To the editor:
In the mid-1980s as regional director of the Northeast Region of what was then called the state Department of Social Services, I recruited Olga Roche as the area director for the Lawrence area. Her previous employer had high regard for her integrity. She performed in an exceptional manner, despite many problems at that time. I found her to be honest and direct. She was a problem-solver. As years passed and after my retirement, she continued to be a leader and was promoted through the ranks.
I applaud Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanwicz, as well as Gov. Deval Patrick for keeping her. Never would she place a child or family in harm’s way. The vast majority of the staff are professionals who often perform well in complex human situations. This is an agency that seeks to do everything possible to protect children. Every social worker worries about what can go wrong. Sadly, sometimes human behavior is not possible to predict. I have not spoken with Olga for a couple years and do not know the specifics of this case, obviously. But I have confidence in her ability and that of the administration to learn from what has happened and to make the appropriate changes in policy and practice. This is what we all want and expect.