Email correspondence provided to NECIR by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families in response to a Public Records Law request.

Information denied, children endangered

Massachusetts receives about $500,000 annually through CAPTA for improving child protective systems. Yet the commonwealth is one of only two states in the U.S. that did not provide timely child fatality data for the federal government’s report, "Child Maltreatment 2013." State officials attributed the delays largely to waiting for death information from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, which has notoriously long delays in its system. NECIR’s effort to obtain fatality data illustrates the protracted challenges in extracting such information.

Dr. Michael F. Holick

Critics blast BU doctor for child abuse defense

A Boston University doctor with a history of butting heads with the establishment is irking child abuse specialists nationwide by testifying in defense of parents accused of maltreatment — claiming that a rare genetic disease, not parental wrongdoing, is leading to children’s bone fractures. Dr. Michael F. Holick’ testimony — currently at issue in a child abuse case in Maine — is prompting concern among pediatricians who say he has no scientific proof to back up his claims and is providing covers to potentially dangerous parents putting children further at risk.

Jeremiah Oliver

Report: Hundreds of at-risk Mass. kids are revictimized

Allegations of child abuse outside of children’s homes rose by 16 percent in Massachusetts in 2013, according to a new state report, providing fresh incentive for Governor-elect Charlie Baker and his administration to continue focusing on vulnerable children after a tumultuous year for child welfare officials.

DCF Logo

Mass. appeals court upholds ruling dismissing DCF lawsuit

A nonprofit’s effort to improve Massachusetts' struggling child welfare system hit another roadblock this week with an appeals court decision that closed the door on an effort to get the federal court to oversee reform. The court on Dec. 15 upheld a lower court decision dismissing a lawsuit filed against the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. Chief Judge Sandra Lynch of the US First Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in the 40-page decision that a district court judge – while pointing out major deficiencies in the child welfare system – was correct in dismissing the suit filed by the New York-based national advocacy organization, Children’s Rights.

A toy crib

Unexplained infant deaths to be reported to state social workers

Each year, dozens of Massachusetts children die suddenly and unexpectedly. But new guidelines — released in a report filed on the medical examiner’s website earlier this fall — already are prompting concern from some families and groups involved in the prevention of unexpected infant deaths, which include sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, as well as accidental suffocation and entrapment, and other unexplained causes.