Coakley sidesteps questions about embattled DCF - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Coakley sidesteps questions about embattled DCF

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BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Democratic front-runner for governor Martha Coakley is sidestepping questions about the ongoing DCF controversy.

And when asked if she would fire DCF Commissioner Olga Roche, she said "My feeling is we need to look at that audit, we need to look at the scope of what they find, and I think that decision is going to be up to the governor."

When pressed about why at this point, one would wait, she responded, "partly because you need someone at the helm, and she has experience and unless you have someone who is ready to come in and turn this agency around I'm not sure that's the immediate solution."

Coakley also said any time a high profile mistake is made, the urge is to say "let's replace that person." she went on to say "the private sector doesn't do that, and neither does the public sector."

Over the last few days watchdog groups have ranked Massachusetts near the bottom for child welfare, and even that DCF allows 100's of foster parents with prior criminal convictions to take in children. Coakley told FOX 25 "it raises a significant question in my mind, but again, we do this kid by kid, family by family."

When asked if she'd want to take a second look at this, she did respond, "absolutely, absolutely."

In the meantime, Republican candidate for governor, Charlie Baker, is now calling on the Patrick administration to fire Roche. A change from his position one month ago. He says he was looking for "proactive change" and hasn't seen it yet from the administration.

"For the past four or five weeks there simply hasn't been any evidence of that kind of proactive movement forward," Baker said. "I think at this point the best move for the department and for the kids would be for the commissioner to step down."

Baker is the former Health and Human Services secretary under Governor Weld.

On the FOX 25 morning news, he glossed over questions about failings in the department when he was in charge, saying, "Well there are always going to be specific cases and I share the governor's view and others' that you can't really manage this whole thing based on one case, but you should absolutely use the learning's that you can take from one case to think about what they mean more broadly across the organization."

Coakley also was asked about Baker's call for her to stop fighting a 2010 lawsuit filed by a child advocacy group. But she defended her handling of the case saying she did her job fairly.

 

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