BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) – While Governor Deval Patrick is on vacation in Costa Rica more and more scandals seem to be unfolding at DCF.
As of Friday, there are questions about whether or not Democrats on Beacon Hill will start to push back against the way the agency is being run.
The latest DCF bombshell: 134 foster children between the ages of 13 and 17 are missing and listed as on the run as of the Feb. 2. And DCF doesn't even track them because they're no longer in the custody of the department.
"Here we go again," said House Speaker Robert DeLeo when asked about the bombshell.
He went on to say, "The situation seems to be worsening as opposed to getting better."
DCF Commissioner Olga Roche never volunteered the information about runaways during January's hearing. However, she did assure lawmakers that the kids are safe. Those statements now trouble the Democratic committee chairman.
"We need to make sure that DCF is doing the best job that they possibly can in caring for and protecting each one of those 36,000 children, and we were told that they were, and now I have my questions, I really do," Rep. David Linsky said.
DeLeo told FOX 25 that the latest story adds another layer of uncertainty at the embattled state agency.
"At the end of the day, I can tell you that I'm not going to be satisfied just with the providing of money. I want answers in terms of what's going on at this agency, because this can't continue. It's just, you know, one story after another in terms of missing children, in terms of people with criminal backgrounds," he said.
If accountability lies with DCF Commissioner Olga Roche, she answers to the governor and he has refused her resignation. Stonehill College Professor Peter Ubertaccio watched the interview with DeLeo.
"He is probably rightfully exasperated because we're dealing with a very vulnerable population of people and he's concerned. He is clearly also not yet willing to jump to conclusions, he's willing to let a process play out. He's not willing to call the governor on the mat for this," Ubertaccio said.
Democrats on Beacon Hill are quietly holding off on calling for Patrick to fire Roche, at least until the investigation is finished.
A DCF spokesman told FOX 25 if Roche was asked a direct question about runaways, she would have answered. Except, in the interests of transparency, she also could have volunteered the information.
Patrick is expected back from vacation Sunday.