Today, the Senate passed a package of bills to address the needs in the Division of Children, Youth and Families [DCYF], specifically, expanding voluntary services for at risk families, bolstering the foster care process, providing support services, reducing the caseload burden as well as addressing the needs of developmentally disabled community and mental health care in our state.
Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) and Senator Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry) issued the following statements:
“The bills approved today work in conjunction to send existing unspent funding plus additional resources totaling approximately $5.5 million to support critical needs in DCYF, the Developmentally Disabled Community as well as substance abuse and mental health care. We have the opportunity to address the needs of our mental health care system today and I am pleased to see the senate support these three bills,” said Senator Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro).
“This includes expanding residential beds for mental health treatment to ensure individuals have improved access to care when they need it. This legislation also provides a broad range of additional support services for children and families like additional staff at DCYF to lessen the caseload burden, provide additional resources to bolster the foster care system, expand resources for the developmentally disabled community and support for residential beds for mental health care,” said Bradley.
“In response to the independent report on DCYF released last year, we have been committed to implementing the recommendations made in the report and many are reflected in these bills. This includes adding caseload workers to decrease the burden on individual workers, as well as other child protection staff, including drug and alcohol counselors, attorneys and other personnel,” said Senator Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry). “We’ve seen an increase in DCYF cases as a result of the opioid crisis and providing additional funding and resources, like drug and alcohol counselors can help prevent and mitigate long-term cases.”
“One bill in particular (SB 590) provides $1.5 million dollars that would go towards providing community support services for at risk children and families in order to expand preventative measures. The goal is to keep children and families out of the DCYF system, provide home visiting services, child care or trauma care before a situation can develop requiring DCYF involvement,” added Carson.
“Every child deserves to live in a safe home and I applaud the committee and the Senate for passing this legislation and hope we can continue to make progress improving the safety of our children in New Hampshire,” said Carson.