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Mass. Problems for Kids Continue

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 12/10/2015 Bill Lichtenstein

Five years ago, after seeing first hand what was going on at the Mass. Department of Children and Families, it was clear that the agency had rotted out from within, and that what was needed was not reforms, but for someone to turn the department upside down, and vigorously shake.
Five years later, the full scope of the problems at DCF and the impact those failures had on the 47,000 at-risk children they have been supposed to be looking after including the 8,000 foster kids in their custody, is finally becoming clear. This editorial, "Rebuilding and reforming DCF," in a local publication is the latest to cite the grave state of the agency and the need for an overhaul. It's unfortunate that it took so long, and cost the lives of at least 100 kids of whom we're aware and maybe more, not to mention the harm to other children and their families, before a light was turned on to reveal the serious failures there. And, as the editorial points out, even now, the mission of keeping families together and protecting the rights of parents remain a distant second on the agency's list of priorities.
A question still needs to be asked, as to where was the media throughout all of it, with a few exceptions - I wrote about it including for the Huffington Post, as did the Boston Herald, but the situation was largely ignored - until recently when the body of 4-year old Bella Bond was found in a garbage bag on a Boston beach, sounding alarms and attracting media attention internationally.
2015-10-09-1444416441-3377155-55fc4b5a2000002600242892.jpeg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-10-09-1444416441-3377155-55fc4b5a2000002600242892.jpeg
[Above photo; Law enforcement rendering of the image of Bella Bond, whose body was found in a garbage bag on a Boston beach setting of a three-month search to identify her. She was later found to be from Boston, and DCF admitted it had been made aware of problems in her home, but failed to identify her during the search for her identity. Bella's mother and her boyfriend are now charged with the crime.]
DCF's failures were likley the most significant - and certainly the most contentious - issue leading to Republican Charlie Baker's victory over former Attorney General Martha Coakley for governor in the last election. He owes it to the kids and families of Massachusetts to turn the child welfare department upside down, shake it well, and then make sure it's fixed.

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