UPDATE: Baker Administration Rebuts State Auditor's Report Critical Of DCF

December 7, 2017

UPDATED: 8 p.m. The Baker administration pushed back on Bump's report, emphasizing that the time frame the audit covered was mostly before Baker had been elected or steps to reform the agency had taken effect.
"I'm disappointed that the auditor took information from 2014 to 2015 and applied it to today,' Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders told reporters on a conference call Thursday responding to the audit. DCF officials point out that the audit period ended just four months after Baker put in place new policies to reform the agency in agreement with the union representing DCF case workers.
"Before this audit period ended, the Baker-Polito Administration overhauled clinical policies and operation procedures, increased DCF’s budget by $100 million and hired over 300 social workers and 96 managers to reduce caseload and increase management oversight," DCF spokeswoman Andrea Grossman wrote in a statement.


The Mass. Department of Children and Families failed to keep track of hundreds of incidents of bodily harm to children in care and did not properly report some incidents of rape, attempted suicide and assault to its overseer agency, according to state Auditor Suzanne Bump.

Bump's audit analysed state medical expenses from 2014 and 2015 and found that of 617 incidents of bodily harm to children that required medical treatment, 260 cases were not investigated by DCF and not included in those children's case files.

Bump's office said the injuries included assaults, poisonings, suicide attempts, bone fractures and more.
Bump also found that DCF does not report all critical incidents of harm to the Office of the Child Advocate, the state office given oversight authority over DCF after a rash of child abuse cases and fatalities revealed problems at the agency.

According to Bump's audit, of a sample of 40 cases, DCF did not share data on 16 incidents Bump classified as critical, including incidents of rape, stabbing, gunshots, rape, suicide attempt by fire and assault with a baseball bat.

The audit, released Thursday, found that the reporting standards between the agencies are not aligned.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has invested more than $100 million dollars toward reforming the system since taking office in 2015. His office says many of the problems with the agency have already been corrected.

Bump, a Democrat who served as labor secretary to former Gov. Deval Patrick, launched her campaign for a third term as Auditor Wednesday.

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