PUBLIC SAFETY AND WELFARE
SERVICES FOR CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILIES
In this chapter, the following words shall have the following meanings:
I. "Agency" means any department, commission, board, institution, bureau, or office of the state, as well as other public and private children and youth service agencies providing services under contract with the department of health and human services.
II. "Advisory board" means the advisory board on children and youth services.
III. "Child" or "youth" means a person under 18 years of age.
IV. "Department" means the department of health and human services.
V. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of health and human services.
V-a. "Evidence-based practice" means a practice that has been recognized as supported by research evidence by an evidence-based clearinghouse, such as the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare and the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse. Other acceptable evidence-based practices shall include practices and programs evaluated using research which utilizes methods that meet high scientific standards. Acceptable methods shall include:
(a) Systematic, empirical techniques that draw on observation or experiment.
(b) Rigorous data analyses that are adequate to test stated hypotheses and justify general conclusions.
(c) Measurements or observational methods that provide reliable and valid data across evaluators and observers, across multiple measurements and observations, and across studies by the same or different investigators.
(d) Randomized controlled trials when possible and appropriate.
VI. "Juvenile probation and parole officer" means those persons responsible for investigating and supervising juveniles referred to the department pursuant to RSA 169-B and RSA 169-D.
VII. "Placement cost" means the amount appropriated for adoption subsidies, foster homes, foster care, and residential services including group homes.
VIII. "Psychotropic medication" means a drug prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner, to treat illnesses that affect psychological functioning, perception, behavior, or mood.
IX. "Medication restraint" means the involuntary administration of any medication, including a psychotropic medication, for the purpose of immediate control of behavior.
Source. 1983, 291:1, I; 416:1. 1985, 195:2. 1987, 402:3. 1990, 3:51. 1993, 247:1. 1994, 212:2. 1995, 181:5, 23, I; 310:141, 175. 2000, 294:9, eff. July 1, 2000. 2019, 44:14, eff. Aug. 2, 2019; 346:342, eff. July 1, 2019. 2021, 182:8, eff. Jan. 1, 2022.
170-G:2 Bureaus for Children, Youth, and Families.
I. There are hereby established within the department of health and human services the following bureaus:
(a) Bureau of children.
(b) Bureau of community services.
(c) Bureau of administrative services.
II. The commissioner may establish such other bureaus as may be necessary for the efficient performance of the duties prescribed in this chapter.
Source. 1983, 291:1; 416:1. 1985, 367:8. 1989, 146:5. 1994, 212:2. 1995, 181:23, II; 310:142, eff. Nov. 1, 1995.
170-G:3 Commissioner; Powers and Duties.
II. There shall be an administrator for each of the bureaus of the department established by RSA 170-G:2 to administer the laws and rules relative to his respective bureau, subject to the supervision of the commissioner. The administrator of each bureau within the department shall be a full-time classified employee and shall be appointed in accordance with the rules adopted by the director of personnel.
III. The commissioner shall hire such other employees necessary to perform the work of the department in accordance with rules adopted by the director of personnel. The number of juvenile probation and parole officers hired shall be consistent with the workload formula established by administrative rule pursuant to RSA 541-A and available funding.
IV. The commissioner of health and human services may transfer appropriations and personnel of the department in accordance with state procedures and the rules of the director of personnel for the purposes of carrying out the duties of the department.
V. The commissioner may assign the powers and duties of the department to the individual bureaus of the department.
VI. The commissioner shall have authority, after consultation with the insurance department and the division of risk and benefits, and in accordance with the procedures established by the commissioner of administrative services under RSA 21-I:7-c, V, to purchase insurance coverage for the benefit of individuals providing foster care to children within the jurisdiction of the department. The amount and nature of this insurance coverage may vary in the discretion of the commissioner of administrative services.
VII. (a) Any amounts appropriated for foster parents' defense expenses shall be used for the following purposes:
(1) To pay claims made in writing to the department by foster parents who have suffered property damage which was caused by foster children placed in the claimant's care by the department to the extent that such damage is not covered by insurance coverage or other sources of indemnification and in no event to exceed $500 per claim.
(2) To pay claims made in writing to the department by foster parents who have suffered personal injury to themselves or other immediate family members under their care which was caused by foster children placed in the claimant's care by the department to the extent that such damage is not covered by insurance coverage or other sources of indemnification and in no event to exceed $1,000 per claim.
(3) To pay legal defense expenses of foster parents who are named as defendants in judicial proceedings in which liability is based in whole or in part upon the alleged negligent performance of duties or responsibilities associated with the care of a foster child placed with the defendant by the department. Only legal defense expenses shall be paid under this subparagraph, and no funds shall be available for the settlement or compromise of claims or payment of judgments, provided that in no event shall more than $10,000 be expended for the defense of any single action or group of related actions brought against a foster parent. Claims for payment of legal defense expenses shall be in writing and shall cover only expenses incurred after the claim has been approved and the attorney general has designated the legal counsel who will undertake the defense.
(b) No payment shall be made under subparagraph (a)(1) or (2) unless the department investigates the claim and the commissioner, or the commissioner's designee, recommends to the division of risk and benefits that the claim, or some portion of the claim, be paid. If the division of risk and benefits determines that the claim meets the requirements of this paragraph and is reasonable in amount, the commissioner of administrative services, or the commissioner's designee, shall authorize such payment.
(c) No payment shall be made under subparagraph (a)(3) unless the department investigates the claim and the commissioner, or the commissioner's designee determines the foster parent did not act intentionally, willfully or recklessly, and recommends to the division of risk and benefits that the claim, or some portion of the claim, be paid. If the division of risk and benefits determines that the claim meets the requirements of this subparagraph, the attorney general shall be notified and shall select a qualified attorney to provide legal representation and defense to the claimant subject to the dollar limitations of subparagraph (a)(3), the recommendations of the division of risk and benefits, and the attorney general's own experience and expertise. The commissioner of administrative services, or the commissioner's designee, shall authorize payment of such amounts as are approved by the attorney general.
