Strengthening DCF

Below are documents related to  improvements needed, both at DCF and across Vermont's child protection system, to keep both children and child welfare workers safe.

Improvements Needed to Keep Child Welfare Workers Safe

Read this powerful document put together by the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute: Voices from the Field on Worker Safety . It gives voice to child welfare staff from all over the United States and Canada, acknowledging the struggles and sacrifices these professionals make every day as they do the difficult, meaningful work of engaging with families and protecting children.  It also advocates for advancing worker safety and the range of resources needed to effectively support the child welfare workforce.

Improvements Needed to Keep Children Safe

2015 Child & Family Services Review

 The Children's Bureau conducts periodic reviews of state child welfare systems to ensure conformity with federal child welfare requirements, determine what is actually happening to children and families as they are engaged in child welfare services, and assist states in helping children and families achieve positive outcomes.  After a CFSR is completed, states develop a Program Improvement Plan (PIP) to address areas in their child welfare services that need improvement.

  • Click here to read the 2015 Child and Family Services Review Final Report.

DCF Response to Reports from Casey Family Programs & the Vermont Citizen’s Advisory Board

The deaths of Dezirae Sheldon and Peighton Geraw in 2014 caused all of us to question what we could have done to prevent their deaths. In trying to answer this question, Vermont’s Child Protection System has undergone an unprecedented number of reviews and inquiries. 

  • This report is focused on internal changes and plans in response to the evaluations.

Report from Casey Family Programs: Assessment of Safety Decision Making

Following the deaths of Dezirae Sheldon and Peighton Geraw in 2014, the DCF Commissioner asked Casey Family Programs, a nationally-renowned child welfare foundation, to help the department conduct a thorough review of its child safety practices, assess the Family Services Division’s strengths and challenges, and recommend actions that could improve child safety outcomes in abuse and neglect cases. 

Report from Vermont Citizen’s Advisory Board: Child Death Review Report

Following the deaths of Dezirae Sheldon and Peighton Geraw, Governor Shumlin authorized VCAB to conduct a thorough review of both cases.  He asked them to determine whether child protection workers at DCF and other involved agencies followed existing policies and procedures; whether the existing policies and procedures were adequate, and what other observations they could offer.

Report to Governor Shumlin From Acting AHS Secretary Harry Chen: Actions to Strengthen the Department for Children and Families’ Focus on Vulnerable Children and Families

Following the deaths of Dezirae Sheldon and Peighton Geraw, Governor Shumlin charged the AHS Secretary with reviewing DCF’s structure and operations and making recommendations to improve the Commissioner’s ability to focus on protecting children and supporting families.

Public Hearings held by the Governor's Council on Pathways from Poverty

In August and September of 2014, the Council sought public comments on ways the Agency of Human Services could improve the delivery of services to families with children served by DCF.

Below are summaries of recommendations from the two public hearings:

  • Click here to read recommendations from the August 28th hearing
  • Click here to read recommendations from the September 5th hearing

Other Documents

  • Click here to read former DCF Commissioner Dave Yacovone's testimony before the Legislative Panel on Child Protection.

We remain committed to ensuring the safety, protection and well-being of Vermont’s children and our child welfare professionals.

Podcast: Inside DCF

Listen to this podcast, called "Inside DCF", produced by Erica Heilman on Rumblestrip Vermont. It offers an inside look at the difficult work caseworkers with the department's Family Services Division do every day with children and families.  Please listen when you have the time and space to absorb its impact.