DCF commissioner should resign, House Speaker says

In this file photo from 2014, House Speaker Robert Deleo (D-Winthrop), talks to members of the media.

BOSTON (WWLP) – Following the news that a baby who died last week was being monitored by the state’s Department of Children and Families, House Speaker Robert DeLeo is calling for the resignation of the agency’s commissioner.

This is not the first controversy involving the DCF and its commissioner, Olga Roche. The DCF is being reviewed following the disappearance of five year-old Jeremiah Oliver of Fitchburg, a child whose case was being handled by the agency when he disappeared in September. His remains were recently found near Interstate 190 in Sterling.

Over the weekend, police in Fitchburg began investigating the death of a two week-old baby, who was under DCF monitoring.

At the State House on Monday, DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said that there has been a lack of leadership at the agency, and that Roche needs to be replaced,

“Quite frankly, these incidences we’re talking about today have nothing to do with money. Checking a fax has nothing to do with money. Putting on a report that you saw a child when you didn’t has nothing to do with money,” said DeLeo.

The agency claims lack of funding is to blame resulting in heavy caseloads, but Speaker DeLeo strongly argued that it’s a matter of poor management skills and that Commissioner Roche needs to resign immediately.

Months ago, a bipartisan group of lawmakers had also asked for Roche’s resignation, though Governor Deval Patrick has come to her defense. However, Speaker DeLeo, along with Senate President Therese Murray, both agree that a new commissioner needs to be appointed to turn the agency around.

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