Our state is grieving the tragic and untimely death of Lara Sobel

26 August 2015

Dear Fellow Vermonters, 

Our state is grieving the tragic and untimely death of Lara Sobel, a wife, mother, friend, neighbor, and social worker at the Department for Children and Families. Our hearts go out to the entire Sobel-Faryniarz family as they grieve this devastating loss. Words cannot express the depth of sorrow we feel for Lara’s husband, daughters, and entire family.

We, as Lara's coworkers, are also grieving. Lara’s dedication to keeping children safe and supporting families is shared by countless other individuals at DCF, across state government, and many community organizations. We saw this in the crowd of hundreds who attended a vigil organized by the Vermont State Employee Association. We had the honor of witnessing it at Lara’s funeral service, where a ballroom filled to overflowing with people touched by Lara’s life.

The many emails, calls, and other words of support have made it a little bit easier to pick up the pieces and go to another home visit or answer a late-night emergency call. Again and again, we have been heartened at the incredible outpouring of support for Lara’s family and for the work that she did at DCF over the last 14 years. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

The sense of unity I’ve witnessed over the past two weeks demonstrates our collective strength, our common purpose, and our determination to move forward together. We do so because we must: for the children who need to be protected, for the families that need our help, and for Lara. 

Ken Schatz, Commissioner
Vermont Department for Children and Families