Harmony Montgomery Report Released By Mass. Office Of Child Advocate

Photo: Courtesy Manchester, NH Police

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A new, 100-page report from the Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) says the child welfare system did not put Harmony Montgomery's safety or needs first when her case made its way through the courts.

The 7-year-old girl was declared missing by police in Manchester, New Hampshire in December 2021, but has not been seen since 2019. The girl's disappearance touched off a firestorm of criticism and investigations, including from New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu.

Harmony Montgomery was placed in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families when she was two months old. From there, she remained in Massachusetts state custody until her father, Adam Montgomery, was granted custody in February 2019. She was last seen later that year, and Montgomery was arrested on second-degree assault and child endangerment charges in January of this year, not long after Harmony's disappearance was brought to local police.

The report from the OCA detailed the failings of the Massachusetts DCF and the Juvenile Court. Among the most stark was that the OCA says the child only spent about 40 hours with her father, in total, over 20 supervised visits before Massachusetts courts granted him full custody.

The report said that the DCF was also at fault — case workers for Harmony spent most of their energy evaluating Crystal Sorey, Harmony's mother, and did little to look at her father's situation or personal history.

The report made some recommendations to both the DCF and the Juvenile Court to avoid a similar situation in the future. Among them, DCF should "develop a comprehensive plan" to make ensure both parents are properly assessed before handing custody over.

WBZ's Laurie Kirby (@LaurieWBZ) looked over the report:

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