Department for Children and Families

A pile of bags and other personal belongings in a church basement.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

On some of the coldest nights of the year, a state-run program helps find emergency housing for people. The Vermont Department for Children and Families is now planning a revamp of the rules that govern this program, which has been around for more than 50 years.

A complaint filed by Ismina Francois in 2016 has put a magnifying glass on working conditions for employees of color at the state-run psychiatric hospital in Berlin.
Jane Lindholm / VPR File

While allegations of racial harassment at the Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital in Berlin made news last week, records show that they were hardly isolated incidents: The state regularly fields complaints of race-based harassment and discrimination at agencies across state government.

fstop123 / iStock

Child abuse and neglect cases are overwhelming the Family Division of the Vermont Court system, a situation that Court Administrator Patricia Gabel says, “has stretched existing resources to the breaking point."

a paper chain cutout of a family held up by two hands with a sunset in the background.
BrianAJackson / iStock

The 2017 "How are Vermont’s Young Children and Families?" report paints a mixed picture in terms of economic well-being, access to services and a range of health indicators.

The report also underscores the impact of parental substance abuse in reported instances of child abuse and neglect and in the number of children in state custody.

AP/Lisa Rathke

Washington County State’s Attorney Scott Williams, who won acclaim, and later scrutiny, for his actions at the scene of a high-profile murder in downtown Barre in 2015, says he’s resigning his post to deal with psychological issues related to witnessing the crime.

Keron Asencio has been staying at the new warming shelter in Montpelier.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

This week's extreme weather tested the state's shelter system for the homeless.

The number of families that came into the Vermont Department for Children and Families support system increased, largely he says due to substance abuse issues.
Tomas Nevesely / iStock

The state's child protection line received a record number of calls last year, and officials say the opioid crisis continues to have an impact on families throughout Vermont.

Toby Talbot / Times Argus Pool/AP

The Vermont woman convicted of killing three of her family members and a state social worker in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison without parole Wednesday.

The cost of providing emergency housing for the homeless continues to go up, despite the state's attempt to move away from paying for people to stay in motels.

State officials are investigating the death of a toddler in the care of a foster family under the supervision of the Department for Children and Families.

Jody Herring, seen here in court in August 2015, took a plea deal Thursday, pleading guilty to one count of first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree murder.
Toby Talbot / AP/Times Argus/File

Jody Herring, the prime suspect for the murders of four people in central Vermont in August 2015, plead guilty Thursday as part of a plea deal.

The lack of permanence in the foster care system is a well-understood problem, and sometimes the path to adoption is long and difficult. That's why it's notable that the number of total adoptions in Vermont in 2016 is higher than it's been in years.

fotoguy22 / iStock

The new leader of the state's environmental agency is no stranger to the cleanup effort for Lake Champlain. Julie Moore is the newly named Agency of Natural Resources secretary and she's among our guests on the next Vermont Edition.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Just three years ago, the state spent more than $4.5 million on emergency housing for the homeless. Since then, there's been a shift toward investing in warming shelters, and other programs in communities around the state.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

A year ago in August, Vermonters were horrified at the public murder of a social worker, Lara Sobel, in downtown Barre. Among the witnesses who intervened that day was Scott Williams, the Washington County state's attorney, who knew both Sobel and the woman accused in her murder.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Across Vermont, organizations are experimenting with new models to combat homelessness. In some communities they're being welcomed, but in others, there's been push back.

State efforts to reduce the number of people who use motels for emergency housing have been effective, according to a report released this week  by the Department for Children and Families.

Police in Newport, Vt. briefly placed a state office building  on lockdown Friday morning after an unidentified caller made a threat to the Department for Children and Families, authorities said. By about 10:30 a.m. police called off the lockdown and deemed the area safe.

According to a Facebook post from the Newport Police Department, the caller made demands and threatened violence at the DCF office if the demands were not met.

Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Times Argus

Gov. Peter Shumlin delivered his sixth and final budget proposal to the Legislature Thursday afternoon. The plan calls for a 3 percent increase in spending and raises roughly $30 million in new taxes.

Toby Tabot/AP, Angela Evancie/VPR, Kathleen Masterson/VPR

On this final day of 2015 we're taking a look back at some of the year's most significant news stories, some of which will no doubt influence events in 2016.

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