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Inaugural DCYF Data Book Shows Increase in Exits from Child Welfare System, Record Number of Reports
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Issued by Division for Children, Youth and Families
Publish Date:
October 11, 2019

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) has released its first Annual Data Book. The Data Book presents and analyzes key information on DCYF’s child protection, foster and adoptive care, juvenile justice, and community and family support programs.

“In 2017, we began making critical investments in our child protection system. Real reform was needed to ensure that at all points of a child’s development, at any age and for whatever the reason, that we are doing what can to ensure our kids are safe. The fact that more kids are leaving the system than entering is a promising sign of a healthy system,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “There is more to do, but today’s report demonstrates that we are making real, positive progress.”

“The goal of the DCYF Data Book is to provide a transparent and accurate snapshot of the child-serving system in New Hampshire, so that anyone can look at our data and see our numbers at any time,” said DHHS Commissioner Jeffrey A. Meyers. “We are pleased to share the improvements we’ve seen so far, and we will continue to use data to drive planning and decision-making to secure the most positive outcomes for all children and families in New Hampshire.”

During State Fiscal Year 2019, the DCYF Central Intake Unit fielded 30,993 calls – the most ever received. These calls resulted in a record high number of child abuse and neglect assessments (12,231) and a record high number of family service cases (1,685.) However, despite the record volume across the child protection system, data also show a plateauing of the number of children in out-of-home care following years of drastic increases, as well as a marked increase in the number of children being cared for in their own homes and with their own families. In fact, for the first time since 2014, exits from out of home care began to outpace entries.

“We want our families to be successful and strong before a crisis requires our intervention,” said DCYF Director Joseph E. Ribsam. “It’s a positive development to see an increase in the number of kids that can remain safely with their own families. Going forward, we will continue to use data to help us build a system of child well-being that allows families to thrive.”

“We’re encouraged by the trends we’re seeing,” said Christine Tappan, DHHS Associate Commissioner for Human Services and Behavioral Health. “But there is more work to be done. As we continue to view child well-being through a population health lens, our focus will continue to be on providing evidence-based programs and services to strengthen families, create supportive communities, and prevent child abuse and neglect before they start. Data will play a critical role in that going forward.”

For more information on the DCYF Data Book, please visit www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcyf/documents/data-book-2019.pdf.

 
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