Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday that "systemic failures" prevented state Department of Children and Families workers from noticing horrific abuse suffered by a 7-year-old Hardwick boy at the hands of his own father.
"I'm saying that the state failed him," Baker said of Jack Loiselle, who was found unconscious in his room in July and remains in a coma. Officials say his father, Randall Lints, beat and starved the boy.
A 20-page DCF report released Friday afternoon found "inadequate case oversight, inadequate practices... led to the failure to protect the child adequately." It said the case was "an indication of systemic failures both internal and external to DCF."
The report found the department failed to pull together multiple abuse reports that ultimately led to the failure to adequately protect the child. It also said the department did some things right, including carrying out appropriate visits, filing required reports, and delivering extensive services to the parent and child.
"One hundred and ten visits, so many eyes on the child, nobody putting the whole picture together. It certainly implies systemic failures," Baker said.
The governor promised that systemwide improvements that will be implemented starting now.
"I know firsthand there are many people working within the department who do the right thing," Baker said. "But systemic issues... make it absolutely clear that we must do much more to live up to the aspirations we all have for the agency itself and especially for the kids it works with."
He said by Jan. 1, DCF will once again have a Central Massachusetts region separate from the Worcester office.
DCF took custody of the boy on July 14 and brought him to a hospital after Lints called 911 to say his son was unresponsive. The boy weighed 38 pounds, well below average for his age, and appeared dehydrated and starving. He also had bleach burns on his hands and knees.
Baker said Friday that at this point, the boy is medically stable, but that's all he knows.
Lints has pleaded not guilty to assault and child endangerment charges. He was ordered held on $200,000 cash bail.