Massachusetts Department of Children and Families has consistently ranked among the worst child welfare systems in the United States. The systemic failures are the focus of “Broken,” a documentary film by Bill Lichtenstein.

“Broken” delves into the systems designed to protect children, which too often fall short — sometimes with fatal consequences. In advance of a special concert to raise funds for the film, Lichtenstein joined Boston Public Radio on Tuesday to speak about the documentary.

“The project looks at the state of the Massachusetts child protection, foster care and family court systems set against child welfare nationally. It’s a story that I’ve wanted to do for some time,” Lichtenstein said.

His passion for child welfare issues dates back to his early career at ABC News.

“In the early ’80s, [I] spent nine months undercover in Oklahoma, where they had a system where children, if they couldn’t live at home for any reason, were put into these state institutions … and because of our reporting, completely overhauled the whole system,” Lichtenstein said.

He spoke of the alarming secrecy around child welfare proceedings in Massachusetts.

“You can’t get the names of the attorneys. You cannot get the judges [names]. The attorneys are forbidden to discuss it,” he said. “So that secrecy, I think, creates a system where there’s very little accountability.”

He spoke of a recent case to emphasize the system’s flaws. Harmony Montgomery, a 5-year-old girl, was killed by her father after the court gave him custody despite his violent criminal history.

“The question is, how could that have happened?” Lichtenstein said. “What went on in that custody hearing that the judge decided, despite all that, to give custody to that father? The answer is ‘We can’t tell you. It’s secret.’”

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has since agreed to hear arguments for access to the transcript of Harmony Montgomery’s custody hearing.

“There’ll be oral arguments in October,” Lichtenstein said. “We believe, for the first time, it will help open up the system.”

“Broken” is expected to feature at festivals early next year, followed by a limited theatrical release and a rollout through public television in 2025.