To the Editor:

In reading the article in the Times Argus about the VSEA asking for a cap on cases for DCF soclal workers, I am astounded. The Vermont Administration and DCF surely understand the need for this. Now, the social workers at DCF have to ask their union to petition the administration for this cap of 15 cases. In addition, they are asking for security at buildings and parking areas. DCF social worker Lara Sobel was murdered while leaving her office in Barre on her way home to her children and husband. This was after a child custody court hearing and it was the mother who shot Lara in cold blood. The entire state of Vermont and especially DCF workers are still in shock over this tragic, senseless killing of a person who tried to help families and children. Placing a cap on cases of 15 will surely help prevent more tragedies. In 1999 while I was a member of the Labor Management Committee representing SRS (now DCF) we wanted a cap on cases of 20 and did not get it. SRS administrators blocked it and now almost 20 years later here we are still dealing with this. The American Humane Association puts a cap of 12 on cases now and in 1999 no more then 20. The Vermont Legislature needs to review this situation and draft a law mandating that DCF not assign anymore then 15 cases per social worker. That's what it will take to make it safer for staff who are out there helping families.

Tom King



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