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For Immediate Release
January 5, 2021

Contact

Communications Director
(603) 271-2121 | Sununu.Press@nh.gov

Governor Chris Sununu Statement on Special Interest Group Lawsuit

Concord, NH – Today, Governor Chris Sununu issued the following statement after the ACLU-NH, NHLA and DRC-NH announced a class action lawsuit in conjunction with a New York special interest group against the State of New Hampshire:

“This lawsuit is led by Children’s Rights Incorporated – a special interest group, backed by Wall Street law firms, which preys on child protection programs across the country. While some states have issues they need to address, here in NH we have made more progressive reforms to our state’s child welfare system than any administration in history. My biggest disappointment lies with the ACLU-NH, NHLA, and the DRC-NH, who know of all the great reforms we have made. The Department of Health and Human Services has worked over the last four years to build productive relationships with these organizations while making great strides to care for our children. This New York based entity doesn't care about our kids. They are looking for attention for themselves, and their legal maneuverings will bring our progressive reforms to a grinding halt. Shame on every single person associated with this effort.”

Background:

  • A record 268 children were adopted from DCYF Care in SFY19.
  • The number of children entering out-of-home care is down after doubling between 2015 and 2018.
  • The length of time children remain in foster care pending Adoption has decreased over the past 5 years.
  • Created the Granite State Adoption Exchange in 2018 to assist with identifying homes for children legally free for adoption: http://www.Adoptnh.org.
  • As of April 2020, Adoption Stipends are now available to assist parents who adopt older youth through the age of 21.
  • In February 2019, DCYF and partners were, for the first time in NH, awarded HUD Family Unification Program and Fostering Youth to Independence housing vouchers used to provide housing families whose children at risk of entering foster care due to housing instability and for youth aging out of care.
  • A host of procurements are actively posted to build a comprehensive children’s behavioral health system to expand the ability to meet children’s needs in our state and in our communities. https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/business/rfp/rfp-2021-dbh-12-resid.htm https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/business/rfp/rfp-2021-dbh-11-psych.htm https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/business/rfp/rfp-2021-dbh-03-compr.htm https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/business/rfp/rfp-2021-dbh-01-behav.htm
  • DCYF Assessment caseloads have been reduced from over 90 in 2016 to 17 currently.
  • The State just entered into a contract for over $20M to provider voluntary services to families in need in the community, allowing us to help families early and forestall the need to enter the formal child protection system.
  • In April 2020 New Hampshire expanded the age for youth to remain, voluntarily, to age 21 and to extend adoption subsidies to better meet the needs of transition aged youth.
  • DCYF was awarded a grant and entered into a contract with Youth Villages in June 2020 to offer YV Lifeset for the first time, an evidence based model to support transition aged youth.
  • While more foster homes are needed, particularly willing to serve adolescents, there are currently more licensed foster homes than at any time previously.
  • As announced before the holidays, DCYF is on the verge of procuring a host of additional Evidence Based Programs to better meet the needs of children and families in their own homes and communities. https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcyf/documents/procurement-forecast-2020.pdf