BOSTON (AP) - An independent group that examined the state Department of Children and Families says the agency should not be held responsible for the death of a 5-year-old Fitchburg boy.
But the Child Welfare League of America, in its final report released Wednesday, said the case raised a number of significant issues and that the agency, along with other adults, failed to protect Jeremiah Oliver.
Gov. Deval Patrick asked the organization to conduct a review of the agency after Jeremiah disappeared last year. His family was under agency supervision. The boy's remains were discovered last month.
The league issued a number of preliminary recommendations in March. State officials say many have already been implemented.
The final report said many of the agency's case policies and protocols are outdated and the agency is understaffed.
The union representing social workers at DCF released a statement in response to the report.
“From crisis-level caseloads and antiquated technology to disjointed policy implementation and shortfalls in oversight, the final report from the Child Welfare League of America reinforces the real and immediate need to address systemic challenges front-line social workers have raised for many years at the Department of Children & Families," the statement read in part.