Social worker in Fitchburg boy's disappearance received raise prior to termination

Updated:

FITCHBURG, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- A social worker who was fired following the disappearance of a 5-year-old Fitchburg boy received a raise weeks after the child was last seen by relatives.

Officials at the Department of Children and Families confirmed to FOX 25 the social worker was among 239 employees who were promoted within the department over the summer in accordance with the union's collective bargaining agreement. The social worker's manager confirmed she met the criteria for promotional pay.

The 5 percent pay raise was approved on Nov. 27 and did not include additional responsibilities.

The social worker, a supervisor, and an area program manager were fired after Jeremiah Oliver went missing.

The boy was last seen by relatives in September. Authorities fear he may be dead. The child's mother and her boyfriend have been charged in the case.

Officials say the boy's social worker was supposed to be making regular monthly visits, but hadn't seen him since May, and had only visited the home twice in 12 months. She wanted to close out Jeremiah's case in November. The social worker's supervisor was aware of the missed visits, but lied to higher-ups about the frequency of the social worker's visits.

The union representing the fired social worker complained of an unfairly heavy caseload and a lack of funding at the agency. FOX 25 reported that DCF got $20 million more this past year for a total budget of $780 million.