DCF Workers & Others Concerned About Spike In Number Of Windham County Children In Need Of Foster Care

December 2, 2016

December 2, 2016


VTDigger published a story on November 28 about Windham County is experiencing a 50% spike this year in the number of County children needing foster care. In the piece, the supervisor of the Brattleboro DCF Office, Lisa Keller, explains how the rise in children in need is causing time management and other issues for many frontline DCF workers.

From the story:

“The workload is beyond anything I could ever imagine, and I am doing my worst work with my community partners — not returning phone calls, not returning emails because I’m trying to put out fires,” Keller explains. “There’s very little rest…but you all are working way above and beyond.

She adds that there aren’t enough foster parents to go around, and that those who take on the role are sometimes so overwhelmed that they return a child to DCF. When that happens, Keller says, “I want to be angry, but I get it.”

Keller also acknowledges that drug use is a big problem in her county, like many others, but she reminds that other long-standing problems remain as well.

“It’s still the same issues that were there when I started 26 years ago,” Keller says. “The households where there’s domestic violence, the households where there’s a parent with a severe mental illness. Trauma…is part of it. Parents who have developmental delays.”

Note: Many VSEA DCF members across Vermont are still grappling with rising caseloads, which means this group of workers will once again have to make their way to the State House to continue to lobby for some remedy to address the problem. Safety also remains high on the list of priorities for frontline DCF workers.

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