Who can call the OCA for help?
Anyone who has a concern regarding a child receiving state services can call the OCA.
What is the best way to contact the OCA?
If you have concerns regarding the care of a child receiving state services, please call, fax, email, or send a letter to the OCA using the contact information on this page.
Is the OCA Complaint Line open 24/7?
No, OCA Complaint Line calls are returned Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (excluding state and federal holidays). Callers are asked to leave a message with their name, phone number, and a brief message. Due to the volume of calls it can take up to three business days to receive a response.
How can the OCA help me?
The OCA can listen to concerns, help navigate the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and provide information on resources and services that may be of help.
What are the OCA’s limitations?
The OCA cannot provide legal advice nor substitute its judgment for that of the child-serving agency or court.
Does the OCA provide direct advocates for children who need them?
The OCA does not assign individual advocates to adults or children, however the OCA can work with an individual over the phone to determine what information and resources will provide the assistance needed.
How do I file a Report of Abuse or Neglect (51A) if I am concerned that a child is being harmed?
Anyone can report child abuse or neglect by calling the Child-at-Risk Hotline at 1-800-792-5200. The caller/reporter has the option to remain anonymous.
What can I do if I feel that my social worker is not listening to my concerns?
If an individual has already voiced a concern and feels that they are not receiving an adequate response, they have the right to speak with the next level of management in the “chain of command” within DCF.
The OCA suggests that instead of going straight to the highest level of management an individual start with the supervisor and managers as they will have a better understanding of the case.
Can the OCA provide me with the name of the individual who holds the positions within the chain of command?
No, the OCA does not have a database that contains personal information of DCF employees. In order to reach the appropriate person within the chain an individual must call the area office that the child’s case is out of and ask for the SUP, APM, ACM or DOA on the child’s case. The contact information for each area office can be found here.
If I have gone up the levels of management within DCF and am still not satisfied with the response, who can I contact?
The Ombudsman’s Office is an option to raise concerns regarding DCF. The office can be contacted at any time of one’s involvement with the DCF; it provides the following services:
responds to inquiries or issues of clients, foster and adoptive parents, advocates, legislators, and other concerned citizens regarding agency programs, policies or service delivery;
mediates and resolves these as possible;
monitors the content of contacts for patterns indicating systemic problems or weaknesses;
compiles and utilizes this information along with suggested policy or programmatic changes to the Commissioner and other agency staff as appropriate.;
An individual can reach the Ombudsman’s Office by calling 617-748-2444 or sending an email to DCFOmbudsman@state.ma.us. Please leave them a message if connected to the voicemail. The office receives a high volume of calls but they make sure to call each caller back.