The New Road | Proposal 2: Minimum Education Requirements
Explore critical details about the reasoning behind each proposal and the intended effect to increase transparency and effectiveness of NH's Child Protection System.
Read the long term Cost Analysis statement associated with leaving NH's Child Protection System "as is."
2. Increasing Education Requirements & Compensation for Child Protection Workers
For details about the current educational requirements of CPSWs, visit our informational page here.
We are insistent that legislation and policies be implemented that raise the minimum education qualifications for child protection workers and supervisors to a master’s degree in social work, mental health counseling, or psychology and gives workers a salary commensurate with their education. The funding for this would initially come from federal dollars from the State of Emergency declaration, and would need to be committed to being continued by the Legislature. While it is certainly cheaper in the short term to hire workers with a Bachelor’s degree in any field like is currently possible, the long term costs when these workers are ill-prepared for child protection work is seen in high turn-over rates for employees, lawsuits where the state has settled for millions of dollars, and any indirect costs for unnecessary or uninformed decisions made during assessments and investigations that the state absorbs.
The human impact on children and families whose lives are turned upside down by the decisions of case workers who are unqualified for the work that they are assigned to do is immeasurable. This is also for the well-being of CPSWs themselves. It is unfair to ask them to take on the monumental responsibility of this work and not prepare them appropriately, and then blame them when things go wrong. Additionally, the State should seek agreements with the University of New Hampshire and other higher education institutions that offer MSWs and M.Psych degrees to give discounted programs to current CPSWs who wish to further their education in order to maintain their employment. A similar agreement is in place between the Division of Public Health and Dartmouth College for employees wishing to pursue Master in Public Health degrees. The current DCYF training materials should be independently reviewed and updated, and educating current case workers yearly in the most up to date best practices for child development, child protection, trauma, and other pertinent fields should become mandatory.