• CWLA recommends changes for DCF in report


    BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- An interim report by the Child Welfare League of America has recommended some changes for the Department of Children and Families, but doesn't say if Commissioner Olga Roche should be fired.

    The report was released by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and addresses staffing levels, caseloads and technology, among other issues. CWLA spokeswoman Linda Spears tells Fox 25 Political Reporter Sharman Sacchetti that firing can be a "quick fix," and that the administration "should hold off on making any decisions" until the final report comes out in May. Both Sec. of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz and Governor Deval Patrick say Roche continues to have their support. Roche was not at a press conference held Thursday by Polanowicz, so Sacchetti asked where she was. Polanowicz said that she was "at the department." Sacchetti pressed him on that, saying that Roche is the face of the agency and asked why she wouldn't go in front of the cameras.

    Polanowicz replied, "It's a good question. If you recall, the governor and I had asked Child Welfare League for this report, this review."

    Fox 25 has asked repeatedly for an interview with Roche, but we are told she is not available.

    The report also failed to mention 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver, the missing Fitchburg boy whose tragic and horrifying case sparked the review.

    The agency is making some changes. It has added 90-staffers, and after the supplemental budget goes through in July, an additional 177-staffers. New technology, like 60-tablets, are set to be rolled out within a week.

    Sacchetti asked Polanowicz about accountability, which seemed to be at the root of what happened in the Oliver case.

    "We have got to drive accountability through the organization because we cannot have a system where the checkers are checking on the checkers," Polanowicz said in response.

    The union tells us it hopes the scope of the full review goes deep enough.

    "This is a progress report. That's different from your final grade," Jason Stephany, spokesman at SEIU said. "I think we're going to see a lot more coming out in the coming months."

    There is also a State House investigation underway.

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