After boy’s death, social workers demand smaller caseloads

LOWELL, Mass. (AP) — State Department of Children and Families employees are stepping up demands for state officials to take action to reduce social worker caseload.

Members of the union representing social workers and other agency employees plan to hold informational picketing on Tuesday outside the agency’s regional office in Lowell. A similar demonstration is planned on Wednesday in Boston.

The workers say the caseload crisis has worsened in the past year, creating concerns about the safety of children.

The agency has been under scrutiny since 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver of Fitchburg went missing last year. His body was discovered last week by the side of a highway in Sterling.

Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration says it is seeking more funding to hire social workers and has taken other steps to shore up the agency.

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