LITTLE LIVES LOST: A look into the Massachusetts DCF System

Bella Bond, was a vibrant and beautiful 2-yro child who was killed by the deranged boyfriend of her mother, Rachelle Bond, in which he, Michael McCarthy the boyfriend, murdered Bella because [1] he felt that "she was a demon" and it was "time for her to die" according to the WCVB news report. This angelic, bright-eyed child was failed by many, including the State of Massachusetts. How the state determined Bella was "safe in the care of her mother" who, according to media reports, had a long history of abusing drugs, numerous arrest records, delved in prostitution, and had two other children that were permanently removed from her care? The only book read by Bond, as she proudly showed on Facebook, was "The Stoners Cookbook." Her lifestyle was clearly in the "fast lane" and her obvious choice for a boyfriend was a horrid pick, yet DCF felt Bella was safe? Following her brutal murder, Bond helped McCarthy by wrapping Bella's tiny body in the child's blanket, then proceeded to tie her up in a trash bag , placed her in a refrigerated unit, for a number of days, (possibly weeks) before finally throwing her, like trash, into (or near) the water at Deer Island in MA. Eerily similar to [2] Casey Anthony, the Florida mom who partied and carried on with her life knowing her deceased child , Caylee Anthony, was wrapped in a bag lying dead in the woods, Bond carried forward, as normal, and told friends that DCF took custody of her "missing" daughter. DCF was at the child's home shortly before her death, yet they left her behind. Bella was discovered weeks after decomposing in the bag, only to end up as "Baby Doe", unidentified, with the entire Northern Continent sharing a reconstructive photo with the hopes of having her name and a proper burial. After a tip was led to Bond, both mother and boyfriend were arrested. (Criminal charges and trial dates are in progress at the time of this writing.) Following the identification of Bella's case, Our team was further sickened to learn that many innocent children die under the "care" of DCF in Massachusetts, and each time authorities state they are appalled and will "investigate the practices of DCF, yet it continues and they've yet to revamp their system. What has transpired in MA is not just a horrible shame, but a clear case of neglect of duties, neglect of care, and neglect of priorities and EVERYONE who holds a position, that had the ability and authority to put the children of Massachusetts first, and didn't , should lose their jobs, immediately. Let's begin with the Governor's Office, who seems to play the political blame game, quite well. In the 2012 DCF report, it stated, [3] Over the past 24 years, DCF child deaths (on open or recently closed cases) have ranged from a high of 89 to a low of 30 fatalities per year, with a median of 41 fatalities,” the report on 2012 data said. " And those numbers did not alarm anyone? Averages like that, PER year? In speaking of 2012, 9 of the children's cause of death was ruled "undetermined." Who was advocating for those 9 children to have whatever was needed done to find why the children died? If it were YOUR child, you'd call on whatever Dr.s, tests, and examinations needed to find why he or she died? Why not those 9 children? Seven of 39 deaths, in 2012, was due to neglect or physical abuse. How can that be when case managers visit to check the children's well being? What are they checking if seven innocent children's lives are lost due to abuse? By the way, 67% of the 39 deaths were infants, under a year old. (The age where a child cannot speak to tell of the horrific abuse they've endured.) Why were these reports allowed to "lapse?" Public accountability reports of statistics? [4]After MassLive inquired about reports that were absent from the website, a spokeswoman for Gov. Charlie Baker’s health and human services secretariat, which oversees DCF, quickly released reports on data from 2011 and 2012. The reports were also posted to the website. I ask, Governor Baker, that your secretariat should be terminated, and your own position be evaluated. Neither of you are doing the jobs you were appointed or hired to do. Simple as that. And the children suffer, or died. There is a lot of blaming going on, between many Departments. I'm not going to put the entire blame, just on DCF, as many are....because I know far too often that it is rarely ever one Department's fault. With that in mind, I think the residents of Massachusetts should request to see the "reports" and letters from DCF, of their inquiries of asking (and needing) more funding to have their jobs done appropriately. I would also want to see the reasons funding was not granted? What was approved instead? What is more of a valuable "project" than the safety of our children in vulnerable and known neglect and abusive situations? Why such poor job performance regarding the background checks of adults in the care of fostering children? [6] DCF was unable to provide required documentation that it had conducted background checks for individuals living in homes with a foster child. A review of 29 case files found they were missing documentation for 48 of 63 required background checks. Additionally, the audit discovered 25 cases where the addresses of sex offenders matched addresses of foster care children. How can DCF justify leaving a newborn in the care of a mother, or father...or a love interest of the child's parent, knowing they've had prior children permanently removed from the home? Shouldn't they have been waiting outside the maternity room to immediately place the child in the care of a responsible, loving and nurturing family member, or a licensed approved caretaker? Maybe