Multimedia resources offered by DHHS
Check out our playlists on YouTube
Watch "Health Headlines" on WMUR
- Flu Season (09/23/2020)
- Dealing with adverse childhood events (12/05/2019)
- Flu starting to circulate in NH, but peak is months away (11/8/2019)
- Vaping-related Pulmonary Illnesses (09/12/2019)
- Cases of STDs Increasing in NH (08/08/2019)
- Asthma Causes and Prevention (07/11/2019)
- Mosquito-Borne Diseases (6/13/2019)
- How to Avoid Hepatitis A (5/9/2019)
- Preventing Tick-Borne Diseases (4/11/2019)
- Lead Poisoning Prevention (3/21/2019)
- March is National Nutrition Month (2/28/2019)
- How You Can Prevent Cervical Cancer (1/24/2019)
- Teenage Vaping Use is on the Rise (12/13/2018)
- Steps to Avoid Contracting Hepatitis A (11/26/2018)
- Staying Healthy During the Flu Season - Influenza (10/25/2018)
- Avoiding Salmonella (08/02/2018)
- Preventing Mosquito-Borne Illnesses (07/05/2018)
- Summer Health (06/07/2018)
- Infections Related to Injection Drug Use (05/10/2018)
- Avoiding Ticks (04/12/2018)
- What Parents Need to Know about Juuling / NH health officials concerned about increased e-cigarette use among teens (03/15/2018)
- Keeping Safe from Norovirus (01/18/2018)
- Carbon Monoxide Dangers (12/28/2017)
- Antibiotic Resistance (11/30/2017)
An introduction to the new DHHS website.
Introduction to the NEW DHHS Website
Introduction to the NEW DHHS Website
Transcript of video:
Welcome to the new, completely re-designed website for the NH Department of Health and Human Services. We’ve updated and reorganized the site so that you can find what you need quickly and easily.
This video will show you around, and help you get familiar with some of the topics available, as well as learn some accessibility and navigation tips.
Starting off, there is this “How Can We Help You” box, which lists many of our most requested topics.
There’s also a search feature, where you can look for content in both web pages and documents.
This banner section of the website is the same on every page. Let’s look at what else you can do here.
The first accessibility option is to change text size. Other Accessibility options can be found here, including making your curser larger, and changing the contrast, text spacing or font to meet your needs. You can also move the accessibility panel to another spot on the screen where it makes the most sense for you.
You can change the language of the site to any language supported by Google Translate.
In this middle section of the banner, you’ll find a list of contacts. Please note that is not a complete employee directory, but rather the key contact people for various programs and services.
You can search by keyword, or see all the contacts within a particular topic. If you click the “Show All topics” link, you’ll need to scroll all the way to the bottom to see the results of your search.
The site includes many documents and forms. You can find lists of pertinent documents within each of the program pages, but you can also search for any document here.
If you’ve come to the site to report a concern, you can use this link to find the right phone number and information about making a report.
The other thing that appears on every page is this Escape site button, just in case you need to leave the site quickly for safety reasons.
Now let’s take a look at this main menu.
Do you need directions to a district office or other state building? They are all listed here, along with our four main facilities. You can search by zip code, or filter by the specific service you are looking for. Notice that there are more filter options when you click “load more filters.”
When looking for programs and services you’ll notice that you don’t need to know the exact name of the program or agency to find it on this site. Use the programs & services list to narrow your search down by topic.
You can find links for applying for Medicaid or other financial assistance here.
And if you are a business person or employer, there is great information here about opportunities and resources.
Data is in great demand these days, and you can find all the public data and reports that DHHS produces here.
We have an events calendar for publically available events and meetings, as well as press releases, public notices and multimedia resources that the department offers.
Finally, way down at the bottom of every page, there’s a “Submit Feedback” link. We would love to hear from you about your experience with the site – good or bad! Your suggestions will help make our new site even more useful for everyone.
Thank you for visiting!
Adult Protective Service Worker (APSW)
Adult Protective Service Worker (APSW) Realistic Job Preview Video
Adult Protective Service Worker (APSW) Realistic Job Preview Video
Transcript of video:
Diane Langley: Adult Protective Services, uh, within the Bureau of Adult and Elderly Services is
really designed as a safety net for people that are really vulnerable in the community. There are
often people that are isolated, they may have families in different parts of the country, uh,
economically they may be just getting by, uh, their existence may be relatively marginal, uh,
they may suffer from, uh, early onset dementias, uh, they may also experience, um, symptoms
of mental illnesses that as they’ve aged have become more troublesome or problematic and
have created them with problems in the community.
