Fall River teen’s death is the focus of a hearing on DCF decision-making

FALL RIVER, Mass. — State lawmakers are seeking more information on the death of an autistic 14-year-old Fall River boy named David Almond and the decisions that led to him being reunited with his troubled father, John Michael Almond.

On October 21, EMTs reported to a one-bedroom Fall River apartment where John Almond lived with his girlfriend and two of his triplet sons. David was unresponsive, bruised, emaciated, and wearing an adult diaper filled with waste, police said at the time. His father and live-in girlfriend were charged with neglect and now face second-degree murder charges.

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A 107-page investigative report released in March by the Massachusetts Office of The Child Advocate found that multiple agencies failed David from the courts to schools to the Department of Children and Families. DCF removed David from his father’s custody four times in 2017 alone and was reunified regardless in 2020. About seven months later, David was dead.

The report found hesitation to report concerns of abuse about a DCF-involved family, a lack of inter-agency collaboration, and that DCF allowed for reunification without reviewing the case history.

DCF said following the report’s release that it has already implemented many changes to improve safety for children.

A virtual oversight hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 4.