The Times Argus reports that according to Steve Dale, commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, the "Department's Family Services Division will soon employ new measures aimed at eliminating deficiencies uncovered" by a federal review of the child welfare system in Vermont.
For example, Vermont currently has 12 geographically scattered child-service offices which "don't always have the same standards for launching an investigation into child abuse." By fall, however, "all abuse allegations will be forwarded to a central office that will determine, using a more universal standard, whether the claims warrant further investigation." In addition, "pending legislation in Montpelier will improve caseworkers' ability to intervene in homes." According to Dale, "under the new system, the number of investigations launched by the state could rise by as much as 20 percent, though many of those will not be full-fledged probes into criminal conduct but simply a conversation with family members about the alleged conduct."
Notably, "Vermont has seen incidents of child abuse drop steadily in the last decade" and "in 2006, the Department investigated 2,516 reports of abuse, of which 773 were substantiated."