The latest scandal involving child welfare in Massachusetts has our leaders once again blaming low-level child protection services workers and proclaiming that the problem is aberrational, not systemic. The Department of Children and Families has fired the social worker and supervisor deemed responsible for failing to protect Jeremiah Oliver, who is now feared dead. The governor has said he expects the DCF commissioner to conduct a further inquiry, but asserts flatly that there is no broader policy problem in the department.
But the truth is that it is our leaders who are responsible for putting many children at risk. They have chosen policies that systematically favor family preservation, keeping children like Jeremiah at home even when home represents a serious danger.