• Gov. considers review of scandal-plagued DCF weeks after missing child case


    BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Governor Deval Patrick says he is only considering an independent review of the embattled state agency that seems to be making news every day because of mismanagement.

    It took weeks to get to this point, but now the governor is considering an independent review of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), while at the same time defending the department's Commissioner Olga Roche.

    The commissioner is under fire for how her agency dropped the ball in the Jeremiah Oliver case.

    The 5-year-old Fitchburg boy is missing and feared dead. His mother and her boyfriend have been charged in the case.

    Since then, new stories about DCF mismanagement have been surfacing almost daily.

    "I also understand that many people in the public want to hear from others than the administration," Patrick said. "So we're talking about that we may have something more to say about that soon."

    The latest controversy involves the Northbridge school superintendent, who wrote a letter to DCF saying that social workers in the Whitinsville office were not doing their jobs.

    Northbridge Superintendent Nancy Spitulnik reportedly complained that social workers refused to accept an abuse or neglect report of a child who had missed more than 75 days of school, that social workers had closed cases because parents had refused to cooperate, and that social workers waited until 13 abuse and neglect reports had been filed in a year before a student was taken out of the home.

    FOX 25 Political Reporter Sharman Sacchetti asked Patrick if the problem lies with accountability.

    "The allegations are different from fact, and as I say our job is to get the facts and to deal with those facts," he said in response.

    Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Martha Coakley wants to create a whole new agency to deal with the safety of children.

    Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker called for a rapid response report Wednesday; a full accounting of the work DCF is doing to be produced within the next seven days.

    Lawmakers are set to start holding hearings beginning on Jan. 23 at the State House.

    The Patrick administration plans to hire the Child Welfare League of America to review DCF, according to the State House News Service.

    Next Up: