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Polanowicz: 134 Children Under DCF Care Unaccounted For

By Jon Keller, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Yet another story of a child gone missing while under state supervision has raised questions about the credibility of Olga Roche, the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families.

The missing boy in question is a teenager who vanished from a Cape Cod foster home in mid-January.

Ten days later, at a legislative hearing on the department’s problems, Commissioner Roche promised lawmakers that all children under DCF watch were accounted for and that there were no more Jeremiah Olivers, a reference to the five-year-old Fitchburg boy missing and presumed dead after DCF workers failed to check on him for months.

In an interview with WBZ-TV Thursday, Roche’s boss, Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz, said Roche was referring to young children like Oliver when she gave that answer.

He also revealed that there are scores of teens under DCF watch who are runaways and are, therefore, unaccounted for.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports

“Right now, there’s 134 children who have gone running that were under DCF care, close to 70-percent of them are 16 or 17-year old individuals,” Polanowicz told WBZ.

Polanowicz says he still has full confidence in Commissioner Roche’s management of DCF.

“I think the question that she was answering at House Post Audit was ‘Are there any more Jeremiah Olivers out there?’ and she put a process in place to make sure those children had been seen and they were,” Polanowicz said.

An outside agency report on the department’s problems is due in April.

You can see the entire interview with Secretary Polanowicz on Keller @ Large, Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on WBZ-TV.

MORE LOCAL NEWS FROM CBS BOSTON

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