BOSTON (AP) -- Two dozen state lawmakers, including eight Democrats, have sent a letter to Gov. Deval Patrick calling for the resignation of Department of Children and Families Commissioner Olga Roche.

The letter, authored by Republican state Reps. Ryan Fattman of Webster and Leah Cole of Peabody, says Patrick should ask Roche to step down. The House members cite what they call a mishandling of cases and failure to protect children in state care.

The agency has been under scrutiny since the disappearance of a 5-year-old Fitchburg boy, who's now feared dead.

A request to the governor's office for comment on the letter was not immediately answered. Patrick has repeatedly expressed his support for Roche, most recently on Monday when Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker called for the commissioner to step down.