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Waltham Woman Suing DCF Over Acton Toddler's Death

The lawsuit alleges the DCF ignored warnings about the child's mother.

Kaydn Hancock (Credit: 7News)
Kaydn Hancock (Credit: 7News)

By Ryan Grannan-Doll

A Waltham woman is suing the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, alleging the state failed to protect her great-nephew from abuse by his mother.

Andrea Rizzitano of Waltham, in a federal lawsuit, claims the DCF failed to protect her toddler great-nephew from his Acton mother, according to 7News. The mother, Christina Hancock, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter of the child, Kaydn, in 2010. 

Hancock was sentenced  to 8 to 10 years in jail after the 26-year-old Acton mother pleaded guilty on Feb. 28, 2013 to involuntary manslaughter in the death of her young son in 2010.

"[DCF's] mission should be to protect children. It isn't. DCF is a political organization and they cater to the rights of biological parents even when they are abusing and killing their children," Rizzitano told 7News.

Rizzatano told 7News the DCF repeatedly ignored warnings of Hancock's alleged abuse and negligence of her child. However, DCF ignored the warnings, Rizzitano said.

A federal judge is considering whether to dismiss the lawsuit, according to 7News. 

Gov. Deval Patrick told the Boston Herald he is considering an independent probe of DCF. The lawsuit comes in the wake the DCF mishandling the case of Jeremiah Oliver. Oliver, from Fitchburg, disappeared last year and was never located. 

Julie Miller January 08, 2014 at 08:28 PM
This case sounds heartbreaking, indeed. However, I am apprehensive, with cases that have recently arisen concerning the DCF's' failure to remove a child from an unsafe setting, that the pendulum may swing the other direction, with families and parents being torn asunder and denied their rights, as in the Justina Pelletier case, (in this writer's opinion). In a recent interview with Maria Stefanos of FOX News, AG Martha Coakley said that she would like to see DCF split into two separate sections, one for child protection (read removal from a family), and one for keeping families intact. I have to ask," How exactly would that would work out"? I would think that one agency needs to keep that creative tension in mind when working on a case, and having that duel mission is actually a good thing. I do laud, however, that Governor Patrick is calling for an investigation. Well funded reform, strong policies, hiring the expertise needed, and having more oversight would be a welcome relief.

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