PUBLIC SAFETY AND WELFARE
CHILDREN IN NEED OF SERVICES
169-D:9 Pre-adjudicatory Procedure.
I. Except in emergencies, the department, its agent, or any person or agency it designates shall determine whether voluntary service options are appropriate for the child and family. A referral for this determination may be made by any person permitted to bring a petition under RSA 169-D:5, I. To achieve this purpose, the department may designate a multi-disciplinary team to consider the facts and circumstances of the case, the needs of the child and family, and available diversion programs, services, and resources. This conference shall be attended by the child, if appropriate, his or her parents, legal guardians or custodians, and representatives of any public institution or agency having legal responsibility over the child, and may be attended by parties invited by the family and representatives of any public or private institutions or agencies having discretionary ability to coordinate and/or supply services to the child or family. If the child does not attend a multi-disciplinary conference, an appropriate individual shall be designated to solicit the child's input and help the child understand available service options and supports.
II. If available, a multi-disciplinary conference may be held at any time before or after a petition is filed but shall be held before the child's initial appearance pursuant to RSA 169-D:11.
III. At any time before or after a petition is filed, the child, his or her caretakers, and the department may effect an individualized voluntary family services plan, which shall include:
(a) Identification of the circumstances which contributed to the need for services.
(b) A description of the services that are needed for the child, the child's caretakers, or other family members, the availability of such services within the community, and a plan for ensuring that any such services that are available will be secured and provided.
(c) The name of the person within each affected public service agency who is directly responsible for assuring that specific services identified in the plan are provided.
(d) An estimate of the time anticipated to be necessary to accomplish the goals set out in the plan.
(e) Any other provisions deemed appropriate by the parties.
(f) Designation of a responsible person or agency for oversight of the plan.
IV. A voluntary family services plan shall set forth in writing the terms and conditions agreed to by the child, the child's caretaker, and all parties responsible for implementation of the voluntary family services plan. A written copy of the plan shall be submitted to each party or person responsible for implementation of the plan.
V. A voluntary family services plan may be amended by agreement of the parties at any time. If a petition has been filed, the amended plan shall be submitted to the court.
VI. If a petition has been filed and the department determines voluntary services are appropriate, a voluntary family services plan shall be submitted to the court. The voluntary family services plan shall stay the proceedings for a period not to exceed 90 days from the date of implementation, unless the parties agree, in writing, to an extension for additional periods not to exceed 90 days.
VII. When the petitioning person or agency, the court, the department, or a member of the multi-disciplinary team suspects that a child has a disability, an administrator at the responsible school district shall be notified. If appropriate, the school district shall refer the child for evaluation to determine if the child is in need of special education and related services.
VIII. A voluntary family services plan shall not be considered in an adjudicatory hearing pursuant to RSA 169-B or 169-D, or a criminal trial. Evidence of the existence of such agreement shall not be used against the child over objection in any juvenile adjudicatory hearing or criminal trial.
IX. Any incriminating statement made by the child during discussions or conferences incident to the voluntary family services plan shall not be used against the child, over objection, in adjudicatory hearing pursuant to RSA 169-B or 169-D, or a criminal trial. Any such statement may be reported as the basis for a referral to the department pursuant to RSA 169-C, if there is reasonable basis to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare is endangered by abuse or neglect.
X. A voluntary family services plan suspends the proceedings on the petition. If the child satisfies the terms of the voluntary family services plan, he or she shall be discharged from further services or supervision, and the pending complaint or petition shall be dismissed with prejudice.
XI. The cost for any services, placement, or programs provided pursuant to a voluntary family service plan under this section shall not be subject to parental reimbursement under RSA 169-D:29.
Source. 1979, 361:2. 1999, 266:6. 2000, 294:9. 2008, 274:12. 2010, 175:5. 2011, 151:2. 2013, 249:8, eff. Sept. 1, 2013. 2014, 271:2, eff. July 28, 2014. 2019, 196:2, 5, eff. Sept. 8, 2019.