• More fallout in DCF scandal


    BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- A Department of Children and Families social worker and a supervisor were fired in the case of a missing Fitchburg boy. However, now Area Program Manager Ana Melendez, who oversees the supervisor, has now been reassigned for the duration of the investigation into the Oliver case, Fox 25 first reported.

    We've also learned she is friends with the DCF commissioner, but it's unclear how close of a friendship it is.

    All of it is raising questions about why more people aren't being held accountable.

    In a statement, a spokesman for DCF said, "As is customary during a review, the area program manager has been reassigned for the duration of the investigation into the Oliver case. Any determination as to the future of this or any other employee will be made after the conclusion of the full and transparent investigation ordered by the governor."

    Police are treating the case of missing 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver of Fitchburg as a potential homicide.

    The child's mother, Elsa Oliver and her boyfriend, Alberto Sierra are charged in connection with his disappearance.

    Sierra is accused of viciously abusing Elsa, Jeremiah and his two siblings. The family had been involved with DCF starting in September of 2011.

    And what's unbelievable, is that the social worker who was fired, wanted to "close out" this case last month, and release the family from state oversight altogether.

    She hadn't checked in with the family since May, and was not performing regular monthly visits. So Fox 25 Political Reporter Sharman Sacchetti asked Governor Deval Patrick if more should be done, and if the DCF commissioner should resign. He said he didn't think she should.

    "Well, there's no reason why she should. She's doing her job. Her job right now is to get to the bottom of what happened. I'm not satisfied we have done that yet, that I think the accountability for the social worker and the social worker's supervisor was swift and certain, but there's still some questions I have, and more to the point that she has, about whether there are any patterns or about whether the responsibility goes higher," he said.

    Remember the child advocate is a position that is appointed by Patrick.

    And while a past review by DCF this year ended with 16 children being removed from their homes, it never flagged Jeremiah's case.

    Republican Minority Leader Bradley Jones tells us he'd like to see lawmakers on Beacon Hill take a good look at the system, and at this point, doesn't believe any action should be ruled out.

    "The resignation of the commissioner is certainly an option that should remain out there. This isn't the only case that's happened in recent days, weeks, that would paint DCF in a bad light, and one of the things we talked about is this call for some sort of independent investigation DCF shouldn't be looking at themselves alone," he said.

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