• Gov. Patrick: DCF review to be completed by the spring


    BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Gov. Deval Patrick expects an independent review of the state's Department of Children and Families to be completed by the spring.

    The governor shared a brief timeline of the review during a press conference Monday. He has asked the Child Welfare League of America, which is conducting the review, to give him interim reviews while they continue their work. The CWLA has also been asked to complete the review in time for state lawmakers to take up any potential reforms.

    The news conference followed heated hearings on Beacon Hill, in which DCF Commissioner Olga Roche was grilled by lawmakers about her agency's handling of the Jeremiah Oliver case.

    Investigators fear the 5-year-old is dead. His family was involved with the agency.

    The child's mother and boyfriend have been charged in the case.

    Since Jeremiah's disappearance, several state leaders have spoken out against the DCF's handling of the Oliver family's case. Three agency employees were also fired.

    Patrick told reporters records suggest the social worker and supervisor assigned to the Oliver case not only failed to do what they were supposed to do, but also misrepresented it so it could not have been caught higher up.

    "To say that it is inexcusable to lose a child and then to lie about it and then to listen to folks who try to excuse it by saying they were too busy it just doesn't compute for me," said Gov. Patrick.

    The governor added that there is a separate, serious issue of the level of staffing at DCF. He mentioned some suggested changes, including new technology to make "real-time" data available to workers.

    Gov. Patrick met with CWLA officials prior to his press conference Monday. He said he spoke to the officials about other potential weaknesses in the department that the Oliver case points to. Officials plan to determine if those weaknesses are in fact "out of line" with best practices.

    The governor said he has emphasized the need for "actionable recommendations, not bureaucratic ones."

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