trying to keep a family together when history of heroin use, severe mental illness, domestic violence and repeated arrests of the parent...perhaps is just not where a child should be placed? Would you leave YOUR child in the care of people like that? Seriously. What is wrong with you people at DCF and all you government officials who are not doing your job overseeing this Department? Any other position in which required reports are not completed, one is fired. Yet, consistently, two years in a row, no reports done? That says NOBODY was watching, or "overseeing" as quoted above. Naturally, the blame game starts. Blaming the previous Administration, blaming the coroner, blaming the Medical Examiner's office. BUT, as is "Politically Correct"..... do NOT take blame on yourselves? Well, I do. I blame the current Administration for not filing whatever grievances needed to be filed to ensure that you had the needed information in order to do YOUR jobs to protect the children, under YOUR watch and Administration. The following children, like Bella, paid the faults of the system, with their lives *Note: These cases outlined are in no way representative of all the deaths due to lack of state required reporting, so I can only provide a few that have been reported in the media. [8] Graph by Joshua Eaton / NECIR --------------- >>>Bella Bond, 2, murdered by her mother's boyfriend,Michael McCarthy, while the child was "under watch" of DCF, and left with a troubled mother, Rachelle Bond, who permanently lost custody of two other children to DCF, prior to Bella's birth. Bond also helped to cover her daughters death. >>> Avalena Conway Coxon, 2 - Deceased another child from same home in a long term care facility. >>>8 week old William James Berry dropped off the "priority radar" after DCF responded to reports the child was not in a safe environment. He remained in the home until his father, a troubled war vet, shook him to death. >>>Randall Lints, the Hardwick father accused of starving and abusing his 7-year-old son, weighing only 38 lbs and now in a long term care facility, comatose. >>>Brandon Yang, 3, homicide by mentally ill mother. DCF was involved prior to his death. >>>3-year-old Alyvia Navarro, an autistic preschooler , drowned in a pond behind a Wareham trailer home, in which the death of Alyvia was recorded by DCF as neglect. This case was placed as "low key" prior to her death, by DCF. >>>DeJalyse Alcantara, 6 mo [6] died of hypothermia when her mother fell asleep at the wheel of her running SUV, for hours, in a KFC parking lot under the influence of 6 muscle relaxants, obtained from a friend. Her case was an open DCF case and the child's father could not believe how social services could miss the signs of a mother high every day. >>>Jeremiah Oliver, 5, whose lifeless body found in a suitcase, on the side of a highway, disappeared from his home in the month of September, yet was not reported missing until December when relatives realized he hadn't been seen. [9]Three agency DCF employees were fired and a fourth disciplined after a state investigation revealed missed social worker visits and other failed opportunities to engage with the family. Yet, DCF believes they did not play a role in the child's death. --------------- It is mind boggling that DCF [10] excuses their neglect and poor work from holding some form of responsibility in the death of Jeremiah Oliver. This is EXACTLY the reason that deaths and severe harm to MA children continue to occur, under the "watch" of DCF. They just do not accept self-blame, in any why bother revamping a system they believe works? This is an arrogant attitude and ridiculous to speak such an asinine statement when they fired 3 DCF employees that they found did wrong, yet...absolve the agency itself from any wrong doing? I, and many others, have shed tears in honor of those children, not only for their senseless deaths...but also in knowing it could have been prevented. Obviously, those in charge were too busy to notice or to do their jobs in the interest of those they should have represented. Those tiny souls who could not cry loud enough, nor speak for themselves. We ask, what will be done differently to protect the innocent children? The system is not working and cannot continue as is. Lives are at risk. What is Massachusetts going to do to protect the lives of the future Bella's and Jeremiah's in their care? I know we are getting very sad having to continually make missing posters for children who should never have disappeared while under the watch of DCF, let alone be found murdered. Could it be because of politics, or to save one's job? How can a system fail so many and not make drastic changes? Maybe it's not politics, nor fear of losing your jobs...worse, it may just be other priorities take precedence? That "other things" are much more important for the state to fund? Don't tell us the funding is not available, after all...wasn't it just Boston and the State of Massachusetts who was willing to go all out to host the 2024 summer Olympics? To the [11] tune of $15 BILLION dollars for a two-week event? Seriously? I'm even sicker to my stomach. I hope the people of Massachusetts are too. by CCaron, Nonprofit Founder ### LostNMissing, Inc., is a 501c(3) Nonprofit which assists law enforcement and families of missing, across the country. LNM consists of 22 State Administrators, volunteers and a Board of Directors, of which all are 100% volunteers. Resources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] Manner of death in DCF abuse and neglect cases, 2009 – 2013 (Source: Registry of Vital Records and Statistics / Graph by: Joshua Eaton for NECIR) [9] [10] [11] I

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