SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB)– Embattled Department of Children and Families Commissioner Olga Roche speaks to staff members in Springfield on Friday.
Roche has come under intense criticism for DCF’s role in losing track of 5-year old Jeremiah Oliver of Fitchburg.
We caught up with Commissioner Roche as she was leaving the Springfield meeting on her way back to Boston.
She told us that thanks to budget increases from Governor Patrick there will be improvements at DCF to better protect children,”It’s going to give us the staffing we need to begin looking at lowering the caseloads of social workers , improving the technology and making sure we strengthen the safety net of our children,” says Roche.
More than 20 legislators have called for Roche to resign.
She has offered her resignation to the governor but he refused to accept it.
So for now, she’ll stay on,”I will stay with this department, as a social worker myself I know how important is this job,” says Roche.
Roche also came under fire for telling a legislative hearing that there were no more missing cases like 5-year old Jeremiah Oliver but recently it was reported that on any given day dozens of children in state care are unaccounted for, mostly teenagers who have run away from foster homes,”My intention when answering the question was in no way to mislead the committee in relationship to the challenges we have in the department,” says Roche.
Roche left Springfield with an optimistic word about keeping children safe,”Every child matters and we never want to see another case like the Oliver case under the supervision of the department,” says Roche.