November 18, 2015
This morning, VSEA Social Worker Trissie Casanova was at the State House to deliver three key worker safety recommendations to a committee of lawmakers charged with exploring how to enhance child protection in Vermont.
Here is the press release VSEA issued, following Casanova’s testimony:
When the Joint Legislative Child Protection Oversight Committee convened today for its final meeting before the 2016 legislative session, Vermont State Employees Association (VSEA) Legislative Specialist Nancy Lynch and social worker/VSEA member Patricia “Trissie” Casanova were in the room to present lawmakers with three primary worker safety recommendations frontline Department for Children and Families (DCF) employees want to see enacted.
“These are recommendations that were developed by the experts, meaning the frontline social workers who are out there every day, all across Vermont, trying to ensure the safety of our children,” said VSEA Executive Director Steve Howard. “Their recommendations are based on a lot of research about best practices in use at both the state and federal level, and VSEA is hopeful all three will be adopted and implemented.
The three primary recommendations VSEA social workers asked the committee to enact were:
1) Impose a caseload cap for all DCF Family Services Division social workers with the following stipulations:
a) For Caseworkers – Open, ongoing cases, not to exceed 12 at any given time;
b) For Investigators – No more than 100 investigations per year; and
c) For Supervisors – Supervise no more than six social workers at a given time.
2) Ensure that every office housing DCF Family Services Division staff has trained, armed law enforcement or security personnel. Currently, only three of the Division’s 12 offices statewide have this protection.
3) Ensure the Vermont State Police are adequately staffed, so troopers can be available if needed for support by a social worker.