Gov. Deval Patrick has brought in an independent investigator to conduct a full review of the state Department of Children and Families, under fire for failing to properly monitor a 5-year-old Fitchburg boy who's been missing for months and is presumed dead.

The review by the Child Welfare League of America will take several months and ensure that the department has the best policies and procedures in place to protect children in state care.

The league, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit whose members include nearly 800 public and private agencies nationwide that work with children.

The review will examine the agency's policies and practices and scrutinize supervision and management, home visits, processing of reports of abuse and neglect.

The review is expected to lead to recommendations for changes.