In recent years, there’s been a lot of criticism aimed at Vermont’s Department of Children and Families. Heck, there’s even a Facebook page entitled “VT and DCF Exposed,” which is a compendium of every news item, large or small, that reflects poorly on DCF. The coherence of its argument is best encapsulated in a comment posted by one Jeannie Flanagan Marchese:
Personal opinion, dcf takes kids away that shouldn’t be. Leaves kids that should be taken!! It’s a crap shoot!!! No excuses for them!!! Sorry just have seen a lot and read a lot!!
Okay, so DCF simultaneously does too much and too little. Got it.
Well, if the senseless tragedy of last Friday’s quadruple murder should teach us anything, it’s that DCF has an impossible job, as do its overburdened, oft-criticized social workers.
Maybe I missed it, but I don’t recall a wave of hiring in the wake of those reports.
And now, the state is apparently focused on how to improve safety and security for social workers. VTDigger reports that Governor Shumlin has “ordered a review of security protocols.” (Kneejerk reaction: a horse gets stolen, lock the barn doors.)
Which is fine, but here’s an idea: instead of passing another law or spending money on, I don’t know, metal detectors or security guards or kevlar vests, how about we give the social workers the resources they need to do their frickin’ jobs?
And, at the same time, how about we suspend the Monday morning quarterbacking and acknowledge that social workers spend their days trying to deal with Vermont’s most troubled residents — a task most of us wouldn’t dream of taking on, and an effort certain to end (occasionally, very occasionally) in failure or tragedy?
That’d be a fitting tribute to Lara Sobel.