Adult Protective Service Worker
Renee: Good morning, Adult Protective Services, this is Renee. How may I help you?
Pat: Our main objective is to try to help people stay in their homes and to provide the services
that’ll keep them safe.
Blake: We deal with adults, uh, one day we may have an eighteen-year-old victim and we’ve
actually had, uh, perpetrators over a hundred years old.
Is this a position for you?
Rhonda: This job is not for everyone. Some people just can’t go and do protective work, um, I
think they get intimidated. You have to have a certain amount of confidence going in there.
Fleurette: Not everyone is eager to see us knocking on their door. Um, I’ve had clients who’ve
slammed the door in my face. I’ve had, um, even police officers saying, “You don’t want to go
there unless you’re with an officer.”
Blake: She would stand in the window behind a sheer curtain and what she didn’t realize is that
we could see her. So she’s talking nicely to us while she’s giving us the finger and sticking her
tongue out at us.
Chapreese: I go over to her house, and I’m going over the paperwork and she starts yelling and
screaming and cursing and she calls me the “n word”. And I thought, “Oh my god.” I’m sitting
there going, “No, she didn’t just say that after all I’m trying to do and all this that’s going on.”
Herb: A lot of folks don’t want to accept the fact that they’re failing and that they need that
extra help. And sometimes it’s very hard to overcome that inertia because you have a lot of
older generations before my time that are very self-reliant, very independent, and they do not
want to give up.
Michelle: I have a father that built his house and does not want to leave, which…he’s of sound
mind and this is his choice, but it makes it very hard because he thinks everything’s gonna get
better when at his age, indeed it’s not going to.
Video Playing: I would say that’s probably some of the most severe psychosocial stress a human
Diane Langely: You have to have the ability to work as a member of a team because you’re not
in it by yourself and you need to rely on the skill sets of your colleagues. You need to be
comfortable enough so that you ask questions of your colleagues but you don’t feel like the
burden is entirely on you. No matter how you describe it, it’s still not the same as when you
actually get out and see situations and, um, I think that’s when the rubber hits the road, you
know, once you’re actually there and you see what you’re going to be dealing with.
Fleurette: If you’re used to having the client come to you in an office setting, then this might
not be for you. I mean you might have to go to, uh, a client’s home, you might have to go to,
um, an apartment, you might have to go to a hospital, a jail, some of our clients live in cars,
campers. It’s wherever the client is and you need to, you need to be prepared for that.
Rhonda: Sometimes I go into a home and it’s spotless. Um, other times I go into a home and
its, it’s like a goat path getting through because there’s hoarders; you see a lot of hoarders. So
um, uh, you just never know what type of home you go into.
Blake: Preparing oneself for a visit, we have all learned that there’s just some things that you
take with you. Uh, I have sanitary hand wash, uh I have a pair of boots that I might put on, um,
there have been homes I’ve gone to that I’m afraid that I may fall through the floor so I look
through the floor joists to step from. Uh, I have a jacket that I can tie around my waist, so if I
find that I have no option but to sit down, I’m sitting down on something that I know I can
Fleurette: I had to climb in to get into the home and it was filled with soiled clothing, dog feces,
I had to climb over things and balance myself on a wall to get to the client.
Sue: I could see the cockroaches in the ceiling and I kind of just stepped over ‘cause I just didn’t
really want it to drop on my head.
Chapreese: The smells. Those are I think probably one of the things that stand out to me the
most. I didn’t realize how weak my stomach was until I got this job.
Blake: Seeing the mold on the wall made it difficult to breathe. I wore a mask. I had to excuse
myself. I had to leave.
You Can’t Change Everything
Chapreese: As social workers you kind of want to just go in and make everything better. And it’s
not always that easy, and that’s the hardest part for me, is realizing that sometimes people
don’t want help and you have to respect that even though you may not agree with it.
Fleurette: Sometimes you have to step back and, and say just because you think that’s what
would make the situation better it may not be what your client wants. So you really have to
step back and, um, you can’t go in there, um, going gung-ho into a client’s home and saying we
need to do this, we need to do that. You really need to step back and see where the client is,
see what they’re willing to accept, understand their personality, their lifestyles. You cannot be
judgmental in this job.
Rachel: Our office received a call of concern about you and so we would like to follow up on….
