Letters: Time to clean house at DCF


We don’t need any more senate meetings and committees to decide what to do about the Dept. of Children and Families here in Vermont. This highly dysfunctional child welfare department is completely out of step with the best interests of children. They have done things that are so contrary to every basic rule of good casework that the only solution is to disband the entire department and start over from scratch. It’s time to replace the commissioner and deputy commissioner and just about all of the supervisors.

As a 20-year veteran of social services in Vermont I have forgotten more about child abuse and neglect intervention then any of these so called child welfare experts will ever understand. When I was a social worker we did things according the our training by the American Humane Association, not by some bureaucrats idea of casework. Let’s bring some sanity back into this department and clean house now!


Shaftsbury Stop blaming, start fixing

It is dismaying to see the way in which partisanship can cause conservative columnists and commentators to look at a desperate but treatable situation and immediately skip over the step of logical thinking and jump to a conclusion that will provide an issue to blame on Obama. Liberal ones will also skip the logical thinking step, accept the right’s conclusion, and look for a way to blame Bush.

The current desperate situation is that there are 57,000, plus or minus, children from Central America in U.S. custody after having crossed the border from Mexico. Our agencies have insufficient human and material resources to house and feed all of them adequately and to process them promptly. The conclusion jumped to is that this situation is proof that our border security is porous. Both "sides" seem to have accepted it. Many Republicans are using it as evidence to say that the border is not secure enough for us to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Most are blaming Obama. The best Democrats can seem to do, accepting that conclusion, is to give up on immigration reform for now and blame the situation on a law Bush signed in 2008 (which was intended as an act of compassion).

What dismays me is that the conclusion on which these courses of action are based is illogical. The children crossed the border, they were captured or turned themselves in, they are being detained pending hearings concerning possible refugee status. If the 57,000 were now scattering freely about the country, that would be evidence that border security is porous. Yes, it could be used as evidence that Mexican border security is porous -- they can’t stop people from coming across their southern borders, crossing the country, and getting out. But, if anything, their detention is evidence -- although certainly not sufficient evidence -- that U.S. border security is effective.

The real question, then, is not really about border security, it is about the limits to our compassion and tolerance. To a person of my age, the scenes of screaming mobs stopping buses carrying brown children in California is too reminiscent of mobs stopping freedom riders in Alabama 50 years ago.



Attend upcoming select board, DRB meetings

The final decision has not yet been decided concerning the Shires low income housing project to be built between South and Silver Streets.

The Vermont Community Development Board has approved the $700,000 grant to help fund this project but our selectboard can choose not to accept it if they feel it causes "burdensome conditions." Examples: increase of school taxes, lack of green space, safety concerns, drastic change in character of neighborhood. Also the Development Review Board is still investigating whether to approve the project.

Please attend the July 28 Selectboard meeting, at 6 p.m. at the firehouse, and the Aug. 5 Development Review Board meeting, 6:30 p.m. at the firehouse, to express your concerns with the project or the process. Thank you.




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