BOSTON (AP) — A union representing social workers in Massachusetts is criticizing the firings of a caseworker and supervisor in connection with the case of a missing 5-year-old boy in Fitchburg.
A spokesman for SEIU Local 509 says Department of Children & Families Commissioner Olga Roche is using the workers as scapegoats to deflect attention from problems caused by soaring caseloads at the agency.
Investigators say the boy, Jeremiah Oliver, was last seen by relatives in September but police only learned recently that he was missing. The boy’s mother and her boyfriend face charges.
Roche cited a ‘‘serious failure’’ by the social worker and supervisor assigned to the boy’s family.
The union spokesman, Jason Stephany, said in a statement that Roche prefers ‘‘finger-pointing’’ to accepting responsibility for the caseload issues.