CAPE CORAL, Fla. - More than two months after a Cape Coral baby died from suffocation, the Department of Children and Families admits it made mistakes in the case.
Now, the agency is taking one tragic case and working to prevent any more from unraveling in the same way.
According to documents obtained by our partners at the News-Press, DCF is analyzing the actions its case workers took in handling the case of 1-year-old Fernanado Barahona. They admit to two mistakes: allowing a man who potentially injured the child to have a supervised visit and also, allowing him to move back into the home under the mother's supervision.
It all started on May 17th when Barahona was airlifted to the hospital with suspicious skull fractures. June 3rd, he died. DCF is looking closely at what happened in-between those two dates. Investigators said the mother's boyfriend, Ronald Midkiff, was the only adult home with the little boy when he was hurt in May. Afterward, Barahona was allowed to stay with his mother while Midkiff was ordered to move out.
May 31st, Midkiff was allowed back into the home under the mother's supervision. DCF planned to provide Midkiff with anger management, a mental health assessment as well as counseling for the family. It was supposed to start June 3rd, the day Barahona died.
DCF Regional Managing Director Mike Carroll said, "DCF should have worked more closely with law enforcement and Children's Legal Services to reach better informed decisions... our decision-making has to be more informed, and it should, as we get better, become more consistent."
Barahona's death was ruled a homicide.
Midkiff has never been charged with anything in relation to the case. Cape Coral Police closed the criminal case in may due to lack of evidence that Midkiff caused the child's injuries. However, police re-opened the investigation when the child died.
We went back to the family's home Friday night but neighbors say they've moved out.