(d) The commissioner, the commissioner of administrative services, and the attorney general shall have authority to adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, for the proper implementation of their responsibilities under this paragraph.
VIII. The commissioner may establish a confidential peer support program for the purpose of providing critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services for staff exposed to critical incidents and trauma through the course of their employment.
(a) In this section:
(1) "Critical incident" means any incident that has a high emotional impact on the responders, or is beyond the realm of a person's usual experience that overwhelms his or her sense of vulnerability and/or lack of control over the situation.
(2) "Critical incident stress" means a normal reaction to an abnormal event that has the potential to interfere with normal functioning and that results from the response to a critical incident or long-term occupational exposure to a series of critical incident responses over a period of time that are believed to be causing debilitating stress that is affecting an emergency service provider and his or her work performance or family situation. This may include, but is not limited to, physical and emotional illness, failure of usual coping mechanisms, loss of interest in the job, personality changes, or loss of ability to function.
(3) "Critical incident stress management" means a process of crisis intervention designed to assist employees in coping with the psychological trauma resulting from response to a critical incident.
(4) "Critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services" means consultation, counseling, debriefing, defusing, intervention services, management, prevention, and referral provided by a critical incident stress management team member.
(5) "Critical incident stress management team" or "team" means the group of one or more trained volunteers, including members of peer support groups who offer critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services following a critical incident or long term or continued, debilitating stress being experienced by employees and affecting them or their family situation.
(6) "Critical incident stress management team member" or "team member" means an employee, including any specially trained to provide critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services as a member of an organized team.
(7) "Debriefing" means a closed, confidential discussion of a critical incident relating to the feelings and perceptions of those directly involved prior to, during, and after a stressful event. It is intended to provide support, education, and an outlet for associated views and feelings. Debriefings do not provide counseling or an operational critique of the incident.
(b)(1) Any information divulged to the team or a team member during the provision of critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services shall be kept confidential and shall not be disclosed to a third party or in a criminal, civil, or administrative proceeding. Records kept by critical incident stress management team members are not subject to subpoena, discovery, or introduction into evidence in a criminal, civil, or administrative action. Except as provided in subparagraph (c), no person, whether critical incident stress management team member or team leader providing or receiving critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services, shall be required to testify or divulge any information obtained solely through such crisis intervention.
(2) In any civil action against any individual, or the department, including the state of New Hampshire, arising out of the conduct of a member of such team, this section is not intended and shall not be admissible to establish negligence in any instance where requirements herein are higher than the standard of care that would otherwise have been applicable in such action under state law.
(c) A communication shall not be deemed confidential pursuant to this section if:
(1) The communication indicates the existence of a danger to the individual who receives critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services or to any other person or persons;
(2) The communication indicates the existence of past child abuse or neglect of the individual, abuse of an adult as defined by law, or family violence as defined by law; or
(3) The communication indicates the existence of a danger to the individual who receives critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services or to any other person or persons.
Source. 1983, 416:1. 1986, 128:13, III. 1987, 402:4. 1995, 294:2; 310:175, 183. 2000, 294:10. 2006, 70:7, 8, eff. June 24, 2006. 2019, 346:20, 21, eff. July 1, 2019. 2021, 122:52, eff. July 9, 2021.
170-G:4 Department; Powers and Duties.
The department shall have the power and duty to:
II. Provide, through social workers, services for all children and youth referred to it by the probate and district courts pursuant to RSA 169-C; 170-B; 170-C; and 463 and for all children and youth who are at risk of placement with the department in connection with child abuse or neglect.
II-a. Provide, through juvenile probation and parole officers, services for all children and youth referred to it by the district courts pursuant to RSA 169-B, and 169-D and for all children who are at risk of placement with the department in connection with the child's need for services or juvenile delinquency.
III. Develop and provide a comprehensive service plan for each child and youth who is or would be served by the department in accordance with Title IV-E of the Social Security Act. Such services may be assigned to a local provider in accordance with paragraph VI.
IV. Prepare and administer a comprehensive statewide service plan which addresses the needs of the state's children and youth on a geographic basis. Such plan shall include a schedule of costs for the services to be provided.
V. Cooperate with local programs and services for the prevention of crimes against children and youth and develop treatment options for children and youth; assist communities to develop services and placement options for children and youth; and cooperate with existing child and youth service agencies to assist communities with the development of positive child and youth policies and delinquency prevention programs. Such services, when appropriate, shall maintain the child or youth in his home and local community.
VI. With the approval of the commissioner of health and human services, enter into agreements with local providers to purchase their services. The bureau of planning, evaluation, research and training shall evaluate annually the programs of each provider.
VII. Develop and provide a coordinated program of training for providers of child or youth services and staff of the department who work with children and youth.
VIII. Request from any and all agencies and courts any and all information necessary and appropriate for the research and evaluation of services and programs provided for children or youth. The agencies and courts shall make such information available on forms provided by the department.
X. With the approval of the commissioner of health and human services, work with other agencies to develop agreements which clarify liability for costs of services and oversee the development and implementation of binding agreements between agencies providing children or youth services.
XI. Make recommendations to the general court relative to legislation necessary to ensure the coordination of services for children and youth.
XII. Work closely with the local public schools and other appropriate agencies in planning and implementing education and training programs for children and youth.
XIII. Assume and administer all the responsibilities and duties of the department of health and human services relative to child welfare services provided under RSA 161:2, II and XII relative to child welfare services funded through the social services block grant; 167:43; 167:51-167:53; 169-C; 170-A; 170-B; 170-C; 170-F; and 463 and provided under Title IV-B and Title IV-E of the Social Security Act.
XIII-a. To prepare and distribute the informational bulletin and materials as required under RSA 170-G:8-b.
XIV. In accordance with the rules adopted by the director of personnel pursuant to RSA 541-A, appoint a hearings officer or hearings officers, as necessary, to preside over such hearings as are required to comply with federal and state statutes and federal regulations or state rules.
XV. Certify already licensed facilities for the purpose of receiving minors who must be detained pursuant to RSA 169-B:14, or committed pursuant to RSA 169-B:19.
