When we left off on what was supposed to be a three-part posting on the nightmare that is Massachusetts’ Department of Children and Families (“DCF”), I was intending to wrap it up with a bit of a summation. As you may have noticed, time has passed since the last posting. In the meantime, discoveries of what I have been trying to communicate about the department have continued to reveal themselves.
The message, frankly, is that DCF has various and serious systemic problems…problems which tear families apart and endanger children every day. While the department may wish to hide behind the shroud of the “one bad apple” explanation, it is clear to any thinking person that is the department itself which is, at the very least, rotting said apples.’
As we have discussed, spokes-folk for the department, at the public discovery of the recent Oliver debacle reacted with the age-old explanation that there was nothing wrong with DCF itself, only with the individuals who had been attached to the particular case.
You know, sort of like the very same Commonwealth likes to claim that there were no systemic problems with its drug labs, only the “rogue” chemist who is now serving time.
Anyone who is used to dealing with DCF, however, can tell you otherwise. As mentioned previously, I have handled a variety of matters against DCF, usually finding disorder and a complete non-acceptance of common sense on the other side.
And now, that has even spilled over to this blog. As I try to finish this trilogy, more DCF nightmares come to light.
Just yesterday, the news came from Middleboro. This time, it was an autistic 11-year-old boy serving as the focal point. Apparently, the boy had been placed by DCF into one of its “ultra vetted” foster homes. That boy now claims that he was sexually assaulted by another youth inside the foster home. The reaction from DCF, at least before the case came to public view?
DCF dismissed the claim, finding that it was “consensual sex” and “experimentation “.
Yes, I remind you that DCF is an arm of the government, just as law enforcement is. It is the same Commonwealth that regularly prosecutes cases like this because, after all, an 11-year-old cannot by law consent to sex. If nothing else, it is statutory rape. It is certainly considered domestic violence. Not that this was the only instance of DCF living down to its reputation in this matter. Apparently, the boy’s family and school officials allege that the case was plagued by missteps by DCF.
Try telling the boy’s biological father that the problem was caused by just another “bad apple”
“I want DCF to be held accountable… it was hard to think that nobody did their job … or that they all failed miserably and my son had to pay the ultimate price for that – losing his innocence. It will affect him for the rest of his life.”, says the father.
By the way, if you are thinking that this case took place recently, and so DCF had not had an opportunity to deal with it yet, think again. It took place approximately five years ago.
This is but one of the several cases which lawmakers are allegedly looking into for the purposes of questioning DCF tomorrow. Among the evidence they will review, will be the accusations of putting the cutting of costs for the Commonwealth over the welfare of children. Former employees of DCF now bring this to light.
A school official, in a fiery letter to then-DCF Commissioner Angelo McClain, called it “one of the most abhorrent situations I have encountered in my career.”
“The alleged sexual abuse of an 11-year-old boy has been completely minimized in this case,” said John C. Randall, president and CEO of Amego Inc., the school and residential treatment center the boy was attending. He said DCF staff “did not respond properly, but exacerbated the situation” by emphasizing their rocky history with the boy’s biological father, not the incident at hand.
“I am a calm, rational and direct person who was completely frustrated in my communications with your staff,” Randall wrote. “I can’t imagine where I would have been emotionally if it had been my son involved in this case.”
What if it were yours?
Attorney Sam’s Take On Summing Up A Seemingly Endless Story
So, where does this leave us?
Not in a very good place, I am afraid.
As our political leaders look into the various DCF debacles, one must be concerned that they will opt out, once again for the Band-Aid approach. In other words, follow DCF’s lead and find that, once again, it was a rogue bad apple who caused the problem. Okay, several bad apples.
Anyone who deals with DCF on a regular basis, and has a flexible brain, can tell you that the orchard is rotting. Quite simply, the Department of children and families is, at present, a great threat to children and families.
An agency such as DCF is clearly necessary. But, that’s only if it works. This one does not work, no matter how you approach it.
I can keep up the “good fight”, and I can real against them in these blogs. However, in the scheme of things, it will never matter until people are willing to take a realistic view of DCF and do something about it.
However, as I often tell you about criminal justice, these problems are not “real” until they happen to you or someone you love. You know, like the quote above.
“I am a calm, rational and direct person who was completely frustrated in my communications with your staff…I can’t imagine where I would have been emotionally if it had been my son involved in this case.”
Countless examples can’t be written about. I am sure that I will post many more blogs about DCF. To be exhaustive in doing so, would mean I don’t write about anything else. Ever. And I won’t do that to you.
To read the original story upon which this blog is based please go to http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2014/01/09/patrick-orders-outside-review-mass-dcf/jcgoIfXbHdq6z9VTXQs1DM/story.html , http://www.telegram.com/article/20140105/COLUMN05/301059920 and