Where Did My Brain Go?

How Should America Protect Social Workers?

Social workers help challenged members of society stay warm, fed, medicated and employed.

Social workers transport the sighted to food banks, and carry boxes of food up flights of stairs to feed the blind.

Social workers drive impoverished castoffs to clothing banks during frigid winters. They monitor the mentally ill.

Social workers lead homeless and unemployed Americans to housing and employment programs.

Social workers are also involved in family disputes, as an outsider. Social workers are the enemy of parents who neglect or abuse their children.

Lara Sobel was a social worker in Barre, Vermont. She had a Master’s Degree in Social Work and 14 years experience as a caseworker for the Department for Children and Families.

Sobel was active in the Beth Jacob Synagogue of East Montpelier. Barney Bloom, a past President of the Synagogue, described Sobel as:

a committed social worker in the best sense of the word.

Sobel was busy. About 18 cases are assigned to each caseworker.

Jody Herring

One of Sobel’s cases involved Jody Herring, a neglectful or abusive Mother with a 9-year-old daughter. Jody Herring has three daughters. DCF had removed two daughters from her care.

DCF also removed her grandchild, from 20-year-old daughter Desiree Herring. Desiree said:

All I know is that my mother did not like DCF because they took my kid. I got taken from her by DCF and so did my sister, so it has been a long line of things. All three of us have gotten taken so that’s enough right there for anybody to snap.

July 10

Jody Herring, 40, was the subject of multiple DCF complaints, and knew the source of the complaints. An arrest for driving under the influence on June 23rd did not help Herring, who has 11 misdemeanor convictions. Herring lost custody of her daughter on July 10.

DCF had taken her three daughters and grandchild.

August 7

Jody Herring was not allowed to own a gun after a 1998 conviction for driving on a suspended license. She allegedly stole a Remington 700 .270 hunting rifle from Henry Premont, 51, her ex-boyfriend. Premont told police that he ended their relationship a day or two earlier, because he could not trust her.

Armed with a rifle, Jody Herring reportedly called her cousin Rhonda Herring, and said:

You guys need to stop calling DCF unless you guys are going to have it coming to you

Dwayne Herring, Jody Herring’s brother, told police that Jody left four messages on his phone, saying:

If you think anything of your sister, you’ll get a hold of me now

Nobody answered Jody’s messages.

Jody murdered Rhonda Herring, her sister Regina Herring, and their mother, Julie Ann Falzarano. Jody drove from Berlin, Vermont to the DCF offices in Barre after the murders, and waited for Lara Sobel in the parking lot.

Lara Sobel walked out of the building at 4:42 PM, ready to start her weekend.

Jody yelled at Sobel before shooting her in the torso. Lara fell to the ground. Jody walked over and shot Lara again.


Jody Herring is probably insane. Vermont Department of Children and Families cannot be blamed for taking her children away.

Lara Sobel should have been praised for placing Henning’s children in a saner environment.

The ultimate insanity was the Vermont’s response to Lara Sobel’s murder. DCF recorded 16 threats against family services employees since Lara Sobel’s death. Including:

all social workers should be shot

I thought this was isolated, until I read Mother Avenges DCF Kidnapping by Christopher Cantwell. Mr. Cantwell’s description for search engines is scary:

DCF Worker Lara Sobel was gunned down by her victim, Jody Herring after kidnapping her 9 year old daughter on orders from the State. Good Riddance.

Sadly, many of the 243 comments on Christopher Cantwell’s article agree with him.

Lisa’s Law

Social workers who attempt to reunite families have also been killed.

In 1998, Lisa Putnam, 28, a social worker for the State-run Family Independence Agency visited Josephine Verellen, 28, in Mount Clemens, Michigan. Verellen’s children were placed with her maternal grandmother. Police described her home:

It was filled with animal feces, garbage, flies. It was absolute squalor. It was uninhabitable.

Josephine and her sister Jacqueline Verellen, 22, beat Lisa Putnam with a hammer, demanding to know who complained about them.

Despite the beating, Putnam refused to answer. The sisters bound her. They tied a plastic bag around Putnam’s head, and locked her in a bathroom to suffocate.

Lisa’s Law protects a Michigan social worker with a team: another social worker or a police officer.

However, Lara Sobel was not killed during a field investigation or home visit. She was leaving her office on a Friday afternoon.

How should America protect social workers?