This past weekend two more children died because of the inaction of Governor Patrick, and more egregiously the enabling action of Attorney General Martha Coakley. The problems with the Department of Children and Families are not new, they’ve been known for years, and Deval Patrick turned a blind eye, and Martha Coakley fought efforts to force reform in the courts.
In April of 2010, a child advocacy watchdog group, Children’s Watchdog, filed suit against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The suit alleged that Massachusetts DCF policies were sub-par.
Since the April 2010 filing of the suit, Coakley has repeatedly insisted in court documents that the Patrick administration has already taken strong steps to meet the standards that Children’s Rights, a New York-based watchdog group, is demanding.
“In fact, DCF has developed a thorough system with the requisite flexibility needed to successfully provide services to meet the vast of array of needs presented by its eclectic client base,” Coakley and her staff argued in one Dec. 3, 2012, brief.
She presented that statement a year before news broke that the agency had lost track of Jeremiah Oliver, a 5-year-old Fitchburg boy who has been missing since September and is feared dead. The state has determined that a Department of Children and Families social worker had not properly monitored his case.
According to the Boston Globe Massachusetts almost stands alone in response to the lawsuit, which was filed against 20 other states. Governor Patrick and Martha Coakley, instead of trying to find a way to work to fix the problems with Massachusetts DCF, wastes resources fighting in court to protect the status quo.
For over four years, Martha Coakley has defended Massachusetts lackluster DCF. Since Deval Patrick took office until 2012 Massachusetts moved from 44th place in child services – hardly a robust score – to 50th. Deval Patrick moved us to dead last. Child Welfare advocates from around the country tried to help us change, and Deval Patrick and Martha Coakley tried to defend the status quo, every single step of the way.
When the problems with the department became public, calls for Olga Roche, the former head of the agency, to resign started happening. In fact Roche did resign over two months ago, in February of 2014. Deval Patrick did not accept that resignation. Martha Coakley supported Patrick in that decision.
Attorney General Martha Coakley is defending Gov. Deval Patrick’s decision not to fire the head of the state’s embattled Department of Children and Families, following the disappearance of a 5-year-old boy now feared dead.
That brings us to this weekend, two more children died because of the inaction of the Deparment of Children and Families. Calls for the resignation of Olga Roche intensified. House Speaker Bob DeLeo, and Senate President Therese Murray, both called for the resignation of Roche. The Speaker was especially harsh. Saying that no amount of money would fix what is wrong currently with the agency.
Only after two more children died, in a high profile way, in one weekend, did Martha Coakley call for Roche’s resignation. For over four years Coakley has defended the worst performing child welfare agency in the nation.
Martha Coakely doesn’t stand for children, she stands for defending the status quo and non performing state agencies. Remember that in November.