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The Boston Globe

Metro

State filings for custody of children soaring

Advocates warn of load on system

The state’s child welfare agency has intensified efforts to remove children from troubled homes since preschooler Jeremiah Oliver was reported missing in December, a dramatic shift that critics say has put more strain on an already overburdened system.

From December through May, the state Department of Children and Families filed nearly 2,000 court petitions to gain custody of children they determined to be at risk of abuse or neglect, a 52 percent increase from the previous year, according to court statistics. Last month, the agency filed 365 such petitions, a 70 percent jump from May 2013.

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