Grand Jury Admonishes Florida's Child Welfare System in Barahonas Case

Child welfare workers should have known Jorge Barahona was a monster, grand jury says.
Child welfare officials for Florida's Department of Children & Families failed to stop Jorge and Carmen Barahona from victimizing their adopted children Victor and Nubia, because state investigators don't treat foster parents with the same level of scrutiny applied to biological parents suspected of abusing their kids, according to the Miami-Dade Grand Jury.

Jorge and Carmen have been charged with murdering Nubia, as well as child abuse crimes against her and her 10-year-old twin brother Victor. Law enforcement officers discovered the girl's grisly remains in the back of Jorge's pesticide truck this past February 14 after a Road Ranger found him passed out on the ground near his vehicle. Victor was found unconscious from toxic pesticide fumes inside the truck's cabin.

"The sad reality is if the Barahonas had been the biological parents... a more thorough investigation would have been conducted following the various reports" to the child abuse hotline, grand jurors wrote. "Based on [their] history of being 'saviors,' no one wanted to recognize [Jorge and Carmen] for what they apparently were, monsters."

Read the full grand jury report below:

Final Report F 10

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What is most notable hereis the extent to which the Grand Jury contradicts the Miami Herald.  Almost from day one Herald reporter CarolMarbin Miller tried to use this tragedy to scapegoat Florida’s recent reforms,reforms independent evaluations found made children safer by reducing needlessentries into foster care.


That scapegoating requiredignoring the fact that Nubia and Victor were, in fact, taken from their realparents and the fact that loving relatives were refused custody, twice, toplace the children with the Barahonas.


Now the grand juryconfirms that it was bias in favor of adoptive parents, not a bias towardfamily preservation, that contributed to this tragedy.


And the Herald doesn’tknow what to do.  The first story, byDavid Ovalle, made this clear; it was much like the New Times account.  But once Miller took over and became leadauthor for the bigger story in today’s paper, the role of bias toward adoptiveparents was obscured and the key paragraph moved to the very bottom of a verylong story.


Full details are on theUpdates page of our website,


Richard Wexler

Executive Director

National Coalition forChild Protection Reform

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