We review two major reports focusing on child protective services in New Hampshire. In its annual report, the Office of the Child Advocate, formed in 2018 to help reform the Division for Children, Youth and Families, notes some gradual improvements, including a shift “from the appearance of a punitive to a family supportive agency.” Still, according to OCA Director Moira O'Neill, the state has been too slow to adopt a community-based system of care for children that can help prevent problems from worsening.
DCYF recently released its second annual Data Book, citing some areas of improvement, including fewer caseloads per child-protective services worker, decreasing from an average of 45 to 16 cases. That's still not where it should be, however, says Joseph E. Ribsam, Jr., DCYF director. The recommended goal is 12 cases per worker. But Ribsam says the agency has made good progress on a major issue raised by the OCA – training a broad array of people, from caseworkers to judges, on recognizing and dealing with psychological maltreatment of children.
If you think a child is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
If you have concerns about the welfare of a child, call the abuse and neglect hotline at 800-894-5533 (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).
If you have a concern or complaint about a state service for children, call the Office of the Child Advocate: 603-271-7773.
Airdate: Dec. 8, 2020.