The Department of Children and Families has recently moved some of its field offices from city centers to areas that are not as accessible to parents who have lost custody of their children and are attempting to participate in visits with their children.
The Boston Globe’s Kay Lazar chronicled this concerning trend in a recent article, and Michael Dsida, deputy chief counsel for Committee for Public Counsel Services provided insight.
“Our clients are … poor and disproportionately dependent on public transit or the kindness of friends,” Dsida said. “When [public transit] is taken away or significantly scaled back, it makes it harder for them to see their children and their children to see them.”
A letter sent by CPCS attorney Catherine Sinnott to DCF was also quoted in Lazar’s article.
In a blunt letter to DCF, the state public defender’s agency said the Lowell relocation to Chelmsford “has been a disastrous move for the families that DCF serves.” The letter describes significant gaps in the schedule for the single bus line that stops close to the new office park in Chelmsford. And parents are expected to play with their children in grim, windowless rooms.
“Visits are bleak at the DCF facility,” it says. “There is nothing to engage a family near the Chelmsford office, no outdoor playground, no local fast food chain, no urban street to stroll along and window shop.”