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Mass. Lawmakers To Push For Unprecedented Oversight Of DCF

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BOSTON (CBS) – The Department of Children and Families has been plagued for years by horror stories like the failure to properly oversee the care of Jeremiah Oliver, who was found dead last week.

In an interview with WBZ-TV’s Jon Keller, Rep. David Linsky (D-Natick), the chair of the House committee that’s been investigating the agency, disclosed a series of steps the House will take up in its budget debate next week to tighten DCF procedures and give them more money to lower caseloads and train social workers.

But that all comes with a catch: an unprecedented level of legislative oversight over an executive branch agency.

“The lines of communication haven’t been clear, the policies haven’t been clear,” Rep. Linsky says, “and we’re going to be giving direction to this agency unlike any direction we don’t give to any other agency about it is time to formalize and beef up those policies.”

If these proposals pass the House and Senate, DCF will be required to make frequent reports to the legislature on how it’s progressing with reforms.

Late Friday a DCF spokeswoman issued a statement saying in part: “We share the same goals… and will continue our work with the legislature to ensure open and consistent communication.”

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