Child welfare advocates marched in front of the State House on Saturday to point out what they called flaws in New Hampshire’s Division for Children, Youth and Families. The event was hosted by New Road Project, a non-profit aiming to reform the state’s child protection system.
Adults and kids walked down the streets of Concord, holding pinwheels, a symbol of childhood, and handmade signs. Organizers chanted “support improvements for DCYF" and "save New Hampshire's greatest resource: our children and families."
The New Road Project is calling for the government to declare a state of emergency and request federal funds, increase the educational requirements for caseworkers, among other proposals.
Anna Carrigan, the director of the non-profit and an official at the Department of Health and Human Services, says a public event like this is important because the current system discourages families from speaking up and seeking outside resources.
“The department and this infrastructure makes people feel really isolated. That [they can’t] reach out out of fear of what would happen to their children,” said Carrigan. “And so I’m hoping that we can act as an umbrella organization for people to feel safe and say 'this is what’s going on with me.'”
The event held a vigil to recognize the children DCYF has failed to serve.