BOSTON (WHDH) - Lawmakers on Beacon Hill are holding an oversight hearing into the Department of Children and Families following the death of a Fall River teenager living with autism.
The Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons and Disabilities was slated to hold the virtual hearing at 10 a.m. after a report by the Office of the Child Advocate found that DCF missed key warning signs and made a decision that “was not clinically justified” when it returned David Almond and his brother to the home the agency had removed them from about three years earlier.
David died at the age of 14 on Oct. 21, 2020, less than a year after he was reunited with his family. He had been living in a one-bedroom apartment with his father, John Almond, and his father’s girlfriend, Jacyln Marie Coleman.
The Chief Medical Examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide caused by “failure to thrive and malnutrition due to starvation and neglect in an adolescent with autism spectrum disorder.”
“We were not able to get answers from the senior members of the DCF area office team regarding why they rejected the recommendations of their own staff, the recommendations of the providers who were serving this family to rush the reunification process,” Maria Mossaides, Director of the Child Advocate, said during the hearing. “They did not provide adequate information despite our repeated efforts to confront them with the facts of the case.”
John and Coleman are currently being held without bail in connection with David’s death.
They have pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder and neglect of a disabled person resulting in serious bodily injury.
As of 12 p.m., the hearing remained ongoing.
This is a developing news story; stay with 7NEWS for updates online and on-air.
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