WHAT DOES A
The New Road
1. Encouraging Governor Sununu to declare a state of emergency for NH’s child protection system and request federal funds to support meaningful change that addresses root causes in the system.
2. Legislation that raises the minimum education qualifications for child protection workers and supervisors to a master’s degree in social work, psychology, or mental health counseling and pays workers a salary commensurate with their education.
3. Legislation that provides title protection for the profession of Social Work so that only those who have a BSW, MSW, or PhD in Social Work from an accredited program are able to identify themselves to the public as being part of the social work profession in the State of NH.
4. Legislation that requires a Child Protection Service Worker (CPSW) to disclose their educational background or licensing status to a family when asked.
5. Legislation that clarifies a family’s right to recruit the support of anyone of their choosing to advocate for them to DCYF including regarding the release of records and communicating with DCYF staff.
6. Legislation that strengthens and protects the ability of the Office of the Child Advocate to give directives to DCYF on action to take after reviewing individual case complaints and wider systemic trends.
7. Investigating Commissioner Meyers over his failed leadership in mitigating and managing this crisis and moving to change the majority of leadership and middle management at DCYF.
8. Increasing Oversight of the DHHS Ombudsman Office in holding them accountable for timely, impartial, and written investigations when a family submits a complaint about DCYF, and that someone knowledgeable about best practices in child protection is involved in the process.
9. Working with Law Enforcement Agencies to increase their knowledge and training of best practices in child protection and the latest research findings about childhood abuse and neglect.
10. Creating incentives for Doctors to become board certified in childhood abuse and neglect and for nurses to be SANE-P certified.
11. Creating programming and an infrastructure for DCYF employees who want to complain but fear doing so.
12. Creating programming and an infrastructure for helping professionals who have reported to DCYF but feel that the children they have reported about are still in danger.
The policies, proposals, and legislation we submit and support are listed on the left. Scroll down the page for details about the reasoning behind each proposal and the intended effect to increase transparency and effectiveness of NH's child protection system.
Doesn't more spending mean bigger government?
We understand that people, especially in NH, have fears that increasing budgets for state agencies means more 'big government' and the potential for increased involvement of government in private citizens' lives. We want to validate these concerns, and explain our belief that a proper investment in DCYF is actually a new road towards less government intervention.
Our position is that the current status of the DCYF work force creates a situation where unnecessary government intervention in NH citizens' lives is occurring. This is based on the fact that case workers have too many cases to dedicate proper time to assessment of families' situations, and that the lack of education and training required of caseworkers does not properly prepare them to always make good judgements about which families need continued involvement. This means that some families that do not require intervention or assessment are receiving them, and that the length of time that DCYF is involved with families could be drastically shortened if case workers had the time and skill set to make accurate determinations when involvement is not necessary. This would also free up time for children and families that do require the Division's resources, and improve outcomes for everyone in NH.
We also believe that not making these up front investments inevitably costs our state even more money due to the negative effects of an underfunded system. These include the costs of litigation, costs of prolonged and/or unnecessary assessments and services, costs of mistakes during assessments that the state absorbs, and costs of high employee turn-over.
In short, fully funding our child protection system is the New Road towards fiscal responsibility and smaller government.