XVII. Establish rates for all services, placements and programs which are paid for by the department pursuant to RSA 169-B:40, 169-C:27, 169-D:29, and any services required to be provided by the department pursuant to paragraph II of this section. When educational aspects are present in any service, placement or program subject to rate-setting by the department, rates for the educational component shall be addressed jointly by the department and the department of education. Publication of rates of reimbursement shall be exempt from the provisions of RSA 541-A.
XVII-a. Review annually the rates established for the purchase of services, placements and programs pursuant to paragraph XVII of this section. This annual review shall consider the effects of the established rates on current costs, quality and availability of services.
XVIII. Certify all providers of services, placements and programs which are paid for by the department pursuant to RSA 169-B:40, 169-C:27, 169-D:29, and any services required to be provided by the department pursuant to paragraph II of this section. Each certification issued for this purpose shall have 2 components: one based upon standards of quality and performance, and one based upon the need the state may have for such service, placement or program. When educational aspects are present in any service, placement or program subject to certification by the department, certification for the educational component shall be addressed jointly by the department and the department of education. The commissioner of the department of health and human services shall develop by rule an appeal process for providers of services, placements, and programs who have sought and been refused certification under this paragraph.
XIX. Implement and administer an automated case management system in compliance with federal and state system development requirements which addresses the needs of the state's children and youth.
XX. The department shall develop and administer an array of community-based, evidence-based, parental assistance programs that are designed to reduce child maltreatment, improve parent-child interactions, improve skills for regulating behavior and coping adaptively, and facilitate improved coordination of services and referrals, using such funds as are appropriated by the general court for this purpose. The department shall prioritize the development of these programs in public health regions with the highest need as determined by the rates of poverty, child maltreatment, and other appropriate measures of social vulnerability. The department shall develop outcome measures for the programs implemented and funded pursuant to this paragraph. On or before June 30, 2019, and each year thereafter, the department shall submit a report to the wellness and primary prevention council on the use of these funds and the outcomes they have produced. The commissioner of the department of health and human services shall adopt rules pursuant to RSA 541-A as necessary to implement this paragraph.
XXI. Utilize, to the fullest permissible extent, available public reimbursement for behavioral health and other services provided pursuant to this chapter and RSA 169-B, 169-C, and 169-D, in settings including the home, schools, and treatment facilities. Such reimbursement includes, but is not limited to, the federal Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Program under 42 U.S.C. section 1396d.
XXII. Encourage cities, towns, counties, and non-governmental organizations to develop and maintain court-approved diversion programs for juveniles. The amount to be distributed to the diversion programs shall be not more than $600,000 for the biennium ending June 30, 2021, from which the sum of $30,000 in each year of the biennium shall be reserved for newly approved programs, with the remainder divided equally among existing, approved programs that make application for such funding. The judicial branch family division shall establish requirements for court-approved diversion programs under this section and RSA 169-B:10.
XXIII. Ensure that division for children, youth and families (DCYF) district office nurses provide medication monitoring for children in foster care receiving psychotropic medication pursuant to current American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) Standards, which shall include providing relevant health education and guidance to caregivers and DCYF field staff, and that any use of medication restraint conforms with the limitations in RSA 126-U.
Source. 1983, 291:1; 416:1, 38, 39. 1985, 318:12; 367:9; 379:6; 380:53. 1986, 5:3. 1987, 402:5, 37, 38. 1988, 178:2, 6. 1990, 142:1. 1992, 216:2. 1993, 247:2. 1994, 212:2. 1995, 181:23, III; 310:175, 181, 183. 2000, 294:10. 2001, 117:3. 2009, 144:31. 2010, Sp. Sess., 1:38, 80. 2011, 224:28. 2012, 247:40, III, eff. Aug. 17, 2012. 2018, 337:13, eff. July 1, 2018. 2019, 44:15, eff. Aug. 2, 2019; 346:343, 370, eff. July 1, 2019. 2021, 182:9, eff. Jan. 1, 2022.
I. Any service provider may appeal decisions made by the department relative to rates or certifications pursuant to RSA 170-G:4, XVII or XVIII by filing an appeal with the commissioner of health and human services.
II. The appeal shall be in writing, signed by a person duly authorized by the service provider to submit the appeal, and shall state the specific reasons for the appeal.
III. The appeal shall be filed within 14 working days of the date of written notification sent to the applicant, stating the decision of the commissioner regarding rates or certification.
IV. The appeal shall be heard under RSA 541-A:31-36 by the commissioner or his or her designee. No person hearing the appeal shall have had any involvement in establishing the rate or deciding on the certification that is the subject of the appeal, or be affiliated in any way with the appellant.
Source. 1988, 178:1. 1994, 412:21. 1995, 310:175, 183. 2011, 231:3, eff. June 29, 2011.
170-G:4-b Evidence-Based Practices.
I. On or before July 1, 2020, at least 10 percent of state funds received by the department for children's behavioral health services, whether or not they are subject to this chapter, shall be expended for evidence-based practices. Beginning July 1, 2022, the percentage of state funds expended for evidence-based practices shall be at least 25 percent; and beginning July 1, 2025, the percentage expended for evidence-based practices shall be at least 50 percent.
II. The department shall submit a biennial report containing:
(a) An assessment of each service provider on which the department expends funds, including but not limited to whether each service provided is an evidence-based practice, and whether the service provider is in compliance with the contract accountability requirements of RSA 170-G:4-d.
(b) The percentage of state funds the department receives for behavioral health services that is being expended on evidence-based practices.
(c) The percentage of federal and other funds the department receives for behavioral health services that is being expended on evidence-based practices.
(d) A description of the efforts the department is making to increase the use of evidence-based practices for children's behavioral health and other services.
III. The department shall submit the report required under paragraph II no later than January 15 of each odd-numbered year to the governor, the administrative justice of the circuit court, and the house and senate finance committees. The report shall also be posted on the department's website.
Source. 2019, 44:16, eff. July 1, 2020; 346:344, eff. July 1, 2020.
