2 deaths raise calls for DCF commissioner to resign - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

2 deaths raise calls for DCF commissioner to resign

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BOSTON (WHDH) - Two more cases have Department of Children and Families Commissioner Olga Roche, and her agency, under fire, with some officials calling for her resignation.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray said Roche needs to step down following the recent deaths of two babies that come just weeks after the body of  five-year-old Jeremiah Oliver was found.

"We've had three children, three children in the last two or three weeks who have now been found dead," DeLeo said. "We can't afford to keep on in this manner."

A 16-day-old infant in Fitchburg who died was being monitored by child welfare officials. Just the day before, DCF was scheduled to meet with that family, but no one was home.

DCF told the Boston Globe the agency had been working with that baby's family since October 2012.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated case, a DCF spokeswoman says a fax from Grafton police about possible harm to a 4-month-old baby who later died was misplaced for six days.

“That we had a child who is deceased because a fax was not checked, was lost or misplaced? That was the end of the line for me,” DeLeo said.

Social workers with DCF held an informational picket in Lowell last week. They warned of a caseload crisis and claimed cases are falling through the cracks.

After the death of Jeremiah, Gov. Deval Patrick defended Roche and refused calls for her resignation. In a statement on Monday, Patrick said he's frustrated with the finger pointing and that his confidence with the agency is rattled, but is still not calling for Roche's resignation.

"I'm not confident that is an adequate solution but she has some questions to answer for me," Patrick said.

DCF released a statement saying “the department is deeply saddened” by the Grafton baby’s passing. The statement also said DCF has implemented a new faxing policy for two Worcester area offices, including the Grafton office that misplaced the police fax for six days. According to a memo obtained by The Globe, there will be hourly checks by clerks to sort and distribute faxes.

However, many people consider this a minor change.

The commissioner couldn't be reached for a comment.

The deaths of the two infants remain unexplained but are still under investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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