By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – How many layers of failure are involved in the appalling state of affairs at the Department of Children and Families, the state agency in charge of overseeing the care of foster children and those stuck in dysfunctional families?

Plenty, starting with the families themselves.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Life is hard. A sudden death or a tough break in life can sometimes lead to poverty, mental illness or drug addiction. Other times those problems are inherited.

People who struggle this way need our help, and we ought to giving more of it.

But when they bring children into the picture, and can’t be reliable parents, that’s unnecessarily escalating the damage.

Then there’s the Department of Children and Families, where many dedicated people toil.

Unfortunately, they are surrounded by too many colleagues in various stages of incompetence, from shirkers to the clueless.

Let’s not forget the Legislature, which in past years has neglected it’s funding and oversight responsibilities for DCF. Now they say they’re going to beef up both, but it better not fade when the headlines do.

And there’s Commissioner Olga Roche herself, who – whatever her merits – is now understood by all to be unequipped to handle this job at this time.

Governor Patrick’s judgment in promoting her is, and should be, a matter of public scrutiny.

And oh yes, the governor, a new grandfather who is genuinely anguished over this string of child deaths. But don’t blame the people responsible, he says, claiming recently that DCF is “destabilized in many respects because of so much incoming bad publicity.”

Yes, of course.

If the media had never reported on all this, no one would be upset about it.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.



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