• Gubernatorial candidates on DCF Commissioner Olga Roche

    (MyFoxBoston.com) -- On Monday, House Speaker Robert DeLeo called for the commissioner of the Department of Children and Families to resign. Numerous politicians including Senate President Therese Murray followed suit. FOX 25's Jim Polito asked gubernatorial candidates what their opinion was on the matter.

    Massachusetts Attorney General and Democratic candidate for governor Martha Coakley said she would like to see a change in leadership at DCF.

    "The confidence of the public in this agency is at a low, and I think it needs to be restored," she said. "It needs to be by new leadership as well as other changes."

    Democratic candidate Juliette Kayyem said she was outraged at the continuous bad news coming from DCF, but added that she is "a candidate that's going to defer to the governor...and the judgment that he has to make" regarding Roche's fate.

    Steve Grossman, the state's treasurer and Democratic candidate for governor said he has already called for Roche's resignation, and has not changed his mind.

    "I think DCF has lost credibility in the minds of the public."

    Republican candidate for governor Charlie Baker called for Roche's resignation a month ago, and said he would overhaul DCF with the aim of better transparency.

    Below are statements from other candidates:

    Joe Avellone, Democrat:

    "These latest deaths of children under the supervision of DCF are tragic and completely unacceptable.   We all have a responsibility to make sure that the most vulnerable of our children are safe under the care of DCF.  Relieving Commissioner Roche of her duties, alone, will not fix DCF.  We know now that serious issues have existed there for a long time, before her tenure.  But rapidly remaking the DCF will require new leadership to make significant changes.  I would urge the Commissioner to step aside and allow new management to take over now immediately."

    Don Berwick, Democrat:

    "As a pediatrician, a father, and a grandfather, I am deeply saddened by the unnecessary and unacceptable loss of children in state custody.

    We have seen a significant leadership failure within DCF, but we have also seen hardworking DCF employees buried under high caseloads. Kids must be our top priority. I will fight for the resources we need to keep our children safe. And I will move rapidly toward transparent, effective, and accountable management systems that ensure our most vulnerable kids are protected."

    Evan Falchuk, Independent:

    "This is like watching a slow-motion catastrophe unfold.  Instead of saying "the buck stops here," the governor seems to be saying "the accountability stops here." Where is the leadership?  To play politics and protect your appointees instead of taking responsibility for at-risk kids in Massachusetts is inexcusable. Clearly the senior leadership of DCF needs to be replaced with people who see their jobs as turning around that troubled agency, and focusing on the welfare of each child."

    Jeff McCormick, Independent:

    "A change in DCF leadership is appropriate at this time.  We have had an audit that has shown a number of problems within the agency in addition to the recent headlines.  The leadership is not getting the job done to protect the children in their care.  This situation is tragic.  It is clear that our state government is decades behind when it comes to technology and innovation.  If I can get a text on my phone telling me a thunderstorm is coming, why is DCF still communicating via fax on issues as important as the welfare of a child?  These technologies exist and the state needs to get into the 21st century."

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