friends, think about the children in our community who have little or nothing to celebrate. Their faces and stories are everywhere. They may be foster children, whose new families were strangers months or even weeks ago. They’re neglected children who have no safe place to turn in times of turmoil. They’re the physically and sexually abused, who not only face hard times today, but probably will endure a lifetime of counseling.
Florida foster child attorneys and advocates for at-risk children in Jacksonville and throughout North Florida this month celebrated Jacksonville’s finest children’s advocates and outstanding youth advocates at the Jacksonville Child Advocacy Awards & Reception. The event was held on November 6.
The event supported Florida’s Children First, Inc. (FCF), the leading state-wide advocacy organization for children in the child welfare system. FCF does amazing work statewide and when advocates learn about FCF’s accomplishments, they often become part of making a substantial, positive change for Florida’s foster kids. View the event photo gallery.