Rachel Lakin: We don’t have a lot of recourse when people don’t want to engage in services
and I think a lot of people have standards as to what they think is right in life. That, um, people
should, um, live a certain way and keep their house a certain way and follow through on
doctor’s appointments and take medication and, and behave, basically, that people should
behave. And, and I think when our clients don’t do that we have to accept that this, these are
their decisions to make. They’re not our decisions. We can’t control them.
Blake: Whether we agree with their choices really at the end of the day doesn’t matter.
Understanding that they have chosen to behave or act or live in a certain way is what we do
need to understand.
On the Job
Rhonda: We get a lot of mentoring and shadowing. But it’s good to have a background in
human services working with people.
Pat: We do have a lot of, um, a lot of reports that we do need to write and there are time
constraints, so there are, there’s a lot of, um, a lot of time at the computer.
Sue: You have to be organized. You have to look at your day and figure out what your, what are
my job priorities, what’s my priority for the day? What do I have to accomplish? You have to be
flexible because that can all change at the drop of a hat.
Pat: You can plan your day. But you can’t plan on having it go the way that you planned it. Um, I
try to set up certain days that I can do my writing and reports and things of that sort. But, uh,
crises arise and if something happens with one of your clients, um, you need to go out.
Rachel Lakin: It’s gotta be somebody who likes problems and likes solving problems, um,
because we’re often confronted with problems every day and sometimes there’s not an easy
solution to those problems and we really have to have somebody who is able to tackle those
problems and to be able to kind of deal with the unexpected.
Chapreese: You need to be patient. You need to be a very good listener. And you need to be
proactive. You need to be able to see what you can do in a situation to try to make it better for
that time being. And you need to be able to come up with other ideas, and thinking outside the
Sue: It’s not a 9 to 5 thing where, um, where you do widgets. You know, ‘cause you think of it
all the time. Okay, I gotta do this, I gotta remember that; while you’re in the shop, while you’re
cooking supper, while you’re getting ready to go to work. It’s, it’s, it comes in to you.
Rachel Lakin: Many people take their work home with them emotionally and in their mind and I
always say there’s a sleep factor when I’m looking at a client. What kind of thing needs to
happen here today before I leave so that I’ll be able to sleep tonight because I have, as I think
many social workers have, uh, lost sleep over some of the situations they’ve seen in the course
of a day.
Diane Langely: You see things that a lot of other people will never see in their lives and they’re
things that are very difficult to see. Uh, they’re painful to see, they’re painful to deal with but
you’re also able to impact on them.
Chapreese: When I get to the hospital he’s there and they find out that he has cancer. And, um,
he can’t go back home. I think the hardest thing was knowing that he had no one to come in
and see him – at all. And I just started watching him slowly die and I had never experienced
anything like that before. And probably about a week before he passed, we’re sitting there
drinking coffee and I get ready to go leave, and he reaches up and he takes my hand and he
goes to give me a kiss on the forehead and he said that, um, “You’re my only friend. And thank
you so much for being here with me.”
Rhonda: Yeah, when you help someone it’s the best feeling ‘cause they’re so appreciative they
thank you a hundred times and you just feel so good. You’re on cloud nine.
Pat: I enjoy it. I enjoy people; I enjoy the different types of people that I meet. And everybody
has a story. Um, they really do and I enjoy being able to find the time to listen to them.
Client: I do not know how we would have got by the last few years if she hadn’t helped us.
Thank you for taking the time to consider this position.
Adult Protective Service Worker (A.P.S.W.)
Family Services Specialist (FSS)
Family Services Specialist (FSS) Realistic Job Preview Video
Family Services Specialist (FSS) Realistic Job Preview Video
Transcript of video:
00:03 – Family assistance, how may I help you?
00:06 – Yup, you are absolutely open, you’re able to go get your prescriptions tomorrow.
00:10 - This is the daughter or the mom?
00:12 – And so you said that your husband has been laid off?
00:15 – (Crying child)
00:19 – (Knocking on door) Hi Lisa…
00:22 – FSS Rochester: My mother actually worked for the Department of Health and Human
Services and she did work as a DFA, FSS at one point. And she told me, don’t do it, whatever
you do, don’t take this job.
00:32 – FSS Laconia: I just thought I would be meeting with people, you know, asking them a
few questions and then getting them their benefits.
00:38 – FSS Laconia: Oh yeah, I’m going to help everybody, I’m gonna change the world and you
know you come in here and you know it’s a whole different process.
