The Lamoille County Special Investigation Unit (LCSIU) was incorporated as a non-profit 501(c) (3) in 2008. The LCSIU is a collaborative effort comprised of the Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department, Lamoille County State’s Attorney Office, Clarina Howard Nichols Center, Stowe Police Department, Morristown Police Department, Vermont State Police, Copley Hospital, local therapeutic providers, and VT Department for Children and Families. The LCSIU has been functioning well and serving both children and adult victims of sexual, physical and domestic abuse since that time.
Although they have experienced many changes over the past 18 months, their MDT has been consistent in providing services to victims within their community throughout all the transitions. With the help of other Child Advocacy Center Directors, the Vermont Children’s Alliance and National Children’s Alliance staff providing informational meetings to their board of directors, they came to a decision in the spring of 2014 to make the commitment to pursue the development of a Child Advocacy Center (CAC) and to hire an Executive Director. During their search for the right candidate, administrative assistant Laurie Marcoux was appointed as the interim Executive Director and held down the fort; attending trainings and meetings, writing and reporting on grants and even participating in a VCA sponsored New Director Mentor Program.
In the fall of 2015, the LCSIU made the decision to hire Karen Garbarino as the Executive Director. Coming off of 26 years of service in state government, Karen had decided to retire. Her most recent position was the Operations Director in the Department for Children and Families (DCF), Child Development Division. She spent her first 20 years with the Department of Health, managing the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Tobacco Control Program, and as a division director. Karen enjoys spending her free time with her family, especially her 1-year-old grandson Thatcher, and taking care of her 4 horses and 4 dogs!
The LCSIU team looks forward to Karen’s leadership as they move forward in developing their Child Advocacy Center. Now as part of that team, Karen works collaboratively with all MDT members and has begun networking within the community. Co-located within their current space inside the Lamoille County State’s Attorney’s Office is the executive director, administrative assistant, a prosecutor, and a full-time victim advocate. Unfortunately they lost their funding for a part-time dedicated SIU prosecutor but will continue to look for opportunities to fund that position. Each law enforcement agency within the county has designated an officer/detective to investigate all related SIU cases. Currently the VSP detective is also co-located at the LCSIU space part-time. Their MDT meets monthly to collaboratively move forward with their cases.
Though both Karen and Laurie work part time that is not stopping them from seeing the big picture and getting things done in Lamoille County. They have big plans and are currently working on an application for Associate Status with the National Children’s Alliance and plan to have their application submitted in early 2016. Within five years, the LCSIU plans to become a fully accredited Child Advocacy Center. Currently Karen is working on getting all the pieces, players and protocols in place to accomplish this endeavor. The search for new space for their Child Advocacy Center has also begun and they look forward to the services they can provide for the children and families within their community!
Exciting times in Lamoille – stay tuned!