State Investigating Caseworker Who Copied and Pasted Bella Bond’s DCF File

A worker involved in her case is now in the crosshairs of investigators.

The Department of Children and Families is investigating an unnamed caseworker at the center of the Bella Bond case who copied and pasted old reports into Bond’s case files. The caseworker’s reports contained information from a 2006 report on Rachelle Bond, Bella’s mother, and resulted in the Department of Children and Families electing to close her case file in September 2013. Bella was born in 2012, years after the state revoked Rachelle Bond’s custody of her first two children.

Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters on Thursday that the caseworker in question could face discipline when the investigation is complete.

“We’re doing our homework, not just on that, but on the other cases and also checking out any of the supervisory stuff that was associated with it,” said Baker.

Baker urged restraint on blaming the employee and suggested Bella’s case is perhaps an example of a systemic problem in DCF.

“I really wonder when everybody says ‘Let’s fire the person at the bottom of the pile,’ if the organization doesn’t have in place, which this one didn’t, updated practice standards,” said Baker.

Bella’s body was found in a garbage bag on Deer Island in June. Her body was only identified after a nationwide campaign that included billboards and a massive amount of media attention. Rachelle Bond, 40, and her boyfriend, Michael McCarthy, 35, are both facing charges related to Bond’s death. The couple had a long history of criminal activity and dependency on state social services prior to the death of Bella Bond. Rachelle Bond’s criminal history was so lengthy that it could not be listed in the final report by the Office of the Child Advocate.

The toddler’s death is the latest in a series of high profile tragedies for the embattled social services agency. Baker has made reform of the agency a centerpiece of his young administration.


Garrett Quinn
Garrett Quinn Garrett Quinn, Boston Magazine bmagdigital+gquinn@gmail.com