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State Rep. Candidate: DCF Chairwoman Has to Go

Matt Elder says “systemic problems” at the Department of Children and Family should prompt action.

Olga Roche is the head of  the MA Department of Children and Family. File photo
Olga Roche is the head of the MA Department of Children and Family. File photo

A Republican candidate for state representative is calling for the resignation or removal of the chairwoman of the MA Department of Children and Family, after a number of news stories showing problems inside the agency, including a toddler who was being tracked by the agency and is now missing.

Matt Elder said in a statement on Feb. 10, that “systemic problems in the department” connected to the “basic oversight and management” of the agency should prompt a request for Olga Roche's resignation “or other appropriate steps should be taken to get her away from this department.”

Elder stated that he was also disappointed that incumbent state Rep. Danielle Gregoire, D-Marlborough, had not yet publicly called for her resignation, and criticized her for not doing more to fix the department. Gregoire announced last month that she would be seeking another two-year term.

“Rep. Gregoire tries to make her public career as a State Representative about children and families in the 4th Middlesex District,” Elder said. “Unfortunately, her silence on this matter is deafening and I hope she will finally act to fix this dysfunctional department.”

Elder also criticized Gregoire for spotty attendance at meetings related to the DCF issue.

“The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is suffering from terrible management in many departments, whether it’s DTA (Department of Transitional Assistance, or welfare), the Health Connector, or now the DCF,” he added. “This mismanagement is likely responsible for children being abused and dying. Where is Rep. Gregoire’s leadership on this?”

Elder said it he were the state representative, he would have been “vocal on these issues as they came to the forefront and would immediately call for Roche’s resignation,” adding, “Being at the bottom in the nation in job creation, health care costs, and being good for businesses is one thing. Being 50th in protecting our children is a whole different story.

Elder also requested Gregoire to start being “a leader on this matter rather than sitting on the sidelines.” 

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