A huge error occurred in the case of young Jeremiah Oliver, a child who is now presumed dead. When an error such as this is uncovered, the system is then bound and committed to find out how it happened and who is responsible. Beyond holding individuals responsible for their actions, the system must ask what safeguards are now needed to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.
This is the process happening right now. Not only is DCF performing an internal investigation but the Office of the Child Advocate as well as the Legislature and the Child Welfare League of America are performing separate investigations. My Letter to the Editor (below) recently sent to both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald conveys NASW's current perspective on the situation. We must avoid quick fixes and knee jerk reactions, trading them instead for thoughtful, diligent actions.
I am in regular communication with DCF, SEIU Local 509 (Social Work Union), and the Office of the Child Advocate to see how we can support the professionalization of the workforce in child welfare. Together we want to strengthen the safety net of care for those children and families involved with DCF and end the destructive negative messaging that is impacting everyone involved.