Page One Pop Quiz:
Which of the local dailies has already made up its mind about this story?
That’s right. The Herald.
As the hardreading staff noted yesterday, the Boston Globe has been trailing the Herald in covering the nightmare known as the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.
Exhibit Umpteen: Page One of today’s feisty local tabloid.
Crosstown, today’s print edition of the Globe has nothing on DCF. But look what hit the web around 10:45 this morning:
It’s a doozie:
Hundreds of children may be missing in state child welfare system
Foster child Alisia Laboa just turned 16 this month — but there was no traditional Sweet 16 party for her.
Laboa ran away from a state-supervised group home in New Bedford in December, prompting State Police to issue a public appeal for help in finding her. Laboa’s name and photo are posted on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s website under the headline, “Help Bring me Home.”
On any given day, as many as hundreds of children in Massachusetts’ welfare system are missing, including 134 foster children as young as 13 whom the state listed as “on the run” as of Feb. 2. Social workers stopped checking on another 13 children recently because their parents were uncooperative, rebuffing caseworkers or moving without leaving a forwarding address.
Beyond that, the state doesn’t even track kids who flee from allegedly abusive parents or guardians.
And yet, the Globe report says, DCF commissioner Olga Roche “told lawmakers at a hearing last month that she was certain there were no other children in her agency’s care who were in danger or missing like Jeremiah Oliver, the 5-year-old Fitchburg boy who disappeared last year while under the state’s watch.”
Whereupon this exchange took place:
“Can you give me and the other 6 million people of the Commonwealth the assurance that you know that every single one of those 36,000 children in your care today are present, alive and healthy?” asked state Representative David P. Linsky, chairman of the House Committee on Post Audit and Oversight. “Can you give me that assurance that there are no other Jeremiah Olivers out there today?”
“Yes,” Roche said firmly. Asked whether she was “100 percent confident,” Roche again said yes.
This whole mess becomes more disgraceful by the day. Welcome to the cleanup, Globeniks.