170-G:4-c Establishment of Resource Center for Children's Behavioral Health.
The department shall establish and maintain a resource center for children's behavioral health, which shall:
I. Provide technical assistance to the department and to service providers to support the implementation and operation of evidence-based practices, along with the provision of services according to the system of care characteristics described in RSA 135-F:3.
II. Provide training on a statewide basis to persons employed in the children's behavioral health system, relating to:
(a) The use of evidence-based practices.
(b) The analysis of quality assurance protocols to determine whether service providers are utilizing evidence-based practices with fidelity.
III. Act as a clearinghouse for information and statewide resources on evidence-based practices for children receiving services pursuant to RSA 169-B, 169-C, 169-D, and 170-G.
IV. Facilitate collaboration among state and local agencies and service providers to increase access to such providers.
V. Provide support for the assessment of the implementation of evidence-based practices by such state and local agencies.
Source. 2019, 44:16, eff. Aug. 2, 2019; 346:344, eff. July 1, 2019.
170-G:4-d Content of Provider Contracts.
I. All contracts between the department and providers of services under this chapter, or any behavior health service to children, shall include provisions addressing outcome measurement, incentives for the use of evidence-based practices, and accountability for high-quality services. Such provisions shall, at minimum, include the following:
(a) Required use of a uniform assessment instrument developed and/or approved by the department pursuant to RSA 170-G:4-e.
(b) In the case of providers of services to children pursuant to the dispositional authority of the circuit court under RSA 169-B and 169-D, outcome measurement which includes recidivism as measured by post-service arrests, violations of parole, conditional release, or other conditional liberty, and behavior meeting the definition of a child in need of service under RSA 169-D:2. Contracts with such providers shall also include incentives for recidivism reduction.
(c) Reporting to the department changes in assessment results following provision of the contracted service for each child served.
I-a. The commissioner shall employ a procurement model for administering the provision of therapeutic-based residential behavioral health treatment services provided pursuant to RSA 170-G and RSA 135-F. All contracts shall incorporate the use of trauma-focused models of care. In cases where the unique needs of a juvenile or the capacity of a contracted provider prevent the use of a contracted provider, the commissioner may approve and shall pay for placement with another certified provider on a temporary basis if the commissioner determines that the placement is necessary to meet the juvenile's immediate treatment needs.
II. The department shall include substantially similar requirements in its standards for provider certification and other processes administered by the department to qualify providers to deliver services pursuant to this chapter.
Source. 2019, 44:16, eff. Jan. 1, 2020; 346:344, eff. Jan. 1, 2020. 2021, 122:53, eff. July 9, 2021.
170-G:4-e Assessment, Treatment, and Discharge Planning.
I. In every case in which a placement outside the home is being considered, the department shall require the completion of a written clinical assessment of the behavioral health and other treatment needs of the child.
II. A written treatment plan shall be required upon a child's placement in a residential or other treatment program. The plan shall have definable goals and strategies to achieve those goals and include concrete, outcome-oriented interventions with the objective of restoring, rehabilitating, or maintaining the child's capacity to successfully function in the community and diminish the need for a more intensive level of care.
III. The development of a written discharge plan for each child shall begin upon admission to any treatment program, and shall be available to the parents or guardians of the child no later than 10 days following admission to the program. Treatment and discharge plans shall be updated on an ongoing basis as treatment proceeds and a child's condition changes.
IV. All assessments conducted pursuant to this section shall include the use of a universal, strengths-based assessment tool which is adopted by the department and used throughout the system of care for children's mental health as defined in RSA 135-F.
V. The assessment of the child's behavioral health and other treatment needs shall be repeated upon discharge from any residential treatment program or commitment pursuant to RSA 169-B:19, I(j).
VI. Assessments required by this section may not be conducted by employees of a residential treatment provider or commitment pursuant to RSA 169-B:19, I(j).
Source. 2019, 44:16, eff. Aug. 2, 2019; 346:344, eff. July 1, 2019.
170-G:4-f Medical Assistance Screening.
The department of health and human services shall establish a procedure to assess court-involved children for eligibility for private and public medical insurance, including the medical assistance program under RSA 167. This procedure shall apply to any child who is subject to proceedings under RSA 169-B or 169-D, or receives services pursuant to RSA 169-C. Children who may be eligible and their families shall be provided assistance by the department in making application for such assistance. The circuit court shall make any necessary adjustments to its arraignment and other procedures to facilitate such assessments.
Source. 2019, 44:16, eff. Aug. 2, 2019; 346:344, eff. July 1, 2019.
170-G:4-g Kinship Navigator Program.
The department shall establish a kinship navigator program to offer information, referral, and follow up services to grandparents and other relatives raising children to link them to available services and benefits. The program also may be used to promote effective partnerships among public and private agencies to ensure that the needs of kinship caregiver families are met and to provide education and outreach to the community regarding kinship caregiver families. Any program established by the department shall meet the federal criteria for kinship navigator programs in 42 U.S.C. section 627.
Source. 2020, 26:45, eff. Sept. 18, 2020.
170-G:4-h Establishing the Emergency Services for Children, Youth, and Families Fund.
There is hereby established in the state treasury the emergency services for children, youth, and families fund. The funds shall be used by the department to meet the immediate needs of children and families as required to ensure the department is making reasonable efforts to avoid the removal of children and support reunification. The use of these funds shall be limited to instances when there are no other supports or services available to meet the immediate need in a timely manner. The funds may be comprised of public funds, gifts, grants or donations or any other source of funds. The fund shall be non-lapsing and shall be continually appropriated to the department for purposes funding emergency services administered by the department, or its providers, under RSA 169-B, RSA 169-C, RSA 169-D or under this chapter.
Source. 2021, 91:31, eff. July 1, 2021.
[RSA 170-G:4-i effective January 1, 2023.]
170-G:4-i Assessment for the Use of Psychotropic Medications.
