House Speaker Robert DeLeo has urged the head of the Department of Children and Families Commissioner Olga Roche to resign after two more children under the agency’s care died this past week, according to multiple reports.
“What we’re seeing here can’t be corrected with a budget amendment,” DeLeo said at a State House press conference.
DeLeo pointed out the death of a newborn in Grafton as an example of what he said was the agency’s “mismanagement” of cases. Police faxed a complaint on the wellbeing of a Grafton newborn a week before her death but the document went unnoticed on the fax machine by state social workers, the Boston Globe reported.
On Saturday, a 16-day-old Fitchburg infant died after her family missed a scheduled home visit from the DCF, authorities said.
Both cases are still under investigation.
These deaths follow the high-profile case of 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver, who vanished for nearly a year while under DCF care. The ongoing investigation revealed that caseworkers failed to conduct home visits. Jeremiah’s body was found April 18 near a wooded area beside Interstate 190 in Sterling, the Globe reported.
“Quite frankly, I’m angered, I’m very much angered to see this continuing to happen,” DeLeo said. “It shows to me complete mismanagement on behalf of DCF. We have to take strong action. We can’t wait until the end of the year. We can’t wait for a new governor.”