VPRC Welcomes New Executive Director, Larry Crist

Trine Bech, Vermont Parent Representation Center’s Founding Executive Director has announced she will be stepping down as Executive Director on April 15, 2016. The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Lawrence Crist, long time leader in Vermont services, will succeed Trine as Executive Director at that time. The Board is also grateful that Trine will remain involved as Staff Attorney for an interim period, working on direct services to clients, primarily in the Rapid Intervention PreNatal and Parenting (RIPP) program. VPRC was founded in 2008 to change the ...

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Richard Wexler: Flawed Alaska child abuse study suggests ‘solutions’ likely to worsen problem

Richard Wexler, Alaska Dispatch News: December 29, 2015 The problem of child abuse is serious and real -- in Alaska and everywhere else in America. But a recent study by researchers at the University of Alaska Anchorage about the rate at which children known to the Office of Children’s Services are re-abused is built on a foundation of faulty assumptions and questionable data. As a result, it points toward “solutions” likely to make things even worse. The report, compiled by UAA's Institute of Social and Economic Research, im...

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Trine Bech: Strengthening families through community connections

Published in Vermont Digger 07/70/2014. Editor’s note: This commentary is by Trine Bech, the executive director and staff attorney for the Vermont Parent Representation Center Inc. Keeping Vermont’s children safe is the responsibility of not only the Department for Children and Families (DCF) but of us all. To meet this responsibility, our primary focus must be on strengthening families in order to keep children safe at home. This work is complex and our response cannot be to remove all children who are at risk, only those who cannot be safe at home. It requires ...

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Susan M. Buckholz, Esq: When an Attorney’s Best Efforts are Not Enough: The Multidisciplinary Approach to Parent Representation

By Susan M. Buckholz, Esq. "Parents in the child welfare system tend to be disenfranchised; they are used to not having a voice and can be easily intimidated by the child welfare power structure. They need someone to stand up for them. When they have a strong voice in the process, the system works better for everyone." Marc Cherne, Director, Allegheny County, Department of Human Services. Few events in the life of a family are more traumatic than the removal from the home of one or more of the children in that family. The causes, which can vary widely from case to case, ...

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Trine Bech: Making the child protection system work

Published in Vermont Digger. Editor’s note: This commentary is by Trine Bech, who is executive director of the Vermont Parent Representation Center Inc. Vermont Parent Representation Center (VPRC) is a parent advocacy and support organization for families at risk of losing their children to state custody. For over five years we have been hearing the voices of parents and families and bringing these voices to the decision-making tables. Most often at these tables are DCF Family Services, in charge of our child protection system; DCF Economic Services, in charge of ...

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WCAX: Will a new law aimed at protecting Vermont’s vulnerable kids work?

WCAX Posted: Jun 15, 2015 12:34 PM EDT MONTPELIER, Vt. - Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont, signed a new state law designed to improve Vermont's child protection system Monday. Shumlin called the child protection bill the result of a lot of collective thinking. "We put more resource into social workers, and training of the other people who are doing the work, second, we have said let's break down the silos that sometimes precluded the people who knew about the tragedies from communicating with each other about whats going on," said Shumlin. Countless community ...

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WCAX, Kristen Kelly: Honoring Vermont Families That Reunite

Honoring Vt. families that reunite Posted: Aug 16, 2013 6:08 PM EDT Updated: Aug 19, 2013 5:00 PM EDT By Kristin Kelly http://www.wcax.com/story/23159642/honoring-vt-families-that-reunite BURLINGTON, Vt. - "Families work really hard to gain their children back," Sarah Lowell said. Lowell knows about that hard work. She is a proud mom. But for a while, she couldn't care for her son and he was put in state custody. They've been happily back together for almost four years. "It takes a lot, it takes a lot to be able to get your kids back and ...

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American Bar Association: VPRC’s Executive Director, Trine Bech, honored in conjunction with June’s National Reunification Month

In conjunction with June’s National Reunification Month, the American Bar Association identified several individuals as heroes "for demonstrating the compassion and perseverance, despite the challenges, to keep families together.” VPRC’s Executive Director, Trine Bech, is among those honored. Trine Bech, Esq. Trine Bech has touched countless lives through the work she has done for families for over 40 years. Over that time she has served as a front line social worker, an attorney for children and parents, with the Vermont Supreme Court, as the Deputy Director ...

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Hon. George K. Belcher: Custodial Kinship Guardianships for Minors: A Response to Julia Zalenski

In the Spring 2012 issue of the Vermont Bar Journal, Hon. George K. Belcher, a recently retired Probate Judge for the City of Montpelier in Washington County, responded to Julia Zalenski’s December 2011 article (below). "Although I welcome discussion of probate issues in the bar journal, I fear that some of the article's errant themes require a response." To read Judge Belcher’s response, click here.

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Julia Zalenski: Minor Guardianships Created by the Probate Court When the Department for Children and Families is Involved: Problems with Possible Solutions

VPRC was fortunate to have a legal intern last summer to help identify the difficulties our families were having with minor guardianships in the Probate Court.  Julia Zalenski, a second year law student at the University of Iowa Law School, authored a position paper which was published by the Vermont Bar Journal in December 2011. New policy and practice must work within the framework of the constitutional right of parents and children to maintain their family life free of government interference. The challenging issue of minor guardianships when families are involved ...

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