Department of Children and Families Head Olga Roche Resigns

Deputy Commissioner Named as Agency’s Interim Leader

The state’s Health and Human Services Secretary has accepted the resignation of Olga Roche, the embattled commissioner of the Department of Children and Families.

Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz made the announcement at a news conference Tuesday morning.

The move came just one day after House Speaker Robert DeLeo called for Roche’s resignation, citing what he said was the agency’s “mismanagement” of cases.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Deputy Commissioner Erin Deveney was appointed interim commissioner until a permanent replacement for Roche is named.

Erin Deveney spoke after being named DCF’s interim commissioner.

Governor Deval Patrick also spoke at the news conference and said of Roche: “It’s clear from the events this weekend that she no longer has the confidence of the public or her staff.”

Patrick had previously not accepted Roche’s efforts to resign, insisting that she was more than capable, but he back off of those assertions a bit during the press conference.

Two more children under the agency’s care have died in the past week.

Those deaths follow the high-profile case of 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver, who vanished for nearly a year while under DCF care. The ongoing investigation revealed that caseworkers failed to conduct home visits. Jeremiah’s body was found April 18 near a wooded area beside Interstate 190 in Sterling.