Gov. Shumlin Signs Laws to Enhance Protections for Vermont Social Workers

02 June 2016

Joined by Department for Children and Families (DCF) employees, Gov. Peter Shumlin today signed two laws to enhance penalties for threatening or assaulting social workers and provide funding for additional security measures at DCF offices. Both measures were passed in response to the killing of DCF social worker Lara Sobel in August 2015.

The Governor signed S.154, which aligns charges and penalties related to assaulting a social worker to that of assaulting a police officer, first responder, or medical provider – all which carry a stronger penalty than assault of an average person. The legislation also makes it easier for victims of stalking to obtain civil protection orders more swiftly. 

The Governor also signed H.878, which includes $1 million to fund security upgrades at DCF and other state office buildings around the state.

“Lara's dedication to caring for Vermont's most vulnerable children will continue to serve as an inspiration to all of us," Gov. Shumlin said. "These new laws will help ensure the safety of all those who, like Lara, have dedicated themselves to protecting the Vermonters who need it most.”