TITLE XII
PUBLIC SAFETY AND WELFARE

CHAPTER 161
HUMAN SERVICE

Section 161:2

    161:2 Duties of the Department. –
Except as otherwise provided by law, the duties of the department of health and human services with respect to the public assistance and welfare activities of the state shall be as hereinafter prescribed, for which funds appropriated for the general purposes of this chapter or RSA 167 may be expended:
I. General. Develop plans to provide assistance to needy aged, blind, permanently and totally disabled persons, and dependent children; administer or supervise the administration of these activities, child welfare services, social service index and other activities hereinafter mentioned; establish, maintain and direct an electronic benefits disbursement system using automatic teller machines and point-of-sale devices to distribute such assistance.
II. Child Welfare Services. Develop and administer state responsibilities for child welfare, and may administer directly such child welfare activities. Child welfare activities shall include: Protection and care of homeless, dependent and neglected children, and children in danger of becoming delinquent; cooperation with any court and with state and other institutions for children, including investigation and follow-up services; services and care of children in foster homes; and all other child welfare activities authorized by law; provided, however, that nothing in this chapter or RSA 167 shall be construed as authorizing any public official, agent, or representative, in carrying out any of the provisions of this chapter or RSA 167 to take charge of any child over the objection of either of the parents of such child, or of the person standing in loco parentis to such child, except pursuant to a proper court order.
III. General Supervision. Have general supervision of all neglected or dependent children and see that they receive suitable education, training, and support; assist in the enforcement of all laws for the protection of children and investigate charges that may be brought to their attention, and if a crime allegedly has been committed, report to the county attorney.
IV. Supervision and Licensing. Supervise all foster family homes and child placing agencies. The commissioner of the department of health and human services shall adopt rules under RSA 541-A to ensure that a wholesome living environment is provided to children in such homes.
IV-a. Supervision of Residential Care Facilities. Supervise all facilities which are shared by adult clients of the department of health and human services which provide assistance, care or other direct services to the aged, blind or other persons with disabilities.
V. Blind. In cooperation with the department of education, in connection with assistance to needy blind persons the department shall give due consideration to the special needs associated with the condition of blindness and shall: (a) promulgate rules and regulations stating in terms of ophthalmic measurements the amount of visual acuity which an applicant may have and be eligible for assistance and providing for an examination by an ophthalmologist or physician skilled in diseases of the eye or by an optometrist, whichever the individual may select, in making the determination whether the individual is eligible and fixing the fee for such examination; (b) establish the procedure for securing competent medical examination; (c) designate or approve a suitable number of ophthalmologists or physicians skilled in diseases of the eye, and optometrists, who must be duly licensed or registered under the laws of this state and actively engaged in the practice of their professions, to examine applicants and recipients of aid to determine their eligibility for assistance; (d) fix the fees to be paid for medical examination from funds available to the department.
VI. Medical Care. In cooperation with state health authorities and county and local officials, develop and administer a state plan for providing medical or other remedial assistance. The department of health and human services shall not amend nor seek to amend, nor gain nor seek to gain approval of waivers to, the state medicaid plan in any way that would consolidate federal grants or allotments or would cap the federal portion of medicaid spending or would in any way result in a change to the state-federal proportional share of medicaid spending or any component thereof, without the prior approval of the fiscal committee of the general court.
VII. Cooperation; State, Local. Cooperate with other departments, agencies and institutions, both state and local, in performing services in conformity with the purposes of this chapter or RSA 167.
VIII. Cooperation, Federal. Cooperate with the federal government in carrying out the purposes of the Federal Social Security Act, and in other matters of mutual concern pertaining to public welfare, child welfare services, and public assistance, including the adoption, so far as is consistent with the provisions hereof, of such methods of administration as are found by the federal government to be necessary for the efficient operation of the plan for such public assistance and welfare services.
IX. Reports, Federal. Make such reports, in such form and containing such information, as the federal government may from time to time require, and comply with such provisions as the federal government may from time to time find necessary to assure the correctness and verification of such reports.
X. Reciprocal Agreements. Have authority to enter into reciprocal agreements with public welfare agencies in other states to grant assistance to persons removing from such other states to this state, and otherwise eligible for assistance in this state except for the residence requirement.
