Local 509 on DCF Caseload Crisis: Barring Immediate Action, It’s Only A Matter of Time Before Another Tragedy Occurs

SEIU Local 509 Statement on DCF Fitchburg Case

In response to comments made by Department of Children & Families Commissioner Olga Roche on a pending case at the agency’s North Central Office, SEIU Local 509 released the following statement, attributable to union spokesman Jason Stephany:

“We are disappointed that Commissioner Roche is more interested in finger-pointing than accepting responsibility for yet another tragedy on her watch.

“The sad truth is that caseloads at the Department of Children & Families have long stood at crisis levels, yet Commissioner Roche has done little to address them. Instead, the Commissioner has chosen a convenient scapegoat to deflect blame from department administrators – terminating caseworkers without any formal investigation, whatsoever.

“If the actions of the caseworkers in question warrant termination, Commissioner Roche should proceed with a formal investigation and make her case, as legally required. But without immediate action to address the Commissioner’s caseload crisis, it is only a matter of time before another tragedy occurs.”

SEIU Local 509 represents caseworkers at the Department of Children & Families, along with more than 17,000 other human service workers and educators throughout the commonwealth. SEIU 509 members provide a variety of educational and social services to at-risk children, elders and people with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities. Local 509 is part of the Service Employees International Union, the largest and fastest-growing labor union in the United States.

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