Jacqui Colyer Resigns as Regional Head of DCF Months After Barahona Murder

Categories: News
Jacqui Colyer, the Miami regional director for the Department of Children and Families, has resigned just a little over two years since taking the job. Her department and handling of the job came under fire after the body of 10-year-old Nubia Barahona was found stuffed in a bag, covered in chemical burns and bruises, in the back of her adoptive father's pick-up truck. Subsequent investigations revealed there were plenty of red flags suggesting abuse at the Barahona home, yet the department never took action until it was too late.

Colyer was appointed to the job back in February of 2009 by Gov. Charlie Crist's DCF secretary.

"We're pleased to have Jacqui join our dedicated team of public servants," said DCF George H. Secretary Sheldon. "I'm confident that her well-rooted ties in the community, experience, history of volunteerism and dedication to improving the quality of life for our families will be a great asset to the Department and our clients."

She had previously worked for the non-profit Our Kids Inc., but her qualifications to lead the DCF in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties were always under question.

Her leadership came under fire after the tragic Barahona death, a murder many feel could have been avoided if her department did its job correctly and removed Nubia and her twin brother from the Barahona home after numerous red flags.

Though the DCF received an anonymous tip that Nubia Barahona and her twin brother were being bound and locked in a bathroom, the department never followed up on the tip or notified police during the investigation. In fact, a DCF investigator likely visited the home the same day Jorge Barahona beat his daughter to death. But despite numerous tips and warnings, DCF had decided there were "no safety threats present at this time."

Coyler was placed on probation after the investigation but now has officially resigned.

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The biggest single blunder DCF Secretary David Wilkins made in response to the Barahona tragedy may now be coming back to haunt him – and more important, coming back to harm the vulnerable children of Miami.

 Jacqui Colyer did an outstanding job of improving a troubled region.  During her time as regional director entries into foster care declined but there was no increase in reabuse of children “known to the system” – the standard federal measure of child safety.  In other words, Colyer spared hundreds of children the trauma of needless foster care without compromising safety.    But, of course, any time you reduce the removal of children you make powerful enemies – presumably those are the people who questioned her “qualifications” – unless it’s just Mr. Munzenreider who’d always questioned her qualifications, since he does absolutely nothing to attribute this statement. The resignation comes five months after Wilkins “reprimanded” Colyer for -- well, for what exactly?  Apparently for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There is no large child welfare system anywhere in America that doesn’t have horrible tragedies - including cases “known to the system” with lots of “red flags.” If that’s how administrators are to be judged, then you might as well fire all of them, and all of their successors, right now. There’s more on our Blog, www.heraldvsfacts.blogspot.comRichard WexlerExecutive DirectorNational Coalition for Child Protection Reformwww.nccpr.org / www.heraldvsfacts.blogspot.com

james bond
james bond

I know Ms. Colyer from a perspective of a DCF employee, during her tenure as the Head of the Department in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, the moral of the Department went to is lowest in years, her administrative decisions were a fiasco. I saw her true colors during the Haitian Crisis, while we were working at MIA, her attitude and demenor was a shock to some of the DCF workers, one is thee image to the media and the other her true personality. Only I said, "it was about time". We need a true leader, a solid manager with a background in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health field for Childres and Adults.We are asking the Secretary and the Governor to bring the rigth person for the job.

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