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New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families Annual Data Book 2019. First Annual Data Book

State of New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Division for Children, Youth and Families – 2019

The people at DCYF are motivated by a vision of a whole-family, integrated approach to child welfare that works upstream to ensure the best possible outcomes for children and families. As we work collaboratively with stakeholders to transform New Hampshire’s child welfare system, we are simplifying structures, embracing a culture of safety, and engaging in a shoulder-to-shoulder effort among all stakeholders that will shift our focus from one of reaction to one of prevention, so that families are successful and strong before a crisis requires DCYF intervention. We extend our sincere thanks to the Child Welfare Systems Transformation Interagency Team, which has been instrumental in exploring the data, providing feedback, and supporting our efforts throughout this process. How will we know when we have achieved that vision? Data will serve as a tool to measure our progress, detect trends, drive long-term policy, and determine whether DCYF funding is effectively invested. The data we collect will help us to identify what is working and where challenges remain. It will guide our decision-making to create a system of child well-being that allows New Hampshire families to thrive. We are encouraged by the data in the first DCYF Data Book, which shows that for the first time since 2015, more children are exiting from out of home care than entering. This trend has remained consistent for the past six months. But there is more work to be done. We have secured funding for additional child protective service workers and supervisors to DCYF, case technicians and nursing staff, and we propose a fundamental shift in our in-home and residential services to children and families to increase clinical capacity and the use of evidence based programs. While DCYF is a critical part of the child welfare system, the health and safety of our most vulnerable residents depends on strong partnerships among all stakeholders across the child- and family-serving system – educators, medical professionals, law enforcement agencies, parents, families and others. As we work collaboratively with our stakeholders, the data in this report will continue to inform a system of child well-being that will be permanent and successful for all New Hampshire families.