Major changes underway at DCF

The agency addressed staffing issues

Deval Patrick

BOSTON (WWLP) – After a controversial start to the year, the Department of Children and Families made major changes at the top.

Erin Devaney was brought in as DCF’s interim commissioner two months ago, and the department is halfway through its 60-day action plan, aimed at better protecting children under state care.

DCF came under intense scrutiny following the death of Jeremiah Oliver, a 5 year-old boy from Fitchburg who was in the agency’s care.

So far, DCF has improved mobile technology by handing out iPads to social workers in Springfield so they can input visitation information and access case records on-the-go.

The agency also addressed staffing issues.

“Since January, the department has hired more than 230 social workers, supervisors, and managers to address the ongoing caseload issue,” Devaney said.

A new tracking system is also in the works to make sure children are being seen and supervisors can better monitor social workers.

Despite the work that Deveney said has been done, union leaders who represent social workers said there has been a spike in caseloads, so the crisis has yet to be solved.

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