SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – In the past year, more than 100 children were abused or neglected in foster homes licensed by the state. State Auditor Suzanne Bump discovered many of the same issues surrounding the Department of Children and Families, are the same issues she reported a year ago.
Weak policies and procedures and outdated data were some of the biggest issues that were found Bump’s 2014 report. Briana Velazquez of Springfield told 22News, she finds it extremely concerning that those issues still exist. “If you’re taking a kid out from one bad situation and put them in another, what’s the point? They’re better off staying at home, where people do love them. I feel like DCF takes kids for money, not for the better of the children,” she said.
One year ago, Bump urged DCF to keep up-to-date risk assessments. But in July, a 7-year-old Hardwick boy was rushed to the hospital. Police said he’d been starved and beaten by his father for months, and despite dozens of contacts with the family, DCF didn’t recognize any abuse until the child fell into a coma in July.
Mike Camille of West Springfield said he understands they’re required to keep tabs on a lot of children, but that’s no excuse when your job is to protect them. “There must be a lot of kids that they have to monitor, but that is there job essentially, to make sure that these kids are ok. So they should definitely put in measures to make sure the kids are safe,” he said.
Bump also criticized DCF for not updating foster parent background checks in 2014, and last week, Governor Baker complained about an inadequate investigation into the background and childhood of the father of the Hardwick boy.