Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Media alert: On the Air with Fox 25

In approximately 5 minutes I will be interviewed live on the Fox 25 evening news to discuss the legislature's upcoming 2014 agenda.


In Case You Missed It...

I was an in-studio guest on the Fox 25 News last night to discuss the troubling case of 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver of Fitchburg, whose family has been receiving services through the Department of Children and Families since 2011 and who has gone missing since September. Please click on the video below to view the segment in its entirety.


Monday, December 30, 2013

Statement on DCF Missing Child Case

I released the following statement today, following a press conference by Department of Children and Families Commissioner Olga Roche updating the department’s response to the disappearance of 5-year-old Fitchburg resident Jeremiah Oliver:

“Today’s press conference by DCF Commissioner Olga Roche exposed more troubling details about the failure of the department to protect 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver. While the commissioner is right to discharge those at fault from state employment, and to order better scrutiny of certain cases, the situation deserves more.

First, a system that tolerated falsified reports and lies needs to be reviewed independently to ensure that there are no other children who are vulnerable due to lack of home visits or other forms of oversight. In addition, we must all collectively determine what reforms are needed to ensure that no other child goes for months without needed home visits. And we must also continue to hope and pray for the safe return of this young boy.”


MEDIA ALERT: On the Air with Fox 25

I will be appearing live on Fox 25 this afternoon to discuss the disappearance of 5-year-old Fitchburg resident Jeremiah Oliver, whose family has been receiving services through the Department of Children and Families (DCF) since 2011 but who has been missing since September 14th.

During the segment, I will be providing my reaction to today’s press conference by DCF Commissioner Olga Roche and Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary of Children, Youth and Families Kathy Betts announcing “action steps” the agency is taking to “help strengthen families and ensure a safe and secure environment for children.” Earlier this month, I joined with my colleagues in the Senate Republican Caucus in calling for an independent investigation by Auditor Suzanne Bump and/or Inspector General Glenn Cunha into DCF’s failures regarding Oliver’s disappearance.

The segment will air live on Fox 25 today at approximately 4:57 p.m.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

On the Air with NECN

On Friday I was interviewed by NECN Reporter Peter Howe regarding a bill I filed that would authorize Massachusetts' Division of Marine Fisheries to establish a Massachusetts Seafood Marketing Program. To view Friday night's segment please play the posted video below.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” -Charles Dickens

Christmas is the one time of year where everyone has the opportunity to feel like a child again.  It is a special day where strangers become friends, and where loved ones are honored and cherished.  It is my hope that among all the blessings of this day, that we each take a few moments to honor our servicemen and servicewomen who are currently home and overseas protecting this great nation.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Senate Republican Caucus Press Release Regarding DCF

Today the Senate Republican Caucus distributed the following press release regarding a letter sent by the caucus to Auditor Suzanne Bump and Inspector General Glenn Cunha, urging them to begin an independent investigation regarding the services provided by the Department of Children and Families:

Senate Republican Caucus Seeks Independent Investigation of DCF Services

Immediate Review of All Cases Warranted for the Welfare of Children

Boston- Responding to recent reports of the disappearance of a missing 5-year-old Fitchburg child, the Senate Republican Caucus, led by Senator Don Humason (R-Westfield), who is the republican member serving on the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities, is calling for an independent investigation by Auditor Suzanne Bump and/or Inspector General Glenn Cunha into the failures of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) regarding the disappearance of Jeremiah Oliver.

Since September 2011, Jeremiah Oliver and his family have been receiving services from DCF, however, the supervisor and social worker assigned to the family failed to conduct monthly, mandated household checks.  Sadly, Jeremiah Oliver was last seen on September 14th, and his whereabouts remain unknown.

In the December 20th letter to Auditor Bump and Inspector General Cunha, the Senate Republican Caucus wrote “Increasingly, as our understanding of the department’s failure to carry out its mandate expands, there are further growing concerns for all other children in the DCF system.”

On Thursday, December 19th, Commissioner Olga Roche of DCF announced that the department will conduct its own internal review into as many as 40,000 cases, however, citing the need for an independent review, the caucus wrote, “We request and encourage a full review and examination independently or in concert (by the auditor and the inspector general), of the DCF’s practices and procedures so that we can prevent any other similar abuse or problem from occurring.”

