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Report: Social Worker In Fitchburg Case Failed To Visit 8 Other Families

BOSTON — There are more details in the case of Jeremiah Oliver, the 5-year-old Fitchburg boy who has been missing since September and is now feared dead. It’s a case that has focused criticism on the state Department of Children and Families (DCF).

Department officials told The Boston Globe that the now-fired social worker for the Oliver family also failed to conduct required visits to eight other families.

The social worker had not seen Jeremiah since May.

The Globe also reports that the social worker filed multiple grievances in the past year, complaining about an above-average caseload.

A DCF spokesperson disagreed, saying the caseload was average.

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  • Chuck Seggelin

    What constitutes an “average” caseload at the DCF? Why don’t we start there? With the social worker saying it was too heavy, and the department saying it’s “average”, it’s impossible to make any sort of judgement call as a dispassionate observer. If this worker was supposed to make 200 family visits per month, for example, I think he or she can’t be faulted. If he or she was supposed to make 10 family visits per month, that seems reasonable.

    We need hard numbers, get out there and do some investigative journalism and give us the numbers. I don’t care if something is “average”–if the “average” caseload is hundreds of families, then “average” is ridiculous.

  • Chuck Seggelin

    Also: The article says this specific social worker filed multiple complaints saying the caseload assigned to him/her was too heavy. Whether or not the DCF management agreed, clearly the social worker informed the DCF “I am not able to keep up with all these cases”. That should have led to action–even if the action was just to fire the social worker and replace them with someone more competent. Something stinks here.

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