CONCORD, NH - A society is judged on how well it can care for its children. A recent review of the Division of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) noted that the division responsible for child protective services, foster care, child development, and juvenile justice did not have adequate staffing. The division cannot support children to the fullest extent necessary when they do not have the staff they need.
While the DCYF is in need of expanded policies and initiatives to further serve the children of New Hampshire the review noted that they cannot do anything until they address the staffing needs that already exist. Senate Democrats introduced SB 223, which would provide funding for the much-needed investment in staffing and training that the division desperately needs. While an initial vote featured unanimous support for the bill within the Senate, the Republican Majority later doubled back voting to table the bill, which allowed it to die on the table. As there are children who continue to fall through the cracks of our society it is imperative that the Senate provides the support for the DCYF that it deserves, but the Republican majority failed to act to add the staff and training necessary to protect our children.
The appropriation would have brought the number of social worker positions up to 120, which would only benefit the children and families of New Hampshire because each social worker would be able to spend more time and resources on each individual case. The addition of these staff members to the program would allow the DCYF to act on the 20 other recommendations from the independent review that identified this need for increased staff. Until we fully support our DCYF and grant them the staff they need to adequately cover all of the children in need in New Hampshire we are failing to protect the most vulnerable members of our society. A Senate Democrats are dedicated to protecting our children, and a Senate Democratic majority will allocate the resources the DCYF needs to support all the children in need.