The Senate Republican Caucus requests that the investigation include:

·         collecting as much information as possible to assess the risk and safety issues for children in the system;

·         determining how many children have not had direct, monthly contact with a DCF case worker;

·         determining the adequacy of the 110 CMR 6.00 and other pertinent regulations relative to case review procedures for children in foster care and non-foster care settings;

·         determining the adherence to standards in comprehensive assessments and family service plans;

·         determining the Department’s adherence to procedures established under 110 CMR 13.00 for the Case Investigation Unit;

·         assessing the number of service plans initiated as a result of a 51A child abuse or neglect filing or court order;

·         collecting information as to the standard number of cases assigned to social workers and the average number of children assigned to social workers;

·         determining if there has been public access to appropriately redacted reports of the Department's Case Investigation Unit;

·         determining if case management activities and other services provided to children and families were adequate and appropriately adhered with DCF policies and regulations; 

·         referring any relevant finding of a criminal nature to the Attorney General;

·         providing recommendations that may improve the DCF’s policy, regulations, training, or contracted services; and

·         providing procedural recommendations, that when adhered to, will require that DCF acts in a manner that is accountable and open to oversight.

“The nature and scope of these developing circumstances demand independent investigations.  Only through well-developed inquiry can we determine how to best help the staff and management of DCF to protect the lives of children,” the Caucus wrote.



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Honoring Our Firefighters

Today I had the honor of attending the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s 24th Annual “Firefighter of the Year” Award Ceremony.  Governor Deval Patrick, Secretary of Public Safety and Security Andrea Cabral, State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan, and I were all on hand to support and honor firefighters across the Commonwealth for their acts of heroism and bravery.

Among today’s recipients were members of the Gloucester Fire Department: Captain Joseph Aiello, and Firefighters Jonathon Sanger, Charles Scola, James Burke, Robert Rivas, Frank LeClerc, James Hannon, and Paul Hudson, who were recognized for their bravery in trying to rescue a 15-year-old girl in April during a house fire on Summer Street in Gloucester, and three other fires throughout the city earlier this year.

I am deeply appreciative of the efforts of the members of the Gloucester Fire Department and all of those in the fire service throughout our state for their personal commitment and sacrifice on behalf of our safety and well-being.

Posted below are two photos of Gloucester’s firefighters at today’s ceremony; one with Governor Deval Patrick during today’s ceremony, and one with Mayor Carolyn Kirk and myself.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Media Alert: On the Air with Fox 25

This evening at approximately 6:30pm I will once again be a guest on the Fox 25 News.  I will be discussing the disappearance of a 5-year-old Fitchburg child, and the recent firing of two employees of the Department of Children and Families, who were assigned to monitor his family upon allegations of abuse, but failed to do so.

Please tune in to see tonight’s discussion.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Media Alert: Greater Boston with Emily Rooney

Tonight at 7:00pm WGBH’s Greater Boston with host Emily Rooney will be broadcasting a special report on sand erosion.  Last week I was able to sit down with reporter Rupa Shenoy about a sand erosion special commission I sponsored, that is now law, and what actions Massachusetts needs to take to support coastal communities.

Please tune in to Channel 2 at 7:00pm and again at 12:00am tonight to watch Rupa’s special report.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

North Shore Holiday Toy Drive is Tomorrow!

Tomorrow starting at 6:00am I will join with North Shore 104.9 in our annual North Shore Toy Drive.  We will be broadcasting live from 10 different locations throughout the day in an effort to collect as many toys as possible for area charities to go to local children.

This exciting event brings together community officials, local talent, school systems, and even Santa and Mrs. Claus all in the spirit of giving.  All the broadcasts are open to the public, and we would love to see as many new faces as possible this year.

The final broadcast, which is the Cape Ann Savings Bank on Main St. in Gloucester, will even feature special guests for children!  Come for the food, for the entertainment, or to take pictures with Santa Claus, but most importantly please come to drop off a toy or gift card.  Through all of our hard work, we can truly make a child’s Christmas a special one.

To view all of the live broadcast locations, please click the schedule above.  To read a recent press release that I distributed earlier this month, please click here.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Collecting Toys for North Shore Children

For the past several years I have worked in partnership with local radio station North Shore 104.9 FM to conduct a month long toy drive to benefit children of the North Shore, and on Thursday, December 12th we will be broadcasting live from 6:00am-6:00pm throughout the North Shore for one final push to collect toys before the holidays.  This year we hope to collect more toys than we have in the past due to the increase in need.

Toys collected will all be provided to the charities in the communities from which they are donated.  Some of those charities include Toys for Tots, Beverly Bootstraps, Action, Inc., and others.  I’d like to encourage all of my constituents to stop by at one of the locations and join in on the festivities.  The day will include music, interviews of state and local officials, food, and special guests.  All are welcome to attend and to even take pictures with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus!

