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Embattled Commissioner of Mass. DCF Resigns

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BOSTON (WGGB/AP) — Olga Roche, the embattled Commissioner of the Mass. Department of Children and Families, has resigned under mounting pressure following the deaths of three children.

Mass. Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz said Tuesday that she had submitted, and he had accepted, her resignation.

The move Tuesday comes after calls from top Democratic lawmakers — including Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray — for Roche to be replaced as head of the child welfare agency.

Deputy Commissioner Erin Devaney has been named interim Commissioner until a permanent appointment can be made.

Authorities say the family of a 2-week old Fitchburg baby who died over the weekend was being monitored by state child welfare officials.

In the second case, a DCF spokeswoman says a fax from Grafton police about possible harm to a 4-week-old who later died was misplaced for six days.

The body of a third child, 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver of Fitchburg, was found off a highway this month. Jeremiah’s family was also under DCF supervision.

ABC40 will continue to follow this story and will have more as it becomes available.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.

  • Rags

    About time. Too bad it won’t change the failed culture of that Department

  • Make DCF Accountable

    Maybe the news stations should look into the workings of DCF and the state in reference to how DCF cases are handled, such as appeals. Everyone has the right to appeal a 51B finding, but the state has not given hearings to peoples appeals. Some have had no hearing after more than 4 years of appealing a false accusation. Help call out some of the falsities of the state of Massachusetts officials!

    • dcf sucks

      We are still waiting on an appeal from September 2012.. dcf is a bunch of bull. Especially when they attack innocent families and turn their backs on the truly abusive ones

  • Publicdole

    Hopefully with no benefits or no departing package at taxpayer expense. Another administration loser.

  • Roberta Darcy

    My name is Roberta Darcy my three children ran a way due to sever abuse, neglect, an intent to do bodly harm from there aunt. Police found them in front of Forest Park in Springield,Ma. This happened in September 2013. My eldest who is 17 took my younger two and ran away. The aunt has Felony Criminal Charges on her and on April 16,2014 Dcf gave her back her two younger children but I am still fighting for my three. It’s only a reunification case. And because of what she did to them mentally and emotionally and physically there having issues. My eldest daughter has been severly hurt at school twice and Dcf never told me I found out from her friends, I am so done with this and don’t know what to do anymore!! How can this happen???

  • RDGLOCK

    Well when most of the workers are former welfare people what do you expect, and a racist governor who caters to the minoritys, this is what you get LIE,LIES,LIES,the peower goes to there heads.

  • Sherri

    Re-organization should start at the top. Her earlier resignation was rejected by Deval – should have never happened (the rejection). Only now can changes happen – they need to happen soon before another child dies. I do, however, agree with DCF that the Grafton police did not go far enough by just faxing their request. In serious cases such as this, there should have been a phone conversation.

  • LIberty Lebron Mudasar

    Theirs no way that I will allow my grandkids to be taken by the state theirs no way God protect all of these children in need.

  • mother person

    Let’s not just make DCF accountable but all the folks out there that call with no basis but vegence. My daughter had to get a restraining order against her ex and 10 minutes after he was served a call reporting abuse to DCF! It didn’t matter that my youngest was 15 and we had never had an abuse allegation we still had to allow them into our home and lives and the case was closed because of there was no abuse!!! But DCF is required by law to investigate all calls no matter how bogus. So maybe the callers need to be held to a standard, for example if a case is investigated and is unfounded and there is evidence that the call was only for revenge the caller needs to be fined. I ddon’t want to discourage people from reporting but its too easy to get angry and call in a false report. If you feel a child is a victim then you shouldn’t fear any thing but if its a bull**** call people will think twice and DCF can focus on families in crisis.

  • ytreggah

    The Office of Attorney General Martha Coakley serves victims maybe if your part of the elite class in Massachusetts. If your a wind turbine victim for get it ! Martha Coakley has been aware of thousands of written certified complaints made about wind turbine noise and has done O zero nothing. Martha was aware in January of 2014 there were big issues at the Department of Children and Families and went along to get along.
    Three children died in the last month -on her watch and Gov Patrick – The wind turbine victims in Massachusetts are well aware of how they have been ignored. How much longer can AG Martha Coakley & Gov Patrick continue to live in the elite class taking care of wind turbine contractors and special interest while the citizens of Massachusetts are dying at their doorstep at the front door of Beacon Hill ?

  • Melanie Beausoleil

    I’ve been trying to get my niece out of dcf! And I’ve had her brother for 3 years! My boyfriend got into minor trouble years ago! And they denied us to be my niece adoptive parents! So now I have hired a lawyer and am moving out of my boyfriends house so I can keep these children together. And I was still told I couldn’t get custody of her if I move because they have already denied us. This system sucks and I hope they make some changes ASAP! If someone knows of anything that can help me. Or people that will help please tell me. I’m lost on what else to do or who to contact. Starting to contact news stations!

  • Dcf is a holes

    If dumb ass deval Patrick would of accepted her resignation from the beginning there probley wouldn’t be another baby dying . What really pisses me off is the person who took over for Olga came from the friggin dmv with no experience in this field this is crazy what are these idiots thinking. They take the kids away from the good parents and let the kids being abused and neglected with parents on drugs keep there kids and wonder why this happens

  • 3elizabeth3

    As a professional social worker I want to express my condolences for the recent deaths of children under Massachusetts supervision. There is nothing worse than the preventable deaths of children. DCFS Child protective work is difficult and taxing. I knew the social workers that do protective work are a special kind of people. Many issues posted thus far are critical of DCFS. As I reviewed the posts I began to realize people are frustrated in your DCF system but their post was really about was overbokked court systems. Some posts do appear to need attention but please keep your children safe and respect the special folks who have dedicated their careers to protect our vulnerable citizens.