00:44 – FSS Manchester: The Department of Health and Human Service, Human, that’s the big
key right there. You know, you gotta wanna work with people, and you’re gonna have to work
with people who are just not always the happiest. Um, it’s a tough job, but it’s a very rewarding
00:58 – Hi is this Ken? Hi Ken, this is Laura from Health and Human Services calling to do your
interview, is this a good time?
1:05 – Laura: I had absolutely no idea the amount of policy that I would was going to have to
know. I mean, I sat in training many times thinking, what am I doing here? You know I, I was
like, I’ll never learn all this.
1:15 – (On phone) So you guys buy and prepare your meals separately, ok, so you just make
sure that um, you guys write a statement out…
1:19 –I actually thought it was going to be more or less data entry. When someone comes in
they give me their information, I plug it in the computer and I say, yes, you’re eligible or no,
you’re not. Um, and it was not even close to that.
1:32 – Administrative Supervisor, Main District Office: It’s very fast paced, uh, you’re
sometimes being pulled in five different directions at once.
1:37 – FSS Manchester: And even when you’re doing the same duty for the day, those duties
always change too.
1:40 – You’re gonna wanna bring in all the information regarding your grandson.
1:44 – Oh, could you bring that in to us as soon as you can so we can get this finished up?
1:48 – Did you set the expect to change, change form? Yes…
1:51 – FSS Main District Office: There is so much red tape into what they have to do to be
eligible, either federally or through the state requirements that it gets frustrating at times.
2:02 – Long Term Care Concord: It’s a hugely overwhelming and cumbersome amount of
information that we collect.
2:07 – FSS Laconia: There’s so much to learn, and in order to do the job you have to learn. I
mean policy itself, for me, that policy manual is this thick…
2:11 – Administrator: Not only do you have to know the variety of different programs, but each
of those programs has different federal guidelines, different state laws, and different federal
mandates for relating to time frames and how the policies have to be implemented.
2:34 – Policy changes all the time. We get emails constantly that, ‘we’re no longer gonna allow
this expense’ so you have to be on it and be willing to accept that that’s not how you’re gonna
work anymore and to change your, your way of doing things, so that happens a lot.
2:48 – I just got off the phone with her…
2:39 – They have a great training program to actually train us for it. You’re in training for a year
and that’s probably what helped me the most with this job. If they had hired me and said ‘good
luck’ you know and put me out there, I probably wouldn’t have survived at all, but the training
program is really, really good.
3:12 – FSS LTC: And then they’re usually assigned a Family Service Specialist to be their mentor.
And they provide them not only with guidance, but to be able to answer questions for them as
well as the rest of the staff, the Administrator, and the Line Supervisors.
3:25 – If we deactivate a card we can reissue a new card. If it’s a lost card, they have to get it
3:30 – FSS Rochester - I’ve never worked anywhere in my life where people are so willing to
help you and just caring about their individual workers, as well as clients.
A Last Hope
3:41 – Hi Beverly, how are you?
3:42 – Client: Hi, I’m good.
3.43 – I’m Monique and I’m going to do your interview today. Alright, so what brings you in
3.48 – Client: Well…
3:50 – Every day we have to tell somebody that they’re not eligible, or that their benefits are
ending because of a change in their circumstances, and that’s always the bad news that nobody
wants to hear.
4:04 – FSS Concord: When they come to us, we’re like their las stop. So they’re just full of
emotions by the time they come to us. And so they just start crying and telling us their story.
4:15 - Nobody ever comes through the door and says ‘hey, I’m doing great today.’ It’s few and
far between where you hear anything like that. It’s, people are always ah, it’s a, it’s their last
resort a lot of the times. They’re coming to us and they’re desperate for help.
4:33 – FSS Claremont: People tell you, I mean some things that you just want to look at them
and say ‘what are you gonna do?’ But they’re asking you that question. Like, what am I gonna,
what am I supposed to do? I don’t know what to do, they’re coming to you for help and
sometimes I feel like, you know, I can get you a little bit of food stamps and we can point you to
another agency, but…
4:54 – They are not social workers, they’re not trained social workers. They are, and I do make
that clear, and I have said to my staff before, you are eligibility workers. You determine
eligibility for the clients that we see, you’re not a social worker.
5:14 – Your heart might break for somebody in their circumstances, where they might be six
dollars over income, but that line is set in stone and there are no exceptions. If there is no
eligibility, there is no eligibility.
