Readers Write

Special appreciation for completion of the Shelburne veterans’ memorial

Dear editor,

Thank you to the Shelburne Veterans’ Memorial Committee for all of your hard work and dedication that have made the Shelburne veterans’ memorial such a success. The memorial is beautiful and every aspect of it was perfectly designed and built with great thought and care. I am so pleased that our town now has this memorial so we can properly give thanks to all of our veterans for their profound sacrifices through the decades. What an important gift to share with our town’s children as well so that we may never take our freedom for granted. Thank you, again, for your tireless efforts and for your service to our country.

Ashley and Ken McAvey of Shelburne

Social workers have challenging, unappreciated jobs

Dear editor,

Recent tragic events in Barre and Berlin, have prompted community wide discussion about the role of social workers who work for the Vermont Department for Children and Families. These conversations and tragic events have prompted me to write this letter to my fellow community members.

DCF social workers have a challenging, often heroic, and often unappreciated job. They work with families who have experienced trauma, who frequently have few resources to help them and most often lack critical parenting skills to ensure the safety and health of their children. Brave DCF social workers enter homes and families lives not knowing how they will be received. They go out to meet families who much of the time are experiencing toxic stress and they go because there are children there, who are suspected of being abused and or neglected. Sometimes they are well received by parents who welcome the help and services they can bring. But until the door opens and the conversation begins, social workers often have no idea if they themselves will be safe or not.

There are children in our communities today who may need help and protection. DCF social workers meet with overly stressed families because they want every child to have a safe, stable and nurturing family. They go because they are dedicated to children and they can help most families change what they may need to change in order to raise their children well.

Sometimes abuse has been so serious and or prolonged that children need to be removed to another family member’s home or to a foster home. DCF supervisors, family court judges, DCF central office consultants, guardian ad litems, clinical evaluators and other professionals weigh in on these difficult decisions as do parents themselves.

As a community we need to be proud of, and grateful to, DCF social workers. They are the courageous professionals children and families need when more informal ways of helping have not created safety. I really cannot imagine what would have happened to the thousands of children over the years, served by DCF, if we had not had these brave advocates for children.

Please join me in appreciating DCF social workers throughout Vermont. They are to be thanked and celebrated for being Vermont’s champions for children.
This letter is dedicated to the legacy and memory of Lara Sobel, an exemplary DCF social worker, who served children and families from the Barre District Office until her death, Aug. 7.

For our children,
Linda Johnson, Executive Director, Prevent Child Abuse Vermont

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