Speak Up New Hampshire
Last October, NHPR announced that DCYF was soliciting feedback from all NH stakeholders, including youth and families. Upon our closer inspection, what DCYF was asking for was information about potential future services that could be used for contracts and procurement.
We hear every day from families who have feedback about how the system can change for the better, and we're asking you to trust us with your time and emotional effort. The New Road Project does not want to see an opportunity for community feedback be squandered, and for families and others to give up in frustration. For this very reason, we sought to collect feedback that was compiled and presented to DCYF, Governor Sununu, the Office of the Child Advocate, the DCYF advisory board, members of the legislature, and the media.
The inaugural Speak Up Report will become a biennial effort from The New Road Project that regularly addresses the many gaps in the New Hampshire child protection system by offering feedback on the direct community impact. It also works to establish proposed solutions to improve the system that so many children and families rely on for safety and protection.
As the 2021 legislative session draws to a close and is being packed with bills focused on child protection reform, this opportunity helped us start paving a new road, to speak up and inform those who hold budgetary and discretionary power what is important to the community as families, professionals and citizens.
Your feedback is always welcome and we encourage you to always Speak Up.
WE RECENTLY RELEASED OUR 2020 ‘SPEAK UP’ REPORT. THIS BIENNIAL COLLECTION OF ANONYMOUS COMMUNITY FEEDBACK, THE ONLY SUCH COLLECTION OF ITS KIND, SERVES AS A BAROMETER OF HOW ANY ATTEMPTED REFORMS UNDERTAKEN BY DCYF ARE BEING RECEIVED AND PERCEIVED BY THOSE WHO PERSONALLY OR PROFESSIONALLY INTERACT WITH THE SYSTEM.
Trust. This was the number one theme throughout all of the feedback. The community does not trust that DCYF is capable of protecting children and supporting families or their own workers. One parent respondent shared this harrowing sentiment, “My entire case was FULL of errors once the final report was released and my daughter is now in the hands of her abuser 50/50.”
Communication. Most respondents feel that communication severely lacks and those involved with the child protection system often feel confused and isolated about what is happening with cases they're involved with.
Trauma. Contacts with the agency, beyond the primary trauma a child or family has suffered, often add additional trauma to a family rather than alleviating it. One parent respondent writes, “I spent countless days in therapy recovering from the trauma of trying to protect my daughter, not to mention thousands of dollars of my own money on legal fees to protect my daughter, and ended up without any protection in the end.”
Risk of Losing Foster Families. Although a common narrative is that NH does not have enough foster parents who want to open their homes, foster parent respondents showed keen enthusiasm to help children in need. However, these families expressed they were considering no longer providing foster services due to contacts with DCYF that served as a direct source of frustration, alienation, and boundary-crossing, leaving them to feel that they couldn't trust the agency to promote the best interest of themselves or the children they want to help.
Read the full report here.
Increase the amount of case workers
COMMUNICATE with Families
Improve communication with families
Decrease the number of cases for case managers
Learn more about psychiatric conditions & medication side effects
Interview people in the family’s lives
ANYONE can participate - family members, youth, general community members, helping professionals, DCYF staff - we will absolutely keep your outreach confidential.
Email The New Road Project
While you're welcome to include any personal stories or details, please know that the only thing being submitted to 3rd parties is actual feedback/suggestions/guidance on what DCYF needs to improve to better serve families while protecting your information and ensuring your confidentiality.