While press is beginning to come out that omnibus legislation to overhaul child welfare law and practice in Massachusetts passed today, I haven’t found the actual bill online as yet. Apparently, it passed this afternoon.
Here is the site with the most detail, at least so far:
It appears that the Department of Social Services [DSS] will now be called Department of Children and Families [DCF] and that the office of the Child Advocate gets subpoena powers.
As to whether the “reasonable efforts” required to help struggling families [to keep poverty from being confused with neglect] are clarified or strengthened – or whether this is really a “tough on crime – tough on abuse” bill remains to be seen as I haven’t read it yet.
What is clear is that the legislation is 79 pages long, was powered by the horrible Poutre case, and will have a major impact on child welfare law and practice in our state.