State House & Senate Passes Joint Resolution J.R.H.18

28 January 2016

The House introduced and adopted Joint Resolution J.R.H.18 expressing gratitude for the outstanding service of social workers employed at the Department for Children and Families.

Whereas, social work is a profession designed to help families and individuals navigate the crises or major changes in their lives, and

Whereas, social workers are trained to anticipate emotional and potentially sensitive situations among their clients, and

Whereas, social workers develop professional, yet undeniably personal, relationships with their clients, and

Whereas,the Department for Children and Families (DCF) employs social workers who are assigned to cases throughout Vermont and they are confronted with an ever-expanding caseload, while simultaneously encountering an increasingly confrontational environment of verbal and physical hostility, and

Whereas, the recent challenging difficulties in the working environment of these outstanding and hard-working State employees reached a tragic nadir on Friday, August 7, 2015, when veteran DCF social worker, Lara Sobel, was killed in the parking lot outside the City Center office building in Barre, and

Whereas, the news of Lara Sobel’s tragic death shocked the sensibilities of Vermonters, and

Whereas, the Agency of Human Services is deeply aware of the increasing complexity and security threats of DCF social workers’ caseloads, and

Whereas, threats to the physical safety of DCF social workers, in combination with increasingly large caseloads, hinders their ability to protect Vermont’s children, and

Whereas, DCF social workers are essential to the well-being of many Vermont families and they deserve respect and to be treated with human decency, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly expresses gratitude for the outstanding service of social workers employed at the Department for Children and Families, and be it further


That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Department for Children and Families Commissioner Ken Schatz.

Was taken up and adopted on the part of the House.

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Following the reading of the House Resolution, and the unanimous vote to accept it, DCF Commissioner Ken Schatz, DCF - Family Services Division Deputy Commissioner Cindy Walcott and others DCF staff were recognized by House members with a standing ovation.