XI. Research. Carry on research and compile statistics relative to public welfare throughout the state including dependency, physical or mental incapacity, and related problems; and develop plans in cooperation with other public and private agencies for the prevention as well as treatment of conditions giving rise to public welfare problems.
XII. Social Service Programs. Develop a broad range of social and related services aimed at preventing dependency and family breakdown, promoting child development and child care, protecting vulnerable children and enabling them to live in their own homes or foster homes rather than in institutions, assisting individuals to attain and maintain self-support and strengthen family life, develop and operate social service programs within the department of health and human services, receive and distribute such federal funds which are allocated specifically to the state for day care for children and adults, and purchase or contract with other agencies or individuals to provide direct grants from sums appropriated for such purpose to other agencies upon submission of approvable plans within the objectives of this paragraph. Child care provided as a preventive or protective service shall be available to grandparents who are the legal guardians or primary caretakers of their grandchildren. Beginning July 1, 2021, child care providers who contract with the department to provide preventive and protective child care services shall be trained in trauma-informed care.
XII-a. Residential Care Facility Program. Develop a broad range of social and related services aimed at protecting adults and enabling aged and infirm adults to live in their own homes or residential care facilities rather than in institutions, assisting individuals to attain and maintain self-support and strengthen family life, develop and supervise a residential care facility program, receive and distribute federal funds which are allocated specifically to the state for adult service programs, purchase or contract with other agencies or individuals to provide direct grants from sums appropriated for such purpose to other agencies upon submission of approvable plans within the objectives of this paragraph.
XIII. Food Stamp Program. Develop and administer a food stamp program within the state, also known as SNAP, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, under the provisions of the Federal Food Stamp Act of 1964, as amended, and in accordance with Federal Regulations duly promulgated by the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
XIII-a. SNAP Incentive Programs. Implement SNAP incentive programs enabling beneficiaries of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to receive a dollar-for-dollar match for fresh fruits and vegetables, with an emphasis on locally grown, at participating farmer's markets, farm stands, mobile markets, community supported agriculture sites, grocery stores, or other participating direct food retailers.
XIV. Child Support Program. Establish, direct and maintain a program of child support based upon Title IV-D of the Social Security Act as amended. The commissioner is authorized to enter into agreements with any individual, state or local agency or governmental body and may employ such assistants, including, but not limited to, persons with legal training who are not licensed attorneys, as may be necessary to carry out the purpose of this paragraph.
XV. Special Investigations. Investigate and take any other appropriate actions relating to suspected violations of law or rules relative to programs administered by the department. The commissioner may enter into agreements with any individual or any state, federal, or local agency or governmental body and may employ individuals as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this paragraph.
XVI. Collection of Child Support. Establish, maintain and direct a system of collecting and disbursing payments, including an electronic benefits disbursement system as described in paragraph I, ordered in divorce, nonsupport and support for children of unwed parents cases when so ordered by the court in accordance with regulations established under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. All current and future cases in which the department of health and human services is ordered by the court to collect and enforce an obligation for support shall require IV-D status either through the receipt of public assistance under Title IV-A of the Social Security Act or by application for IV-D support services filed with the court and forwarded with the court order to the department of health and human services.
XVII. Review of Rates For Child Day Care Services. Review annually the rates established for the purchase of child day care services on behalf of eligible persons. This annual review shall consider the effects of the established rates on current costs, quality and availability of services.
XVIII. Refugee Resettlement. Administer the New Hampshire refugee resettlement program as funded by and in cooperation with the United States Department of Health and Human Services under the Refugee Act of 1980.

Source. PL 108:7. 1937, 202:6. 1939, 8:5. 1941, 125:1. RL 126:6. 1951, 90:1; 139:1-3. RSA 161:2. 1970, 34:2. 1971, 131:1. 1973, 353:1, 2. 1974, 14:1. 1975, 265:2-5. 1977, 589:2. 1979, 149:1-3. 1981, 189:5; 568:91, III. 1982, 42:23. 1983, 291:1; 465:1, 2. 1985, 237:1, 2. 1987, 343:6. 1988, 178:7; 289:2. 1989, 142:1. 1991, 186:1, 2. 1993, 22:1. 1995, 310:105, 175, 181, 183. 1999, 18:1. 2004, 260:24. 2010, Sp. Sess., 1:9, eff. June 10, 2010. 2019, 158:1, eff. Aug. 30, 2019. 2021, 91:401, eff. July 1, 2021.