Miami social worker wants job back after child dies

From: NBC Miami

The Department of Children and Families employee who was assigned to investigate reports of child abuse at the Barahona home is fighting to get her job back.

DCF fired Andrea Fleary for what they called poor performance and negligence, and now she’s speaking out about the case.

WATCH COVERAGE OF THIS CASE HERE
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“I didn’t drop the ball along the way,” Fleary told NBC Miami Thursday. “If there was anything that I could have done, it would have been done.”

Just days after being assigned to the case, 10-year-old Nubia Barahona was found dead in the back of her adoptive father’s truck. Her twin brother Victor was critically injured.

It was a tragedy that Fleary says she didn’t see coming.

“No red flags, I didn’t have any red flags at that point in time,” she said.

As a result of one of the worst cases of abuse in the State, DCF went on record trying to fix its failures, starting with the dismissal of three child protection investigators, which included Fleary.

But Fleary says she followed protocol and was wrongfully terminated. “I had no reason to believe that these children were being abused,” said Fleary.

Fleary says that’s why during the weekend, her days off, she didn’t see the need to check on the twins’ welfare, and she couldn’t hand it off to another case worker.

“We do not have any procedures in place that would take on my responsibilities,” said Fleary. “The case was assigned to me and it was solely my responsibility.”

Fleary’s attorney claims she was a scapegoat. And she adds the mother of the twins, Carmen Barahona, lied to her saying the twins lived with their father Jorge Barahona.

Fleary said she wants to go back to the agency where she’s worked for over 20 years.

“I can’t be responsible for the actions of someone else,” said Fleary. ” I didn’t do anything to hurt these kids, and my record should show that.”

To read more stories from NBC Miami, click here.