In 2011, Nubia Barahona, an 11-year old girl, was found brutally murdered after being abused by her adopted father. Her body was left to be found in a garbage bag in the back of her adopted father’s pickup truck. David Bazerman was one of the many who saw this story unfold and was so moved by the tragedy he knew he had to help in some way. Bazerman, today’s Daily Point of Light Award winner, made it his mission to defend the legal right of unrepresented children in Broward County, Florida.
The same year Nubia’s tragedy occurred, Bazerman began the Tracey McPharlin Dependency Project. The project honors the lives of Nubia and Tracey McPharlin, a Broward County Bar member and former chair of the Florida Bar Public Interest Law Section whose career had a profound and lasting impact on the lives of the many children she served individually through her pro bono work.
Florida is one of few states that do not provide representation for children who are classified as dependents. Children, the subjects of Juvenile Dependency Court proceedings, are the only parties who are not provided with representation. This, of course, leaves room for many to fall into a cycle of abuse without any assistance to escape. Bazerman, having an extensive history of defending the rights of abuse, neglected and abandoned youth, understood the plight the children were facing.
With the memories of Nubia and McPharlin to fuel them, the Tracey McPharlin Dependency Project serves newborns to children 19 years of age who are currently in or at-risk of entering the child welfare system. These children have legal issues involving mental health and medical problems, assistance with transitioning out of foster care, denial of needed social and educational services and many other issues of the Juvenile Court.
Over the course of the last four years David has engaged many of his local colleagues and has successfully expanded pro bono representation to at risk dependent children of Broward County, Florida.
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