Child Welfare in Massachusetts: An Interview with Harry Spence

Massachusetts' child welfare system is in the midst of an overhaul.

For the past year, the Department of Social Services has been trying out some new programs and procedures. The focus is on improving the way the agency selects foster parents and on how caseworkers manage the state's 11,000 children in care.

While these changes started before the death of Dontel Jeffers, they've gained momentum since then. In March, the four-year-old died as a result of injuries sustained while in the Dorchester home of his foster mother Corinne Stephen. She was arraigned earlier this month on a second degree murder charge, and is now out on bail.

Currently, the DSS is planning to hold a community meeting soon, before releasing its report on the death of Dontel Jeffers. Bob Oakes speaks with Commissioner Harry Spence about the case and its impact on child welfare in Massachusetts.

This program aired on October 17, 2005. The audio for this program is not available.

Headshot of Bob Oakes

Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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