Audit: Many injuries unreported by child welfare agency

Audit: Many injuries unreported by child welfare agency

The audit highlighted 19 incidents, including rapes and assaults, that were not reported to prosecutors.

The incidents included a 15-year-old with brain damage from a firearm injury, a 1-year-old with first-and second-degree burns, and a 12-year-old with multiple head contusions that a doctor determined were the result of an assault.

"He has long-prioritized DCF and he views protecting vulnerable children as a central mission of state government", Whitney Dow Ferguson, the spokeswoman, said in a statement.

"Bump's report also noted that "[of] the 73 fatality investigations performed by DCF during our audit period, none was completed and submitted to [Office of the Child Advocate] within the established 30- or 60-day timeframe".

The audit also found that the DCF was not categorizing incidents involving sexual abuse as critical incidents.

A blistering audit of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families isn't an accurate account of the agency's current state, according to Gov. Charlie Baker's health and human services chief. In one case, a male who had sexually abused one child abused the child's sibling less than one year later.

"How can the agency not consider sexual abuse a serious injury to a child?"

Sudders, a social worker, said she is "disappointed" Bump is taking the information from the two years of the audit period and applying it to the agency as it now stands.

The audit recommends that in the future, DCF use MassHealth data to help identify incidents of serious bodily injury to children in its care. Given that all kids under DCF care are covered by MassHealth that seems an entirely reasonable recommendation.

Recording child-on-child injuries in case files.

That deeply disturbing conclusion from a report out Thursday by state Auditor Suzanne Bump. "The Speaker's office has reached out to the Office of the Child Advocate to consider next steps".

"The department's priority is to protect our most vulnerable children and it relies on mandated reporters, such as health care providers, physicians and teachers, to provide us with up-to-the-moment information about serious instances of suspected abuse and neglect so that we can respond with the urgency they deserve and ensure safety". "DCF regularly conducts trainings for mandated reporters across the state and offers online trainings developed by local District Attorneys to encourage reporting for any instance of suspected abuse or neglect among children". But DCF also said it has implemented changes to its policy for those referrals.

"And we know they weren't referred to district attorneys' offices because we took these cases to DA's offices and they said that they had never received them", Bump said.