Suspects Sought in Connection to Child Protective Services Impersonator

VERMONT STATE POLICE

VERMONT DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN and FAMILIES

Waterbury, VT –Today, December 4, 2012, Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Vermont State Police (VSP) discussed growing concerns about a series of suspicious incidents that have transpired related to suspects impersonating DCF employees. The most recent incident occurring on December 3 in Sunderland.

On October 29, the Vermont State Police received a report from the St. Johnsbury area in which a Caucasian female came to a residence at the Mountain View Apartments saying she was a DCF worker and was investigating a report of child abuse. The female suspect was granted access to the home; she inspected the child and left the premises without further incident. The female suspect was seen operating silver sedan, unknown make, model, or registration.

On December 1, the Lyndonville Police Department received a report in Lyndonville on Valley Lane that three woman (one African American and two Caucasian) came to the home claiming to be from “Human Services” (or “Home Health”) and said they were “following up on a report that was made up the road”. The male resident said the suspects inquired after the female resident, who was not home. When the female resident was not home, they left the premises without further incident. They failed to show any identification and never exited their vehicle, which was described as a dark blue Ford Escape with New York plates.

Most recently, on December 3, the Vermont State Police received a report in Sunderland that three people (one female and two males) showed up at a residence on Phyller Dee Lane. The suspects advised the grandmother that the child’s parents were under investigation by “child protection services”. The suspects asked to search the residence and actually picked up the child for inspection.  When the grandmother resisted their advances, the suspects insinuated that they may be back to take the child into custody and the child could go into foster care. The suspects then became nervous and left in two vehicles, one grey sedan and one maroon sedan, bearing unknown plates.

These incidents are under investigation by detectives with the VSP Bureau of Criminal Investigation. If anyone has information related to these incidents or suspects, please call the Vermont State Police at the St. Johnsbury Barracks (802-748-3111) or the Shaftsbury Barracks (802-442-5421). To submit an anonymous tip, send a text to “CRIMES” (274637) with keyword: VTIPS; or submit your anonymous tip online at www.vtips.info.

Investigators, in conjunctions with DCF, want families to be aware of the follow safety precautions:

  • All DCF employees have identification badges that they carry with them during official business.
  • Citizens are encouraged to ask to have this identification produced to verify the employee. 
  • DCF workers cannot take emergency custody of a child without a court order.
  • If someone claims to have a court order to take custody of a child, ask to see the court document.
  • If you suspect someone is impersonating a DCF employee, call 911 immediately.

 

When more information becomes available, an update will be issued. The original press releases for the October incident is included below.

 

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Vermont State Police, Public Information Officer Stephanie Dasaro – 802-241-5277

Vermont Department of Children and Families, Karen Shea, Child Protection and Field Operations Director – 802-769-2053

Released: December 4, 2012

Safety Precautions

If an employee from the Department for Children and Families visits your home, he or she is expected to be wearing or carrying a state-issued identification badge. Before you let the worker into your home:

  1. Ask to see his/her State identification badge.

  2. Ask what district office he/she works for, look up the phone number and call the office to confirm.

  3. If the worker wants to take custody of a child, ask to see the court order.

  4. If you suspect someone is impersonating a DCF worker, call your local police or 911 immediately.

  5. Follow up with a call to your local DCF Family Services District Office.