Should foster parents have a "bill of rights" codified in state law?

Feb 13, 2018
foster parents

HB 1562, a bill sponsored by Rep. Sean Morrison (R-Epping), would create a foster parent “bill of rights.”

What would a foster parents’ bill of rights look like?

The 18 point bill, among other things, would make the following part of state law:

Sununu to sign child protection, mental health bill

Jun 14, 2017
mental health and child abuse

On Wednesday, June 14 Governor Chris Sununu will sign a bill that aims to increase protections for children and people with mental illness in New Hampshire.

The bill, HB 400, adds a new category to reports of child abuse.  A founded report has definite evidence of child abuse or neglect.  An unfounded report does not have enough evidence.  The new category, “unfounded but with reasonable concern,” is somewhere in the middle.  This new category of reports will be kept on file for seven years, the same as founded reports.

Contract approved for review of child abuse reports

Jun 08, 2017
child abuse and neglect

On Wednesday the Executive Council approved a contract to review 100 of 1,500 alleged child abuse and neglect cases prematurely closed last year.

Lorraine Bartlett, then-Director of the Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), closed the cases in bulk over two days in February 2016.  According to some DCYF employees, the children in those cases were not at risk, and Bartlett’s action freed up caseworkers’ time to focus on other reports.  Others say that there was pressure to close cases that needed more investigation.

Funding for DYCF counseling for parents?

May 27, 2017
child protection DCYF

This week, the Senate Finance Committee endorsed a key reform related to child protective services in the state.

If passed by the House and Senate and signed into law, the amendment would create a third category regarding allegations of child abuse that have been brought to the attention of the state Division of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF).

Based on recommendations from an outside evaluation of DCYF, the new category would be called “unfounded but with reasonable concerns.” It would exist between “founded” and “unfounded” reports of child abuse.

Should DCYF keep child abuse reports longer?

Mar 13, 2017
DCYF child abuse reports

On Thursday, March 16 the New Hampshire Senate will vote on a bill that would require the Division of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) to keep reports of child abuse and neglect at least seven years.

Under current law, a screened-out report – a report that DCYF determines is not credible or worth investigating – is destroyed after one year.  An unfounded report – a report that DCYF investigates but does not find evidence to support – is destroyed after three years.  A founded report – a report with supporting evidence of abuse or neglect – is destroyed after seven years.

Gov. Sununu lays out budget proposal

Feb 10, 2017
Governor Sununu works on the budget proposal

On Thursday, February 9 Gov. Chris Sununu presented his budget proposal to the New Hampshire Legislature. His plan increases spending by about 2% and does not increase any taxes or fees.

Here are some of the spending priorities Sununu identified in his budget address:

Infrastructure

Sununu said the state should establish an infrastructure revitalization fund with any surplus that does not go in the rainy day fund. Sununu said the fund will “double grants to towns for roads and bridges.” 

Bill considers parental rights in child manslaughter cases

Jan 10, 2017

Rep. John Burt is sponsoring a 2017 bill that would require the state to terminate an individual’s parental rights if he or she is convicted of the murder or manslaughter of another family member. 

Under current state law, the state may choose not to terminate parental rights in those cases, if the state determines it is in the best interests of the child. 

Report recommends more staff, new laws to protect children

Dec 20, 2016

According to an independent evaluation of the state’s child protective services, there are many changes that must occur to protect the safety of children in New Hampshire. 

The state hired the Center for the Support of Families (CSF) to conduct an independent review of the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) after the deaths of two abused children in New Hampshire. 

Does NH need to increase child protection staff?

Oct 13, 2016

According to a new report, the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) needs at least 35 more child assessment workers. 

The report is part of an ongoing evaluation of the ability of DCYF to protect children after two child abuse fatalities in 2014 and 2015. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) requested an interim report on staffing levels to guide their requests for the upcoming state budget. The final report will be released in November 2016.

House passes, rejects changes in child abuse laws

May 13, 2016

On Wednesday, May 11 the House of Representatives voted on several bills related to the handling of child abuse and neglect cases.

The bills were in response to child abuse fatalities last year.

First, the House passed SB 536, which allows the state to remove a child at risk with just a phone call request to the court.  The state must submit written affidavits the next day.

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