For children in out-of-home care with the department, prior to seeking a prescription or renewal for psychotropic medication, the department shall ensure the undertaking of, and guidance from, a recent comprehensive medical assessment to rule out an underlying physical cause and a comprehensive psychosocial assessment to address psychosocial issues. The prescribing of any medication shall include consultation with the child's caregiver or legal guardian and the division for children, youth and families (DCYF) district nurse. The use of medication restraint shall be limited as provided in RSA 126-U.
Source. 2021, 182:12, eff. Jan. 1, 2023.
The commissioner of health and human services shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter.
Source. 1983, 416:1, eff. July 1, 1983.
170-G:5-a County Reimbursement.
County payments due under RSA 169-B:40, 169-C:27 and 169-D:29 shall be paid to the department of health and human services on a monthly basis within 45 days' notice of the amount due to the state. Delinquent payments due under these chapters, with interest at the rate of 12 percent per annum, may be recovered by action in a court of competent jurisdiction against the political subdivision liable therefor or may, at the request of the state agency, be deducted from any other moneys payable to such subdivision by any department or agency of the state.
Source. 1985, 380:26. 1994, 212:2. 1995, 310:181. 2001, 93:8, eff. June 21, 2001.
170-G:6 Repealed by 2011, 231:2(4), eff. Dec. 31, 2011.
170-G:6-a Advisory Board.
I. There is hereby established a board to advise the department of health and human services on services for children, youth, and families. The board shall consist of 12 members and such additional members as may be necessary to comply with federal regulations for the acceptance of federal funds and as may be necessary to make reasonable attempts to achieve representation of each county. Members of the board shall represent:
(a) Community youth service agencies.
(b) The juvenile justice field, law enforcement, probation, police, courts, and attorneys.
(c) Appropriate professional fields such as psychology, social services, education, and health.
(d) Members of the public whose family has been affected by the department of health and human services, division for children, youth and families.
(e) Members of the general court.
II. Each member shall serve a term of 3 years; provided that legislative members shall serve a term coterminous with their term in office. A member shall continue to serve until a successor is appointed in the same manner as the original appointment. Members of the board shall serve without compensation but shall receive mileage payments at the state employee rate within the limits of funds appropriated to the department. Five members of the board shall constitute a quorum.
III. Members of the board who meet the criteria and qualifications described in paragraph I shall be appointed in the following manner:
(a) The governor shall appoint 4 members.
(b) The senate president shall appoint 4 members.
(c) The speaker of the house of representatives shall appoint 4 members.
(d) Any additional members shall be recommended by the commissioner and appointed by the governor and council.
Source. 2015, 154:1, eff. June 12, 2015. 2017, 156:181, 182, eff. July 1, 2017. 2019, 298:1, eff. July 29, 2019.
170-G:7 Board; Operation.
The board shall operate as follows:
I. The board shall elect one member to serve as a chairman. The term shall be for one year, and a member may serve up to 3 consecutive terms as chairman.
II. The board shall appoint officers and create subcommittees as the board deems necessary and appropriate.
III. The board shall meet at least quarterly, and may meet upon the call of the chair or a majority of its membership.
Source. 1983, 416:1, eff. July 1, 1983.
170-G:8 Board; Powers and Duties.
The board shall have the power and duty to:
I. Advise the New Hampshire crime commission in administering the commission's functions under RSA 7-B and federal law.
II. Request assistance of the department as necessary to carry out its duties under state and federal law. The department shall render such assistance when requested by the board.
Source. 1983, 416:1. 1995, 310:175, eff. Nov. 1, 1995.
170-G:8-a Record Content; Confidentiality; Rulemaking.
I. The case records of the department consist of all official records, regardless of the media upon which they are retained, created by the department of health and human services in connection with a report received pursuant to RSA 169-C:29, or cases brought under RSA 169-B, 169-C, 169-D, or 463, or services provided to the child or family without a court order pursuant to RSA 170-G:4, including intake and assessment reports, service or case plans, case logs, termination reports and a list of persons or entities providing reports to the department or services to the child or family. Such records do not include:
(a) Records created as part of an action brought pursuant to RSA 170-B or 170-C.
(b) Records submitted to or maintained by the courts, or records created by third parties, such as psychologists, physicians, and police officers, even if such records are prepared or furnished at the request of the department. Requests for access to court records and records created by third parties may be made directly to the court or to the third party who created the record. Nothing in this section shall restrict or limit access to records filed pursuant to RSA 169-C:12-b.
(c) Reports contained in the central registry of abuse and neglect reports maintained pursuant to RSA 169-C:35.
(d) The name of a person who makes a report of suspected abuse or neglect of a child pursuant to RSA 169-C:29, or any information which would identify the reporter.
II. The case records of the department shall be confidential.
(a) The department shall provide access to the case records to the following persons unless the commissioner or designee determines that the harm to the child named in the case record resulting from the disclosure outweighs the need for the disclosure presented by the person requesting access:
(1) The child named in the case record.
(2) The parent of the child named in the case record, as defined in RSA 169-C:3, XXI.
(3) The guardian or custodian of the child named in the case record.
(4) Another member of the family of the child named in the case record, if disclosure is necessary for the provision of services to the child or other family member.
(5) Employees of the department and legal counsel representing employees of the department for the purpose of carrying out their official functions.
(6) Persons made parties to judicial proceedings in New Hampshire relative to the child or family, whether civil or criminal, including the court with jurisdiction over the proceeding, any attorney for any party, and any guardian ad litem appointed in the proceeding.
(7) A grand jury, upon its determination that access to such records is necessary in the conduct of its official business.
(8) The relevant county.
(9) Another state's child welfare agency or other government entity, or any law enforcement agency, including local and out-of-state law enforcement agencies, that requires the information in order to carry out its responsibility under law to protect children from abuse or neglect, including the investigation of child fatalities. For the purposes of this subparagraph, the term "law enforcement agency" shall include the attorney general, a county attorney, a county sheriff, the state police, and any local police department.
