Friday, February 09, 2007

"Except For The 'Dead' Part, We Did Great!"

Those are the sentiments of Massachusetts DSS Denier-In-Chief Harry Spence, reviewing the case of Rebecca Riley.

Here are just a few of his comments:

Spence said his agency, which had been involved with the Riley children since December 2002, is still examining how it handled Rebecca's case, but that so far it appeared his workers did not fail the girl. "We have certainly not found a terrible failure," he said at a press conference at the agency's headquarters in South Boston. "This child did not fall through the cracks nor did Haleigh Poutre fall through the cracks."

Haleigh Poutre, in case you don't know, was the 11-year-old girl in DSS "protection" who, after 16 reports of abuse by her step-losers, was left in the home by DSS. The 17th incident involved a baseball bat and Haleigh ended up in a coma. After less than a week, and with contradictory medical recommendations, DSS went to the state's highest court to demand Haleigh be taken off her feeding tube and allowed to starve to death. Unfortunately(?) for DSS, Haleigh lived anyway. DSS's employees were wrong, their doctors were wrong, and they actively tried to kill a little girl without adequate information. Harry Spence's reaction:

''I believe the department has nothing to be ashamed of," he said.

Everything's OK, nothing to see here, move along, folks. That's what DSS Chief Spence says today. But what did he have to say to the Boston Herald five years ago when he first took the job?

Spence took over at DSS five years ago as the agency was under fire for the cases of other children who died while under its watch, flatly declaring then that he would push for reform. “We make mistakes once, but twice is inexcusable,” he told the Herald at the time. “You have to step up every time.”

By "you," Spence apparently meant "people other than me." Spence won't be stepping up to anything, other than a microphone to protect his job.

If Gov. Patrick lets him keep it, we'll know that Patrick agrees that no cracks were fallen through, no mistakes were made and that, in a Patrick administration, a couple of dead or crippled kids at DSS is just part of the job.