Child Protection

Vermont’s child welfare system is in crisis.  Hearings held by a legislative committee, appointed as a result of recent tragedies, have revealed significant problems in Vermont’s system of care, from response to reports of abuse and neglect to handling of cases by the court system.  Voices for Vermont’s Children supports the creation of an Office of the Child Advocate, also referred to as an Office of Child Protection Ombuds in S.9 in order to continue to monitor and improve outcomes for our children.

We support the establishment of the Office of Child Protection Ombuds/Office of the Child Advocate.  The purpose of the office would be to protect and advance the interests of Vermont’s children and families.

An office such as this in Vermont would shift the dialogue on child welfare from reactive to proactive.  An advocate for Vermont’s children could significantly impact the state of affairs by engaging in investigations, oversight, community outreach/education, and legislative feedback. The office would be independent of any state agency, the advocate would be experienced in social services, advocacy, and law, and the Governor would appoint this person for a term of four years.

The Office would be responsible for several duties, including but not limited to: identify and investigate complaints on behalf of children and families; develop and implement a uniform reporting system; support recipients of children’s and family services; analyze and monitor development and implementation of laws, local and federal; and be a source of information for the public and policymakers.

We make decisions with the goal of providing these children with the ability to thrive, and yet we do not follow through and determine if our desired outcomes were ever achieved.  

It is time to ask the right questions, understand what is going on with this population of youth and why, and identify what we can do to improve their chances for success as an adult.  An Office of Child Protection Ombuds/Office of the Child Advocate can do this.

Please contact Amy at amyb@voicesforvtkids.org for more information about how you an support the formation of this Office.

Important Facts
School meals

In the 2013-2014 school year, 40.7% of students received meals categorized as free or reduced-price. Click on the graph for additional [more]

Poverty undermines children’s healthy development and has lasting effects on children’s physical and social-emotional health. Children growing up [more]

Early Prenatal Care

Between 2000 and 2010, the rate of pregnant women in Vermont receiving early prenatal care ranged between 80 and 85 percent. This was short [more]

Population

While the total population of Vermont has grown to an estimated 626,630, our child population has fallen since the 2000 Census count [more]

70% of Vermont’s housing stock was built prior to the 1978 ban on lead paint.  Lead paint and dust from lead [more]

Teen Births

Teen mothers often have fewer resources than older parents to provide for a healthy baby and for themselves.  Babies born [more]

7.5% of Vermont’s children received Reach Up (TANF) benefits in 2011; a 27% increase from 2007. [more]

98% of Vermont’s children have health insurance. [more]

Babies with low birthweight – under 5.5 pounds – are at risk for respiratory conditions, cognitive and developmental delays, and other long-term health [more]