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DCF Holding Payment for Torture Case

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The Florida Department of Children and Families is challenging a nearly two-year-old agreement to pay $5 million for the brutal death of a 10-year-old South Florida girl and torture of her twin brother, the Miami Herald reports.

The new adoptive family of Victor Barahona is still trying to claim money approved in 2013, meant to help them deal with the long-term psychological damage to the boy, the Herald reports.

He and his sister Nubia were under DCF care as infants, and an internal DCF report found the system safety net failed the children, who were sexually abused, starved and tortured by their adoptive parents, the Herald reports. Victor was found covered in pesticide and near death, and laying next to his sister’s decomposing body along Interstate 95 in 2011, the Herald reports.

The payments in this case is tied to a sovereign immunity Florida law that limits state liability injury payments to $200,000, unless the amount is increased by the Legislature. But increasing the cap, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, doesn’t always translate to families receiving payments.

The Sun-Sentinel reports that 27 such claims that were sent to the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee in 2014 were never heard. Another 32 similar bills involving cases caused by government employees already have been filed for 2015, ranging from medical malpractice to traffic accidents, the Sun-Sentinel reports. 

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.