A House committee has approved a bill that will pay out part of a settlement involved in a high-profile case surrounding the death of a 10-year-old girl and near death of her twin brother. With the approval of the bill, known as HB 6523, $3.75 million of the $5 million that the Florida Department of Children and Families agreed to pay “to the estate of Nubia Barahona and to Victor Barahona” will be paid out. The other $1.25 million has already been paid.
But what happened to the girl and her brother to warrant such a settlement? Well, it started when the twins were “placed as foster children in the home of Jorge and Carmen Barahona and were later adopted by the couple.” Tragically, “Nubia Barahona’s decomposing body was found in February 2011 in the bed of her father’s pickup truck while Victor Barahona was convulsing in the truck,” according to authorities. Turns out that both children had “been doused with toxic chemicals.”
As a result of Nubia’s death and the severe abuse Victor suffered, many, including a “special master’s report recommending approval of the claim,” pointed the finger of blame at the Department of Children and Families “for not helping prevent abuse of the children.”
In fact, Special Master Parker Aziz said in a statement:
“In sum, the cumulative effect of the evidence shows that DCF should have known the twins were being abused and failed to prevent the situation from continuing. DCF employees performed their tasks in a mere perfunctory fashion, filling out forms and bubbling in boxes without adequate critical thinking and analysis of the data they were collecting. The department and its employees had a duty and breached that duty.”
In response to the passing of HB 6523, bill sponsor Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, said “God bless our children. May this never happen again.”