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The highest ranking federal official in charge of foster care, Wade Horn of the DHHS, is a former child psychologist who says the foster care system is a giant mess and should just be blown up.
Vermont CPS News Archive
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Vermont News Coverage
Senate Votes To Remove Philosophical Vaccine Exemption
The Vermont Senate has voted to end the philosophical exemption some parents use to decline to have their children vaccinated.
The legislation, which passed the Senate Wednesday in an 18-11 vote, would require the full range of required vaccinations as a pre-condition to enrolling in school.
April 22, 2015
Act with urgency to protect children
Vermont lawmakers must act with urgency on their outrage over the deaths of two toddlers this year who were under the watch of the state Department for Children and Families.
The goal is obvious - find a way to better protect Vermont's children from known harmful situations. The path is clear - improve accountability for those charged with the children's welfare. The principle is simple - increase the transparency of the child welfare system to the point where true outside oversight can take place.
December 28, 2014
Child protection agency chief recommends changes
The Agency of Human Services' acting secretary said Wednesday he wants to increase staffing levels and training at the Department for Children and Families following the deaths of two toddlers in state care but is not calling for a major overhaul.
In the long-awaited plan commissioned after the toddlers' deaths, Acting Secretary Harry Chen said he felt splitting the divisions of DCF devoted to child protection and economic services would weaken its ability to protect and support families.
October 2, 2014
Ben & Jerry's vow to go GMO-free by end of 2013
Ben & Jerry's has come forward and said that the company will be going GMO-free by the end of the year. Already a proponent for foods containing GMOs to be labeled, the company is now planning to exclude all GMOs in its products.
Ben & Jerry's, the company known for making creative flavors of ice cream, is going GMO-free by the end of 2013. Already a supporter of GMO food labeling, the company wants to transition to 100 percent non-GMO ingredients. The Vermont-based company says it already is about 80 percent non-GMO in its ingredients at this time.
June 2, 2013
Letter From The Editor: A GM Food Labeling Win
Last month I wrote a news story along the lines that President Obama this spring signed House Resolution 933 after California voters last fall defeated Proposition 37 marked two big defeats for the GMO labeling crowd.
HR 933 was dubbed the "Monsanto Protection Act" for its limiting federal courts from ordering genetically modified crops from being destroyed. Failed Prop 37 would have required GM foods sold in California to be labeled. So it's only fair that I note that GMO labeling forces are celebrating a victory of sorts. The Vermont House of Representatives on May 10, 2013 became the first legislative body in America to pass a GM food labeling bill. The historic vote was 99-to-42 on H-112, requiring the labeling of all genetically engineered food in the state.
May 14, 2013
Homeschooling Parents Cry Foul Over New Rules From the Department of Ed
Attorney Kevin Kite put his legal career on hold in 2005 to homeschool his two boys, ages 9 and 13.
Kite and his wife, Middlebury College professor Michelle McCauley, say they don't object to public or private education, but came to the realization that their sons would do better outside of school, each learning at his own pace. The New Haven couple is among a growing number of Vermont parents who are opting to educate their children themselves. And, like many of their fellow stay-at-home teachers, they're up in arms about a July 23 memo from Vermont Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca that seeks to clarify the rules for the alternative form of education also known as "home study."
August 22, 2012
Casey Family Services to end foster care programs in Vermont
A nonprofit foster care program in Vermont is folding at the end of the year. The Annie E. Casey Foundation is closing all seven Casey Family Services programs in New England and Maryland in December.
The Vermont affiliate, based in Winooski and White River Junction, served between 80 and 100 children a year.
Casey Family Services has specialized in support programs for children who have been abused or neglected and traumatized by chaotic family environments, institutionalized residential care environments and multiple foster care placements. The nonprofit has provided intensive trauma therapy programs for children, funding for educational opportunities and intensive training for foster families for 36 years. The group has also given children and families post-adoption support.
July 3, 2012
Vermont GMO Labeling Fight
And now for this week's installment of "Why Monsanto is Horrible." Monsanto is essentially holding the state of Vermont hostage by threatening to sue the state should its legislature pass a bill to require the labeling of all GMO products.
It should be noted that Vermont's Agriculture Committee and the majority of the public approve of this bill, but the legislature is putting off on making a decision because of this threat from Monsanto. With only four weeks left before the legislature adjourns for the year, there is a possibility of the bill just dying despite literally thousands of emails pouring in in favor of the bill.
April 16, 2012
Monsanto Threatens to Sue Vermont if Legislators Pass a Bill Requiring GMO Food to Be Labeled
Despite overwhelming public support and support from a clear majority of Vermont's Agriculture Committee, Vermont legislators are dragging their feet on a proposed GMO labeling bill. Why?
Because Monsanto has threatened to sue the state if the bill passes. The popular legislative bill requiring mandatory labels on genetically engineered food (H-722) is languishing in the Vermont House Agriculture Committee, with only four weeks left until the legislature adjourns for the year. Despite thousands of emails and calls from constituents who overwhelmingly support mandatory labeling, despite the fact that a majority (6 to 5) of Agriculture Committee members support passage of the measure, Vermont legislators are holding up the labeling bill and refusing to take a vote.
