DeLeo mulling plan to elevate DCF to cabinet-level

Provision would require DCF to report to the Legislature

BOSTON (STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE) – House Speaker Robert DeLeo said Tuesday he is considering making a proposal to elevate the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families to a cabinet-level position to reduce the level of bureaucracy between the governor and the beleaguered agency.

“Any time you’re talking to a secretariat, which is getting the information to the governor, usually it will get a whole lot more attention than it would if it has to go through various levels,” DeLeo said. “I’m at the point, quite frankly, where we’ve got to do something and status quo is unacceptable.”

DeLeo said he intends to add a provision to a supplemental budget bill that’s in the works that would require DCF to report to the Legislature “every major change they have made to their policy since the last time that we had this discussion.”

The speaker said he is frustrated by the persistent issues at the child protection agency and said he hopes to work with Gov. Charlie Baker as the administration conducts its own review of the DCF.

“What I see here is an agency that appears to be dysfunctional,” DeLeo said. “From top to bottom, we need to take a look into how this agency operates.”

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