5:26 - Client: My husband walked out on us sometime back in January, and I have two kids, and
I’m only working part-time and I just don’t know what to do.
5:34 – You’re talking about um interviewing people, and talking to people, and learning about
people’s lives, um, details of their lives and then having to follow through and finish a case isn’t
just you know, an hour’s worth of work, it’s, it’s days.
5:48 – I’m just not used to that, I’m used to just, this is what I have to do today and you finish it
and it’s done. That’s not the case with this job. It’s never done.
5:58 – There is never a day that I can say to myself, ok, I’m done, I finished my job. Because
there is no finishing this job, there’s always somebody else waiting outside that door, um, to
apply for benefits.
6:12 – It’s always go go go go go…and you know, there’s days when you’d like to spend a little
more time making sure this is perfect, making sure but you just can’t do it. You just gotta do the
best you can in the time allotted.
6:25 – If you can’t multitask, you definitely can’t do this job, because you’ve got, um, a pop-up
from your supervisor on your screen ‘come see me,’ your phone is ringing, someone’s telling
you that you have an appointment here. You’ve got a million different things going on at once
and you have to be able to prioritize and figure out what it is that you need to do first.
6:46 – FSS Concord: I have seven hundred separate cases, so I have, and it’s not just, it’s not just
a single person, these are families. Maybe they’re a single person but they’re households. So,
you know a household could be one person living alone, it could be eight people living in a
house. It could be even more than that.
7:03 – The job also entails a lot of computer knowledge technology and we… all the programs
that we offer we have to go into different computer systems throughout the Department to
determine these eligibilities. So they have to know at least five different software applications
to do this job, along with use of the internet and email.
7:29 – We work with New Heights, that’s our processing system. Um, we work with something
called Nexus and that is our child support system. We work in Vital Records for birth, death,
divorce, marriage information. We work a lot in Excel spreadsheets, um right now so, you have
to be pretty familiar with I’d say the Microsoft Office Suite, and just being able to be open to
learning new, new systems and how to use them.
7:56 – Ok, I’m going to go scan this in for you and I’ll give you back your originals.
8:01 – Documents come in and they have scanning the documents. They’re able to process the
work at their desk, see the documents pop up on the, on their computer screen.
8:10 – Every document that comes into the office is scanned and we have a, a mailbox now on
our, on our computer, so I just click into my mailbox and I have all my mail.
8:22 – FSS LTC: We like to have our processing done, um and I say that loosely, within about
thirty five days from the date of the application.
8:30 – There are time limits for pretty much everything we do, um, each program has its own, a
8:39 – FSS LTC: Ah, you worry about what are you gonna do first when you get in in the morning
because there’s so much to do.
8:45 - Some days you’re on intake, some days you’re on redeterminations. Ah, you’re on
phones, or you can be on case maintenance.
8:51 – You may ah just be finishing up an interview with a client and you have to go make case
comments for that, but then your supervisor is emailing you saying ‘come see me’ and ah,
you’ve got a voicemail from a client, and then you know that there are ah, cases approaching
9:04 – It doesn’t require overtime, like I’ve never had anybody say that we had to be there for
overtime, um, but overtime is a big part of the job.
9:13 – It’s not about who deserves what, it’s just about the human being in front of you that
says they need help. And, you know, I have guidelines of what I can and can’t do, but can I help
this person or not.
9:27 – And she was crying and she got up and she hugged me, and she actually gave me, and I
still have it hanging in my office now, I have um, she collected four leaf clovers, and she actually
had one in her purse, and she gave it to me. It was like a laminated four leaf clover and she
gave it to me and I look at it every day.
10:06 – The benefits, to me of being able to help people far outweigh the stress that you’re
under to get the job done.
10:14 – I would say apply if you think that you’re up for a challenge that can be rewarding and
devastating every day.
10:19 – I love my job, we all must be crazy. (Chuckle)
10:24: - Hi, can I help you?
10:26: - Yes, I’d like to see Kim Dionne.
10:28: - Do you have an appointment with her?
10:29 – Yes, I do.
10:31 – I asked if she was paying medical bills, and she said no, and then she said, and you know
I even have to pay my co-pay for my insurance. Well I didn’t know she had to pay a co-pay so I
had her sit back down and talked to her about that and um was able to get her open full food
stamps. And she started crying and she said, you don’t understand how much this means to me.
