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April 29, 2014

Child welfare chief resigns after kids' deaths

(Continued)

Patrick said he was as upset as anyone about the deaths.

"I don't have confidence at this point in the agency and I'm very worried about the agency," Patrick said Monday. "My confidence in the whole organization has been rattled."

Patrick said his top concern is ensuring the welfare of children under DCF care.

Authorities say the family of a Fitchburg baby who died over the weekend was being monitored by state child welfare officials. They say 2-week old Bailey Irish was brought to the hospital on Saturday morning by her parents. She was pronounced dead a short time later.

In an unrelated case, a DCF spokeswoman says a fax from Grafton police about possible harm to another infant who later died, 4-week-old Aliana Lavigne, was misplaced for six days.

The agency said it's unacceptable that the fax went undiscovered. The department is trying to determine the best method of communicating reports electronically including linking faxes up to email for more timely delivery.

But the agency also said mandated reporters are required to verbally report allegations of abuse or neglect to DCF — something they said police failed to do.

The Grafton police chief acknowledged police should have called DCF, but he also defended his officers, saying the agency is trying to deflect blame.

In the third case, Jeremiah was last seen in September but wasn't reported missing until December. Police said his death appeared to be a homicide. The boy's mother and her boyfriend are facing charges in connection with his disappearance but not his death.

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