Page One Pop Quiz:
Which of the local dailies has already made up its mind about this story?
That’s right. The Herald.
From our Walt Whitman desk
As the hardreading staff has repeatedly noted, the Boston Herald has been on the tragically inept Massachusetts Department of Children and Families like Brown on Williamson.
But it’s never official until the feisty local tabloid salutes itself.
Consider it official. From today’s Herald:
Special bonus from the firsty local tabloid: this editorial (“Lying on the record”), which – hold on to your hat! – actually quotes the Boston Globe. Twice.
(There’s also this report on yesterday’s lost cover teen being found unharmed, and a thoroughly predictable Michael Graham column.)
Crosstown, the Globe front-paged the story that the paper had posted on its website yesterday.
So now both local dailies are on the case(workers). As they should be.
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.
The feisty local tabloid has been on the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families like Brown on Williamson for weeks now. And today is no exception, starting at the top of Page One.
Then there’s the over-the-top page 5.
From Laurel Sweet’s report:
The devastated victim of a sexually abusive DCF-approved therapist today described his “torture,” moments before his predator was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
“I find it ironic that a person who claims to be helping kids was actually destroying their lives. And he nearly destroyed mine,” the now-17-year-old boy told Suffolk Superior Court Judge Christine M. Roach. “I will never fully get over the despicable things he did to me. Despite this, I will face this awful truth in my past and fight to stay in control of my feelings of hurt, anger, sadness, and betrayal. One thing that would go a long way in my healing would be that this man, who stands before you today in judgment, faces serious consequences for what he has done so he can pay the price for his evil actions. This man is a cruel and abusive man who needs to be kept from other children so they will never have to experience the torture he perpetrated on me.”
It’s yet another indictment of a state agency that has thoroughly lost its way.
The (unlicensed) therapist, Kenneth Edwards of Dorchester, received “the mandatory state minimum sentence of 10 years for sexually assaulting the boy when he was 13.”
That was not well-received by “Edwards’ family and church supporters.”
It also was not covered by the Boston Globe.
Not to get technical about it.
For weeks now the Boston Herald has been on the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families like Brown on Williamson.
And for roughly the same time, the hardreading staff has wondered why the Boston Globe has been AWOL on the state agency debacle.
Finally, Globe columnist Kevin Cullen weighed in yesterday.
Olga Roche should fall on her sword
If Olga Roche were British, she would have resigned long ago.
But she’s not, and so she’s still here, with the word embattled forever attached, like a tattoo, to her and the agency she allegedly leads, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.
I have never met Olga Roche, and for all I know she is a very nice person. I know people who think as much.
But she is presiding over a deeply troubled agency, charged with protecting the most vulnerable citizens of the Commonwealth, and her staying in her position, in the wake of such scandal, is the height of arrogance.
It is also, for Massachusetts, typical.
This may be the one and only time Kevin Cullen agrees with the feisty local tabloid.
Alert the media.
It’s been All Olga All the Time at the feisty local tabloid this weekend as the Boston Herald wages jihad against embattled Department of Children and Families Commissioner Olga Roche.
Start with yesterday’s blowout front page:
Inside there’s double-trouble for Roche. (Inexplicable Little Green Numbers sold separately.)
And, of course, there’s the standard-issue Time to clean house editorial.
Today, on the other hand, Roche is reduced to the top of Page One.
Then again, the DCF commish also gets the traditional His ‘n’ Her columns by Howie Carr and Margery Eagan (they make great parting gifts!), neither of which is especially kind to Roche.
That seems to be the Boston Globe’s department. The stately local broadsheet has barely laid a glove on Roche, as these search results for “Olga Roche” attest:
Where are the editorials? The op-ed columns? Doesn’t anybody at the Globe have an opinion about the dismal state of DCF affairs? We’re not saying the Globeniks should go all Howie on Roche, but damn – something’s in order here, isn’t it?
For the moment, at least, it’s not just Deval Patrick who’s looking disengaged.