Vernon Hill: Is part of the old St. V’s complex … delapidated? Picket at noon, today!

TODAY, WEDNESDAY, at 12PM: Building Safety Concerns Prompt Informational Picket by Social Workers at Worcester DCF

Central Mass Dept. of Children & Families workers call for immediate health, safety inspection to declare building safe for children and families they serve 
WORCESTER – Social workers and community allies are poised to stage an informational picket TODAY at noon over health and safety concerns at the Department of Children & Families (DCF) Worcester facility. The delegation will elevate its demand for an immediate health and safety inspection of the DCF East and West Offices  – 121 Providence Street in Worcester. Conditions in the partially abandoned building have continued to deteriorate in recent months, leading front-line staff to worry if the facilities are safe for the children and families they serve.

For months, social workers and support staff have expressed concerns over the structural integrity, safety and security of the Department of Children & Families facilities in Worcester. Major leaks have reportedly led to water seeping into elevator shafts and at least one ceiling collapse, raising questions of mold content and air quality. Demolition of portions of the building has left exterior walls exposed to the elements, and many interior doors and locks appear to be malfunctioning – prompting serious concerns over illegal access to DCF facilities and abandoned areas within. Even routine maintenance has fallen behind, with staircases and hallways visibly cluttered. DCF workers penned a final letter outlining these health and safety concerns, calling for a response by Wednesday, June 26. A full response has yet to be received. [See full letter below.]

The Providence Street facility provides a variety of services to Department of Children & Families clients throughout Worcester County – including domestic violence counseling, supervised visits for families and case management for children in foster care.  Today’s informational picket will call on concerned residents to contact their legislators and urge immediate action to inspect and address health and safety concerns at DCF facilities.

WHAT: Informational picket calling for immediate health and safety inspection of Dept. of Children & Families Worcester offices

WHO: Social workers and community advocates urging prompt action to ensure local facilities are safe for the children and families they serve

 WHEN: TODAY, Wed., June 26 at 12:00PM

WHERE: Outside the Department of Children & Families Worcester office: 121 Providence Street – Worcester, MA 01604

 (letter, continued) 

From: Floriani, Tara (DCF)

Sent: Monday, June 17, 2013

To: Prendergast, Kelly (DCF); Hogan, Lian (DCF); Fitzsimons, Paul (DCF)

Cc: MacKinnon, Peter (DCF); Manna, Joseph (DCF); King, Khrystian (DCF)

Subject: Building Safety Concerns


We have comprised a list regarding the safety and wellness of our work environment.  We request the following issues to be address and responded to by Wednesday 06/26/2013. 

The membership is requesting a copy of both State Elevator Inspection Certificates no later than 06/18/2013.  As you know they are not posted in the elevator.  We would like the most current inspection report.  On Friday 06/14/2013 Mr. George Ramian from the Office of State Elevator Inspection had many concerns regarding the status of both elevators, including water running though the elevator shafts, lack of lights, and the water collecting at the base of the elevator.

We request that our local fire department to conduct a comprehensive inspection the safety of the building.  We would also like a mock fire drill to ensure all workers and people from the community know how to exit the building.  We also are requesting a copy of the complete report.

We request a completed assessment from a certified structural engineer, as you know the building has many leaks and has caused damage to the integrity of the building.

We request to have a copy of the current Occupancy Permit.

We are requesting that an air quality assessment be conducted in and the results forwarded to the Union.  We are also are requesting that the temperature in the office be regulated at the State mandated levels.

We are concerned with the lack of exits in this building. The doors that are intended for use malfunction by way jamming and the locking system failing.  We have concerns that people may be accessing unauthorized areas within the building.  We are requesting that all the doors and locks be repaired immediately.

On 06/14/2013 OLSOP assessed the building.  We request a copy of the report.

We also are requesting a written document which outlines and speaks to the overall heath and safety of the building.

 Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.

Tara Floriani, MSW

Department of Children and Families

Intake/Investigation Unit

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