April 4, 2012
America's 'shameful' child abuse problem: 5 theories
In the last decade, more than 20,000 kids have reportedly died because of neglect and abuse - almost quadruple the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Michael Petit, the organization's president, says at BBC News that more than 20,000 American children are believed to have been killed in their own homes as a result of poverty, malnourishment, neglect, and abuse over the last 10 years. That gives the U.S. the worst rate of child abuse of any industrialized nation - triple that of Canada and 11 times that of Italy. Why is this happening? Here, five theories:
October 18, 2011
FEMA: Disaster Assistance Tops $1 Million for Vermont
More than $1 million in federal disaster aid has been approved for eligible applicants affected by the spring storms and flooding that occurred from April 23rd to May 9th.
Since Obama issued a major disaster declaration on June 15th for these storms in the counties of Addison, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, and Orleans, over 800 people have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
July 29, 2011
ACLU Sues 'Family-Friendly' Inn for Refusing to Host Lesbian Wedding Reception
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing a small, family-owned Vermont inn for allegedly refusing to host a lesbian couple's wedding reception.
The Wildflower Inn is owned by a "devout, practicing Catholic family who believes in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman," its Facebook page says. "We have never refused rooms or dining or employment to gays and lesbians." The ACLU says the Vermont Human Rights Law prohibits public accommodation -- hotels and small inns included -- from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. And that is the crux of the ACLU's lawsuit: "This case is about discrimination, pure and simple," the ACLU says in a posting on its Web site. "When a business that is open to the public refuses to serve two people and their guests solely because the two people are a same sex couple, it is no different than restaurants not serving individuals because they were black, or other businesses keeping out women or Jews. It is discrimination and it is illegal."
July 21, 2011
Vermont's Sanders Renews Push for Federally Funded Day Care, Preschool
The "Foundations for Success Act" by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) would allow the subsidy to start when a child reaches just six weeks of age.
In the face of a $1.6 trillion federal budget deficit, a national debt topping $14 trillion, and with Congress debating a plan to cut spending by $6 billion over the next decade, one U.S. lawmaker is proposing a new program entitling parents to federally funded universal preschool and childcare.
May 20, 2011
Rutland caseworker will admit to fraud charges
A Rutland woman is expected to plead guilty later this month to stealing money from developmentally disabled people.
Donah Smith worked as a caseworker at ARC Rutland. According to prosecutors, the 50-year-old woman had access to her clients' bank accounts and stole thousands of dollars between 2008 until 2010.
May 17, 2011
Vermonters honored for their commitment to kids
A group of community leaders were recognized Tuesday for their outstanding service to Vermont's kids.
A few hundred social workers, health care professionals, teachers and volunteers joined the governor and the KidSafe Collaborative in thanking seven Vermonters for their commitment to keeping kids in our communities safe and healthy.
April 12, 2011
Mom and Daughter Go AWOL in Lesbian Custody Case
Lisa Miller and her daughter Isabella didn't show up at the home of Janet Jenkins on New Year's Day, despite a court order that switched custody from one lesbian parent to the other.
Lisa Miller, 41, of Winchester, Va., was ordered by a Vermont family court judge in November to hand over her daughter Isabella by 1 p.m. to Janet Jenkins, 45, of Fairhaven, Vt. But according to Jenkins' lawyer, Miller failed to show up.
January 1, 2010
Police try to understand cause of tragic accident: Times Argus Online
BRANDON - There were more questions than answers the day after a crash on Route 7 in Brandon that killed a Sunderland man and one of his 15-year-old foster children.
Also still unclear are the identities of the five foster children in the car, the conditions of four of those children and who will care for them. Pulsifer said police could not identify any of the children due to state Department of Children and Families restrictions. The couple was named foster parents of the year for Bennington County.
July 14, 2009
Allenbrook to Close After 30 Years
Just off Allen Road in South Burlington sits a home away from home for Vermont's disadvantaged youth. Hundreds have come and gone over the past 30 years, finding social, emotional, and academic help at the Allenbrook Homes for Youth.
As for the home's current six, Walsh says they'll either return to their natural families-- that is the goal-- or their case workers will search for alternatives, including foster care. But for now, Allenbrook will continue as is for another four months.
WCAX-TV News 3
February 16, 2009
Pre-K bill headed to Douglas' desk
MONTPELIER -- Lawmakers reached a deal on the rules around state funding of early childhood education - that pitted those who want universal coverage against those who worry about increasing the cost to the education fund and the future of private nursery
In the end, they split the difference. School districts will get state assistance in providing education to half of their 3- and 4-year-olds if they choose to do so. But if they provide those services to more than that number, local taxpayers will have to put up the additional money.
Rutland Herald (VT)
May 25, 2007
Vermont welfare-to-work program would increase benefits for child care, raise wage caps
Participants in Vermont's Reach Up welfare-to-work program will see longer-term child care subsidies and an increase in the amount of income the program will disregard when calculating benefits.
Depending on income eligibility guidelines, it would increase the amount of time a Reach Up recipient exiting the program can get state child care subsidies from one year to two. It also increases the amount of monthly income the state will disregard in calculating benefits.
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Vindictive Caseworker Plays God | Smithe Family
Sadly, some DCF caseworkers get so puffed up with the power they have over others that they begin to suffer from a god complex that leads them down the path of deceit, down a road paved with lies...
June 24, 2012