As Mass. DCF Moves Under New Leader, Lawmakers OK Funding Boost

As the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families undergoes a change in leadership, lawmakers are trying to increase the agency’s budget.

The House is recommending a $38 million boost over last fiscal year for the department. That’s roughly what Gov. Deval Patrick proposed.

State Rep. David Linsky of Natick said the money would help reduce caseloads, which average about 18 per social worker, down to 15.

“And that is one of the most important efforts we are recommending to the House,” Linsky says.

Noah Berger of the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center called the proposed increase an important and positive step forward.

But, Berger says, “DCF funding is still 10 percent below what it was back in 2008 and adjusted for inflation.”

The head of DCF, Olga Roche, resigned this week, following the recent deaths of three children.

The agency has been facing doubts about its ability to protect the 36,000 children under its watch. Audits have found it has also been plagued by understaffing, underfunding and neglectful actions by its employees in several high profile cases.