Letters to the Editor do not reflect the editorial opinion of The Daily Free Press. They are solely the opinion of the author.
Dear Editor: When reading your article, “Governor Baker supports reform for Department of Children and Families” it stated in the article there are real issues that have to be addressed to support Baker’s new policy’s to allow DCF to become more successful with addressing the needs of children in the system. One of the issues is having an effective screening in a timely manner for children that have had a 51A filed on their behalf. I am a social work major at Bridgewater State University and I am concerned with the amounts of 51A’s filed by mandatory reporters without proper merit. I personally feel this is straining a system that is already overwhelmed. I am not saying that I don’t believe in mandatory reporting, it is still a huge safeguard for children. I just feel that it is not a black or white issue always being addressed. Sometimes circumstances can be grey and need to be properly evaluated and determined before one files a charge of abuse or neglect on a parent or caregiver. According to Child First Advocacy, a large majority of parents have found incorrect accounts of circumstances related to their 51A filings. A majority of these filing’s ended up being dropped or referred out to other systems of support but in the process still occupied resources at DCF. What saddens me the most about this is that there are actually cases were children are being neglected and abused and these situations aren’t being addressed in a timely manner because of wasted time on charges that should have never been filed in the first place. I personally feel that there needs to be a better system put in place to help mandatory reporters determine what cases warrant a 51A. That way cases that need to be addressed are tended to, without draining a system that is already overburdened.
Candice Sullivan, [email protected], (508) 404-9060