DCF Workers: We Need More Staff

Published 08/12 2014 06:13PM

Updated 08/12 2014 06:37PM

 MONTPELIER, Vt. - Workers for the Department of Children and Families don't get to speak out often.

“I don't know if it was a spoken understanding or an unspoken understanding that social workers were not allowed to speak to press or to lawmakers,” DCF intake supervisor Nancy Miller said.

But Tuesday they aired their concerns about DCF in front of the Committee on Child Protection but with a word of warning.

“We cannot seriously do adequate justice to the questions that you're asking in this room today,” Miller said.

Miller says the problems are much bigger than that and revolves around staffing. She and others say they try to keep up with paperwork for case after case but more just stack up.

“Meanwhile you're getting a new case every day,” Miller said.

Other issues included dealing with substance abuse in families, a lack of foster homes for teens and sharing information between departments because of confidentiality rules, a contentious issue that has split sides on whether family courts should be open to the public.

“Clearly you always have to have the best interest of the child at the center of all decisions,” State Senator Kevin Mullin said.

Mullin says the issues extend beyond DCF. The committee also heard testimony from doctors and victim advocates Tuesday.

Even with Miller's warning that the problems can't be solved in this room Mullin says it's the place to get the conversation started and he's glad they're finally talking.

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