(b) The department shall disclose information from case records or provide access to case records to the following persons or entities, if such information or access is not harmful to the child and is necessary in order to enable the person or entity requesting information or access to evaluate or provide services, treatment or supervision to the child named in the case record or to the family:
(1) A person or entity requested by the department or ordered by the court to perform an evaluation or assessment on or to create a service plan for the child named in the case record, the child's family, or an individual member of the child's family.
(2) A person or entity requested by the department or ordered by the court to provide services to the child named in the case record or the child's family.
(3) The superintendent of schools for the school district in which the child named in the case record is then, or will, according to the child's case plan, be attending school.
(4) The person or entity with whom the child resides, if that person is not the child's parent, guardian, or custodian.
(5) The child's primary health care provider.
(6) A licensed medical practitioner who is overseeing the use of psychotropic medication prescribed to the child.
III. The commissioner shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, governing the procedures regulating access to all of the records of the department. Such rules shall contain provisions relative to:
(a) Access to case records by persons named in paragraph II of this section.
(b) Access to case records by a physician who has examined a child who the physician reasonably suspects may be abused or neglected.
(d) Access to case records by a state official who is responsible for the provision of services to children and families, or a legislative official who has been statutorily granted specific responsibility for oversight of enabling or appropriating legislation related to the provision of services to children and families, for the purposes of carrying out their official functions, provided that no information identifying the subject of the record shall be disclosed unless such information is essential to the performance of the official function, and each person identified in the record or the person's authorized representative has authorized such disclosure in writing.
(e) Access to case records by a person conducting a bona fide research or evaluation project, provided that no information identifying the subject of the record shall be disclosed unless such information is essential to the purpose of the research, each person identified in the record or an authorized representative has authorized such disclosure in writing, and the department has granted its approval in writing.
(f) Access to case records by any person making a report of suspected child abuse or neglect pursuant to RSA 169-C:29, provided that such disclosure is limited to information about the status of the report under investigation, or information reasonably required to protect the safety of such person.
(g) Access to all other records of the department which are not case records as defined in paragraph II.
IV. Additional access to case records and all other records of the department shall be granted pursuant to the terms of a final order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction.
V. It shall be unlawful for any person entrusted with information from case records to disclose such records or information contained in them. Notwithstanding the previous sentence, it shall not be unlawful for a parent or child to disclose case records or the information contained in them to persons providing counsel to the child or family. It shall be unlawful for any person who receives case records or the information contained in them from a parent or a child to disclose such records or information. Any person who knowingly discloses case records or information contained in them in violation of this paragraph shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
VI. Notwithstanding the foregoing:
(a) Any person who is entitled to access a case record pursuant to this section may share such information with any other person entitled to access pursuant to this section, unless the commissioner or a designee shall specifically prohibit such additional disclosure in order to prevent harm to a child.
(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require access to any records in violation of the order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
Source. 1985, 367:10. 1993, 355:8. 1994, 212:2. 1995, 310:143, 175, 181, 183. 2009, 47:1, eff. July 21, 2009. 2016, 202:2, 3, eff. Aug. 5, 2016. 2019, 45:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2020. 2021, 182:10, eff. Jan. 1, 2022.
170-G:8-aa Court Review.
I. The commissioner or designee shall have 30 days in open cases and 60 days in closed cases from the date a written request for access to case records is received by the district office where the case records are or were located, to limit or deny access to the case records pursuant to RSA 170-G:8-a, II. Any decision by the commissioner or designee relative to access to case records shall be in writing and shall set forth the harm that may result to the child if the requested access is provided.
II. The party requesting access may present to the court with jurisdiction over the case giving rise to the request for access or, if the request for access does not arise in the context of an existing judicial proceeding, to the district court for the judicial district in which the person making the request resides, a written petition, duly verified, setting forth that the decision of the commissioner or designee is illegal or unreasonable in whole or in part and specifying the grounds upon which the decision is claimed to be illegal or unreasonable. Such petition shall be presented to the court within 60 days after the date of the written decision of the commissioner or designee.
III. Upon presentation of the petition, the court shall issue an order directed to the department prescribing the time within which return shall be made and served on the petitioner and the records and other documents to be provided to the court by the department. The return shall set forth concisely such facts as may be pertinent and material, show the grounds of the decision to be reviewed, and shall be verified. If an attorney or a guardian ad litem for the child named in the case record had been appointed to represent the child in the case giving rise to the request to access, the department shall provide such person with copies of its decision, the petition, and the department's response. Such attorney or guardian ad litem may participate in the judicial proceedings described in this section by filing a written response and participating in any hearings scheduled by the court pursuant to paragraph IV of this section. Nothing in this section shall require the appointment of an attorney or guardian ad litem to represent the interest of a child in the proceedings described in this section.
IV. The court shall review the petition, return, other responses, and records and shall hold a hearing on its own motion or if requested by the petitioner. Thereafter, the court shall issue such orders as may be appropriate. Costs shall not be allowed against the state unless it shall appear to the court that the department acted in bad faith or with malice in denying or limiting access to case records.
V. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this section, if the petitioner's request for access occurs in the context of an existing judicial proceeding, the court with jurisdiction over the case may establish time limitations different from those contained in this section to facilitate the disposition of the case.
Source. 1993, 355:9. 1995, 310:144, 175, eff. Nov. 1, 1995.
170-G:8-b Informational Materials.
I. The department shall acquire or prepare informational materials relating to missing children issues and matters. These issues and matters include, but are not limited to, the following:
(a) Offenses under federal law that could relate to missing children and other provisions of federal law that focus on missing children.
(b) Statutory offenses that could relate to missing children, including, but not limited to, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, child stealing, interference with custody, endangering the welfare of a child, domestic violence, abuse of a child, neglect, delinquency of a child, sexual offenses, drug offenses, prostitution offenses, obscenity offenses, and other provision of law that could relate to missing children.
(c) Legislation being considered by the general court, legislatures of other states, the Congress of the United States, and political subdivisions in this and other states to address missing children issues.
(d) Sources of information on missing children issues.
(e) State, local, federal, and private systems for locating and identifying missing children.
(f) Law enforcement agency programs, responsibilities, and investigative techniques in missing children matters.
