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Whitney Untiedt Aids Reform for Immigrant Children Seeking Dependency in Florida Courts
April 20, 2017
In April, the Florida Supreme Court announced its opinion in B.R.C.M. v. Department of Children and Families, an appeal involving an immigrant child who had filed a petition for dependency, holding that trial courts can't deny an immigrant's request for state protection without a hearing on the merits of the petition. Florida judges, particularly in Miami-Dade County, have seen a flood of dependency petitions from children seeking permanent U.S. residency. Akerman's Director of Pro Bono Initiatives, Whitney Untiedt, was part of a collaborative team of advocates — pro bono attorneys, law professors and legal services lawyers — that worked tirelessly to reform the way immigrant children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected are treated by Florida's court system. The team co-authored an amicus brief in support of the child, which you can view here. The resulting opinion now ensures that all children seeking state protection receive due process.

Untiedt discusses the significance of this outcome in an article from the Daily Business Review titled, "Court: Immigration Agenda Not Part of Child Dependency Review."

The publication wrote, "'Before [a dependency] claim is ruled on, the child has the due process procedural right to have their claims heard,' said Miami attorney Whitney Untiedt of Akerman, who worked with Perlmutter on an amicus brief on behalf of Florida's Children First. 'This opinion is not just the right opinion, but it upholds justice in our uniquely American way.'"

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