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Senator evokes Barahona case in appreciation for kids’ guardian ad litem

by Dara Kam | March 8th, 2011

State Sen. Ronda Storms paid homage on the Senate floor to a guardian ad litem whose advice was ignored in the adoption of two children, one now dead and the other facing years of rehab.

orge and Carmen Barahona have been charged with the murder of 10-year-old Nubia, found dead in a plastic bag in the bag of her father’s truck in West Palm Beach. Her twin brother Victor is recovering from chemical burns.

The children’s court-appointed lawyer Paul Neumann expressed reservations when the Barahona’s adopted the twins, Storms said without naming the attorney as she introduced a resolution honoring the state’s guardians ad litem, lawyers who work for free to represent abused and neglected children.

Storms began by recalling reports of the grim discovery of Nubia Barahona’s body.

“Maybe you looked away. Maybe you said, ‘Oh no don’t tell me. I don’t want to hear it. I can’t hear it.’ Maybe you can’t hear it and it hurts your heart more than we can stand,” said Storms, R-Valrico, chairwoman of the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee.

“The guardian ad litem in that case, that stood for those little children, and although the guardian ad litem was not heard in that case, although the recommendations were not followed, that guardian ad litem was a watchman on the wall,” she said.

“All of these volunteers, these watch people on the wall, to say for these little people, these little bruised and broken and hurt people, they stand there. And they do what you and I can’t do. Because when we see it on the news, we can’t finish our supper. We can’t listen to it. We can’t read about it. But they do,” Storms said.

The resolution (SB 1134) was approved unanimously.

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8 Responses to “Senator evokes Barahona case in appreciation for kids’ guardian ad litem”

  1. half pint Says:


  2. Jerry McKay Says:

    This makes me so very sick that children in this country are enduring horrible abuses due to OUR lack of concern and thoroughness in our jobs. I work with children and know how vunerable and innocent they are. We as parents, educators and adults MUST take responsibility for our young and innocent!

  3. Jerry McKay Says:

    We need to intervene when we see abusive situation.. These are all our children and we are helping and letting the abusers know we are watching and we will report them!


    This case illustrates the way that the standard operating procedure of DCF is harmful to children, fractures families, and costs taxpayers millions of dollars. Out of state relatives wanted these children, but were turned down in favor of the foster family. I am currently involved in a similar case with DCF. Once again, out of state relatives and myself, the adoptive mother of a sibling, have been turned down in favor of the foster family. Relatives and non-relative caregivers receive no financial help from the state , so that saves taxpayer money that instead is given to random foster homes with no relationship to the children. DCF tells parties interested in adoption to wait until the case proceeds to adoption, but by then the children are bonded with the foster family so they favor them. It is a catch 22 situation that results in further splitting up of families, trauma to everyone involved, and great expense to taxpayers. Foster families receive monthly stipends, free medical care, free college tuition, free legal expenses, etc. all of which cost millions of taxpayer dollars, when relatives and nonrelative caregivers often want the children and would cost taxpayers nothing. I would be happy to show the details of my case to further illustrate my point.

  5. Karen Tyree Says:

    I am a volunteer GAL and realize that we do make such a difference in a child’s life. It is so important that our voice is heard and LISTENED to in court and when child placement decisions are made. If only the GAL in the Barahona case had been listened to. It is important that the public knows about our roles as volunteers and don’t allow the funding and budget cuts to affect our valuable work..if we can change the life of just one child we will leave this world a better place.

  6. Richard Starita Says:

    At last, the PB POST has recognized the Guardian Ad Litem program– unlike the Miami Herald who has published volumes of reports on the DCF failures. I have been a GAL volunteer for over 4 years. The Barahona case would not have occurred in our district. We don’t have our hands tied and aren’t afraid to speak out in these cases.

  7. Karen Tyree Says:

    Yes,it really does make a difference depending on the district you are in and if you make yourself heard. When speaking up for a child-if no one is listening then speak louder! Thank you PB Post for recognizing the Guardian Ad Litem Program as Richard says.

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