January 1, 2005 Regular News Donations allow creation of Children’s Rights Fund Donations allow creation of Children’s Rights Fund Florida’s Children First raised $145,000 during a recent awards ceremony and reception at Mellon Bank in Miami.Doug and Amy Halsey donated $50,000 which was matched by his law firm White & Case. FCF will use the $100,000 to create a Children’s Rights Fund. United Automobile Insurance Group of North Miami Beach followed with the next largest corporate gift of $25,000.“There is such a huge need for good, quality legal representation of the most vulnerable children in our foster care system,” said FCF President Howard Talenfeld. “The money raised in Miami allows us to further our mission of protecting the legal rights of these youngsters and help guide them to more promising futures.”The Children’s Rights Fund will cover court costs and expert witness fees in cases brought on behalf of children in state custody. White & Case lawyers have agreed to donate their legal services on a pro bono basis, taking on some of the most difficult cases involving children in foster care.“There are 46,000 children in foster care statewide, and more than 10 percent of them reside in Miami-Dade County,” said Halsey who developed the idea for the Children’s Rights Fund. “In the foster care cases I have handled over the years, I have learned first-hand that children in Florida’s system frequently have their state and federal rights violated.”FCF also honored Sara Herald and Raynande Bouquette at the event. Herald served as acting district administrator for District 11 of the Department of Children and Families and was lauded for her public service work and efforts to support legislation that stabilizes placements for children seeking adoption in foster care. Bouquette is a foster child who graduated second in her class from Edison High School. Leaving her abusive home with her belongings in trash bags at age 13, Raynande struggled for five years to survive in an often chaotic foster care system. Despite hardships, she succeeded academically only to face homelessness upon turning 18 in the middle of her senior year. Bouncing from one friend’s home to another, she continued to stay in school and pursue her education.