State-Run Child Protection Services to Blame for Children’s Death?

BY CHRISTINA ANZIANO

 On February 16, 2011, prosecutors charged with felony aggravated child abuse, his ten year-old adopted son was the victim.  The charge came after West Palm Beach police officers discovered the boy in Barahona’s pickup truck on February 14, 2011.  When police arrived at the truck, they found the boy in the passenger seat; he was soaked with an unknown toxic chemical and had severe burns on his abdomen, buttocks, and upper thighs.  Barahona will likely be charged with murdering the boy’s twin sister, whose body was discovered in the back of the same pickup truck. 

During Barahona’s probable cause hearing, the court heard testimony from a Florida Department of Children & Family Services investigator.  The investigator testified that she visited the Barahona household on February 11th after DCF received a complaint the day before.  She testified that she did not see or speak to the children that day, but only spoke to the mother.  When asked why she did not return the following day to check on the children, the caseworker responded that she was not permitted to make visits on weekends. 

Barahona and his wife had two other adopted children in addition to the brother and sister.  The children have since been removed from the home and returned to the Florida foster care system.  DCF made several visits to the Barahona home since the four children were adopted.  There is evidence that the children were repeatedly abused.… <Read More>