Posted below is the press release that I released today.  It contains a complete schedule and toy drop-off locations.  I hope to see you on the 12th!

North Shore 104.9 & Senator Bruce Tarr Hit the Road for 18th Annual North Shore Holiday Toy Drive
Toy Drive Expected to Collect Thousands of Toys for Charities on the North Shore

Beverly- With the need for toys at an all-time high for local children, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and North Shore 104.9 will once again broadcast live all day from several locations on the North Shore to collect as many toys, gift cards, and monetary donations as possible to fulfill that need.

This year’s Holiday Toy Drive will take place on Thursday, December 12th from 6:00am to 6:00pm from ten locations on the North Shore. The live broadcast will feature local entertainment, school choirs and bands, great food, and interviews with local officials.  Even Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will be lending a helping hand to support the cause!  The Paper Store has also partnered once again with Senator Tarr and North Shore 104.9 to present the 18th annual North Shore Holiday Toy Drive broadcast.

“The holiday season gives us all a chance to show just how much we care about our neighbors and the children in our communities,” said Senator Tarr.  “By joining together this year as we have in the past we can make a real difference in the lives of children who need to know that we think it’s important for them to have a happy holiday.  It’s about more than a toy; it’s about knowing they’re not forgotten.”

North Shore 104.9 President Todd Tanger stated, “We are thrilled to be a part of this wonderful event. The North Shore Holiday Toy Drive is such an exciting event that brings holiday joy to deserving children right here in the North Shore. We thank everyone for their overwhelming generosity and kind contributions, especially Bruce Tarr for his continued efforts and energy year after year. We appreciate listeners and clients allowing us to break from normal programming to broadcast this event and hope they help us bring some holiday joy to the lives of children on the North Shore this holiday season.”

The scheduled live broadcast locations, which are open to the public, are as follows (times are subject to change):

6:00am Capitol Diner 431 Union Street, Lynn, MA
Family & Children's Service of Greater Lynn, Inc.

7:30am Devereux House, Marblehead 39 Lafayette Street, Marblehead, MA
Toys being collected for: Marblehead Counseling Center

8:15am The Paper Store, Swampscott 435 Paradise Road Swampscott, MA
Toys being collected for: Toys for Local Children (The Paper Store in Swampscott will only collect toys on December 12th.)

9:00am Flint Public Library, Middleton 1 South Main Street, Middleton, MA
Toys being collected for: Neighbors in Need

10:30am Dawson’s True Value Hardware 50 Enon Street, Beverly, MA
Toys being collected for: Beverly Bootstraps

12:00pm First Ipswich Bank 31 Market Street, Ipswich, MA
Toys being collected for: Action Inc./ Ipswich Caring

1:15pm Woodman’s of Essex 121 Main Street, Essex, MA
Toys being collected for: Action Inc.

2:00pm Manchester Athletic Club 8 Atwater Avenue, Manchester, MA
Toys being collected for: Pathways For Children

3:30pm Shalin Liu Performance Center 37 Main Street, Rockport, MA
Toys being collected for: Action Inc.

5:00pm Cape Ann Savings Bank 109 Main Street, Gloucester, MA
Toys being collected for: Action Inc.

In addition to the above broadcast locations, the below locations are welcoming any and all donations for the Annual North Shore Holiday Toy Drive. Please note that North Shore 104.9 will not be broadcasting from the below locations:

Wenham Museum

Cape Ann Savings Bank, Manchester

Marblehead Community/Aging Center

Abbott House, Lynn

Rosewood, Peabody

Align Credit Union, Danvers

First Ipswich Bank: Essex, Rowley, Gloucester

Honey Dew Donuts, Danvers

Delande Lighting, Salem

Beverly Chamber of Commerce

Additional toy donation locations listed at www.NorthShore1049.com.

Toys can be dropped off at any of these locations now through Friday, December 20th.  For further information, please call JoAnn Gillette at North Shore 104.9 at 978-927-1049 extension 19 or Senator Bruce Tarr at 617-722-1600.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Media Alert: WBZ Radio’s “Nightside” with Dan Rea

Tonight at 9:00pm I will be joining “Nightside” host Dan Rea to discuss the tragic case of Puppy Doe, and the PAWS Act, the comprehensive legislation I have filed to address animal abuse.  If you have any questions or comments please call in during tonight’s segment by dialing (617) 254-1030.

To learn more about Puppy Doe and the PAWS Act, please click here to read a previous post regarding the issue.