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Employees of state's child welfare agency call for steps to reduce social worker caseload

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LOWELL, Massachusetts — Employees of the state's child welfare agency are stepping up demands for state officials to take action to reduce social worker caseload.

Members of the union representing social workers and other employees of the Department of Children and Families held an informational picket on Tuesday outside the agency's regional office in Lowell. A similar demonstration is planned Wednesday in Boston.

The agency has been under scrutiny since 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver of Fitchburg went missing last year. His body was discovered last week by the side of a highway in Sterling.

Union spokesman Jason Stephany tells the Lowell Sun that cases have risen by about 5,000 in the past 12 months while the number of social workers has remained the same.

Gov. Deval Patrick on Tuesday again voiced his support for DCF Commissioner Olga Roche.

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