(g) Efforts on the community level in this and other states, concerning missing children issues and matters, by governmental entities and private organizations.
(h) The identification of private organizations that, among their primary objectives, address missing children issues and matters, and any toll free numbers offered by these organizations.
II. The department shall provide, upon request and subject to paragraph III, a copy of any informational material to another person or entity.
III. The commissioner shall by rule establish a reasonable fee for a copy of any informational material acquired or prepared pursuant to paragraph I, to be provided to a person or entity other than a law enforcement agency in this or other states or of the federal government, a board of education of a school district in this state, a nonpublic school in this state, a governmental entity in this state, or a library in this state. The fee shall be collected by the department prior to sending or giving any informational material to such a person or entity. Fees collected pursuant to this paragraph shall be deposited monthly in the general fund.
Source. 1985, 318:13. 1995, 310:175, 183, eff. Nov. 1, 1995. 2021, 122:54, eff. July 9, 2021.
170-G:8-c State Registry and Criminal Records Check.
I. The department shall, prior to adding new or transferred staff members whose job descriptions would cause them to come into direct contact with children, submit the names, birth names, birth dates, and addresses of such individuals for review against the state registry of founded abuse and neglect reports and the division of state police for information about criminal convictions.
II. Prior to the renewal of any current employment contract of existing employees whose job description would cause them to come into direct contact with children, the department shall submit the names, birth names, birth dates, and addresses of such individuals for review against the state registry of founded abuse and neglect reports, and for review by the division of state police for information about criminal convictions.
III. The department shall, for every name submitted on the application and for each new or transferred staff member, or for existing staff members in accordance with paragraph II of this section, review the names, birth names, birth dates, and current and previous addresses of such persons against the state registry of founded abuse and neglect reports. The department shall submit the names, birth names, birth dates, and addresses to the division of state police to obtain information about criminal convictions.
IV. If any individual whose name has been submitted for a check under this section has been convicted of crimes against minors or adults, or is the subject of a founded report of child abuse or neglect, the department may deny employment to such person pending the development and implementation of a corrective action plan approved by the department. The department shall conduct an investigation in accordance with rules adopted under this chapter to determine whether the individual poses a present threat to the safety of children. The investigation shall include an opportunity for the individual to present evidence and to show that the individual does not pose a threat to the safety of children.
V. For any current employee convicted of a crime against a minor or adult, or who is or becomes the subject of a founded report of child abuse or neglect, the department may terminate, suspend, demote, or transfer that employee, and may require the development and implementation of a corrective action plan approved by the department. The department shall conduct an investigation in accordance with the rules adopted under this chapter to determine whether the individual poses a present threat to the safety of children. The investigation shall include an opportunity for the individual to present evidence and to show that the individual does not pose a threat to the safety of children.
VI. Any employee transferred to the department from another state department or agency, whose job description within the department of health and human services would cause such employee to come into direct contact with children, shall be subject to provisions of this section.
VII. The commissioner shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to the confidentiality of information collected under this section and to the release, if any, of such information.
Source. 1998, 354:2, eff. Jan. 1, 1999.
Youth Services Center
170-G:9 Repealed by 1995, 181:23, IV, eff. July 1, 1995.
170-G:10 Repealed by 1995, 181:23, V, eff. July 1, 1995.
170-G:11 Repealed by 1995, 181:23, VI, eff. July 1, 1995.
170-G:12 Repealed by 1995, 181:23, VII, eff. July 1, 1995.
170-G:13 Repealed by 1995, 181:23, VIII, eff. July 1, 1995.
170-G:14 Purpose of Juvenile Services.
Establishment of field services under the administration of the department of health and human services for children in need of services and juvenile delinquents will support the state's continuing efforts to consolidate in one agency the field services provided to children and youth.
Source. 1987, 402:6. 1994, 212:2. 1995, 310:181, eff. Nov. 1, 1995.
170-G:15 Assignment of Juvenile Probation and Parole Officers.
The commissioner shall, through rules adopted pursuant to RSA 541-A, assign permanent juvenile probation and parole officers to each judicial district consistent with the workload formula established by the department.
Source. 1987, 402:6. 1995, 310:175, 183. 2000, 294:10. 2005, 9:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2006.
170-G:16 Juvenile Probation and Parole Officers; Powers and Duties.
Juvenile probation and parole officers under the administration of the department of health and human services shall have the power and duty:
I. To serve as officers of the court and investigate at the request of any justice of the district courts which they serve, any case, matter, or questions, and to report the results of such investigation with recommendations to the authority which ordered the investigation.
II. To take charge of and provide supervision of juveniles, attempting to assist them in establishing law-abiding lives while monitoring their behavior through school, home, work, office, and other contacts to insure that they comply with court orders.
III. To report promptly to the appropriate district court violations of court orders and conditions which are required by statute, the district court, or which, in the opinion of the officer, are serious enough to warrant consideration. Such reports shall include recommendations as to actions which the officer believes to be appropriate.
IV. To arrest and take into custody any minor who is found violating any law, or who is reasonably believed to be a fugitive from justice, or whose circumstances are such as to endanger his person or welfare, unless immediate action is taken.
V. To participate in community service activities, diversion programs, and other duties as may be assigned by the commissioner of the department of health and human services, or designee.
Source. 1987, 402:6. 1994, 212:2. 1995, 310:145, 181. 2000, 294:10, eff. July 1, 2000.
Commission to Study Grandfamilies in New Hampshire
170-G:17 Repealed by 2017, 84:2, eff. Sept. 1 2018.
170-G:17-a Repealed by 2019, 197:2, effective Sept. 1, 2020.
[RSA 170-G:17-b repealed by 2021, 178:3, II, effective November 1, 2022.]
170-G:17-b Commission to Study Grandfamilies in New Hampshire.
I. There is established a commission to study grandfamilies in New Hampshire. The membership of the commission shall be as follows:
(a) One member of the senate, appointed by the senate president.
(b) Three members of the house of representatives, one of whom shall serve on the health, human services and elderly affairs committee, one of whom shall serve on the committee responsible for children and family law, and one of whom shall serve on the finance committee, appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives.
(c) The commissioner of the department of health and human services, or designee.
(d) The commissioner of the department of education, or designee.
(e) One representative of the division of family assistance, department of health and human services, appointed by that division.
(f) One representative of the division for children, youth and families, department of health and human services, appointed by that division.
(g) One representative of the Family Assistance Advisory Council, appointed by the council.
(h) One representative of Waypoint, formerly Child and Family Services of New Hampshire, appointed by that organization.
(i) One representative of a family resource center, appointed by Family Support New Hampshire.
(j) One representative of Court Appointed Special Advocates of New Hampshire, appointed by that organization.
(k) One representative of New Futures, appointed by that organization.
(l) One representative of National Alliance on Mental Illness New Hampshire, appointed by that organization.
(m) One representative of the NH Head Start Directors Association, appointed by the association.
(n) One public school principal, appointed by the New Hampshire Association of School Principals.
(o) One pediatrician licensed in New Hampshire, appointed by the New Hampshire Pediatric Society.
(p) One member of the New Hampshire Bar Association, appointed by the association.
(q) One representative of AARP, appointed by that organization.
(r) One representative of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, appointed by the association.
(s) Three grandparent caregivers, appointed by the Family Assistance Advisory Council.
(t) One representative of a community health center in New Hampshire, appointed by the governor.
(u) One member of the Parenting a Second Time Around (PASTA) support group, appointed by the YMCA of Greater Londonderry.
II. The commission shall address issues related to grandfamilies in New Hampshire. The commission's duties shall include, but not be limited to:
(a) Review of current data regarding grandfamilies in New Hampshire.
(b) Review of current barriers facing grandparents who are raising children in New Hampshire.
(c) Identification of causes of issues affecting New Hampshire grandfamilies.
(d) Development of corrective actions for addressing issues facing grandfamilies in New Hampshire.
(e) Identification of current actions being taken to assist grandfamilies in New Hampshire and their effectiveness.
III. Members of the commission shall elect a chairperson from among the members. The first meeting of the commission shall be called by the senate member. The first meeting of the commission shall be held within 30 days of the effective date of this section. Seven members of the commission shall constitute a quorum.
IV. Legislative members of the commission shall receive mileage at the legislative rate when attending to the duties of the commission.
V. The commission shall submit an interim report of its findings and any recommendations for proposed legislation to the president of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives, the senate clerk, the house clerk, the governor, and the state library on or before November 1, 2021. The commission shall submit a final report on or before November 1, 2022.
Source. 2021, 178:2, eff. July 30, 2021.
Office of the Child Advocate
Section 170-G:18, 170-G:19
170-G:18, 170-G:19 Repealed by 2020, 26:11, eff. Sept. 18, 2020.
Foster Care Children's Bill of Rights
170-G:20 Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standard.
The rights of children in foster care exist within the context of the reasonable and prudent parent standard defined in 42 U.S.C. section 675(10). This means that foster parents, caretakers, and department staff must make careful and sensible decisions that maintain the health, safety, and best interests of a child while at the same time encouraging the emotional and developmental growth of the child. The rights and privileges established in this section are to be applied in accordance with the reasonable and prudent parent standard, in a context appropriate to the age and developmental level of the child, and in recognition of the fact that some of these privileges may need to be earned.
Source. 2018, 220:2, eff. June 8, 2018.
170-G:21 Foster Care Children's Bill of Rights.
A child who is placed in a foster home or other out-of-home placement pursuant to a juvenile court proceeding under RSA 169-B, RSA 169-C, or RSA 169-D shall have the right or privilege:
I. To be supported in a healthy growth and developmental process from early childhood to adulthood and to be protected from all forms of abuse.
II. To receive appropriate and team recommended treatments, including counseling, medical care, and dental treatment, within a reasonable period.
II-a. To receive appropriate medical supervision of any prescribed psychotropic medications.
III. To receive support from department staff, and his or her foster family or residential provider in maintaining positive contact with significant people, such as relatives, friends, teachers, and community supports, including assistance with obtaining contact information, transportation, and reasonable visitation opportunities.
IV. To develop a group of supportive adults, which may, when appropriate, include department staff, foster parents, residential staff, therapists, and other individuals with responsibility for case planning.
V. To be treated with courtesy and respect by department staff, foster parents, residential staff, and providers without regard to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or disability and to participate in activities associated with his or her religious beliefs.
VI. To participate in "normal" activities consistent with his or her age and developmental level, such as opening a bank account, celebrating birthdays, participating in graduations, and obtaining an identity card, unless restricted by the child's treatment plan, case plan, or the availability of financial resources.
VII. To receive notice of any meetings regarding the child's case and to have opportunities to resolve potential barriers to participation, such as a lack of transportation or conflict with the child's academic schedule.
VIII. To receive timely information about decisions that affect the child's life and to be notified of changes that affect his or her case plan, treatment plan, permanency, safety, stability, or wellbeing, and to have his or her voice considered in these decisions.
IX. To be informed of all assistance that the department offers foster children related to permanency planning, education, employment, housing, and wellbeing.
X. To receive assistance in acquiring life skills, education, training, and career guidance to accomplish personal goals, prepare for the future, and to become a self-sufficient adult after the child's transition from care.
XI. To have an achievable transition plan when the child leaves care that is created by the foster child with the help of his or her support group.
XII. To attend and participate in court hearings to the extent permitted by the court and appropriate given the age and experience of the child.
XIII. To utilize technology, such as social networking sites and cell phones, based on the child's level of maturity and responsibility and taking into account the environment in which the child is living, the support of his or her treatment team, the financial costs involved, and the child's ability to maintain privileges.
XIV. To be informed of the process for contacting the child protective services worker's supervisor, or other department staff, the guardian ad litem, and the office of the child advocate.
XV. To be informed by the department of the rights set forth in this section and to receive assistance in obtaining and enforcing them.
Source. 2018, 220:2, eff. June 8, 2018. 2021, 182:11, eff. Jan. 1, 2022.