10:47 – If I could help this mom, for Christmas, get gifts for her kids, I’m ok with that. If I have to
work extra hours to work on my stuff, in order to see if I can keep, keep eligibility going, and
stuff like that, so be it.
11:01 – FSS LTC: This is a job, but this is a job that involves people. And is, we’re here because
11:05 – And they get tears in their eyes, and they, you know, it makes you feel really good. It
reminds you why you’re doing this job: To help people.
11:54 - Client: It’s allowed me to get little extras that I couldn’t before. Every once in a while,
don’t tell anybody, but I buy a lamb chop. (Chuckle) A loin lamb chop.
Child Protective Service Worker (CPSW)
Child Protective Service Worker (CPSW) Realistic Job Preview Video
Child Protective Service Worker (CPSW) Realistic Job Preview Video
Transcript of video:
Female Narrator: Thank you for interest in applying for a Child Protective Service Worker position, or
CPSW, with the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth, and Families. DCYF is responsible for
promoting the safety and wellness of thousands of children, families, and communities across the
Granite State each day. DCYF’s primary goal is to strengthen families so children can live free from harm
and abuse. Our staff works to quickly assess and respond to the changing environments that children
and families live, work, play, learn, and grow in every day.
As someone who is considering becoming a Child Protective Services Worker, what will
this mean for you? The role of a CPSW is very challenging. Each day you may face difficult situations
involving child maltreatment.
However, you will not be alone. CPSW’s are part of a larger child and family-serving system in which
DCYF, parents, providers, and community members work together to create conditions for strong and
thriving families and communities where children are free from harm so they can grow, learn, and play
and become healthy adults.
We are excited you are considering becoming part of the DCYF team. We hope you will join us and help
achieve our goal of constructing a safer future for all of New Hampshire’s children.
Matthew, Family Service Worker: I think that that’s the reason why I do it the most, is I wanted a job
that would ah give me a purpose in life.
Sherri, Supervisor: Sometimes people underestimate the depth of the problems that our clients have and
their, the impact that that’s going to have on them. Sometimes people have, you know, depending on
their own personal history, um, that they bring to this work they may not ever have had exposure to
many of the things that now they‘re going to have exposure to.
Assessment Worker: So we’re not we’re not sure of the age of the child.
Assessment Worker: Do you have the name of that child?
Assessment Worker: He lied to the police because he was afraid of getting beaten up?
Female Narrator: All reports of alleged child abuse and neglect in New Hampshire are received through
the Central Intake Office. If the report is accepted it is immediately sent to a local office to be assigned an
assessment worker so that an investigation into the allegations can begin.
Tammy, Intake Worker: We get all types of types of reports from um, you know, neglect calls, to sexual
abuse calls, to physical abuse calls. Um, it fluctuates on the ages of the children. That, you know we get
calls on newborns; we get calls up to when the child is up to 18 years of age.
Assessment Worker: Did he say whether or not he’s witnessed any other domestic violence with his
Female Narrator: An assessment worker interviews children, parents, and household members. They also
talk to doctors, school staff, police, counselors, and others who may be involved with the family. It’s
short-term and fast-paced to determine what action may be necessary.
Jennifer, Assessment Worker: There is no schedule to my day; honestly every day could be different as
an assessment worker. Um, some days I have scheduled appointments and I’m meeting with families.
There are some days I don’t know what I’m doing until I come in and ah I’m handed an emergency report
and I need to go out.
Amanda, Assessment Worker: From the moment I stepped in I loved what I did. And it was fast-paced.
Um, it was different every day. Um, you know I wasn’t sitting all day, you know I wasn’t on the move all
day. It was just lots of everything.
Amanda, Assessment Worker: I went up to the home last night and the little boy had scratches over his
eye and he had a bruise, ah because of the on-going domestic violence and the little boy will be stepping
off the bus probably in about two hours with mom’s boyfriend so that is very concerning.
Supervisor: And I did just talk with the police just before you came in and they ah had a call from the
neighbor last night. Um, who was concerned because they heard a lot of screaming and banging.
Department Attorney: I think based on the photographs and what you’ve told me I think we have enough
to obtain a court order.
Meaghan, Assessment Worker: It’s difficult to say how often you’ll go to court, um, because you never
know what kind of assessment you’re going to receive. Um, so I would say, potentially once a month, it
could be three times a month, it could be, um you could go three months without filing a neglect or
abuse petition in court.
Amanda, Assessment Worker: Court is never easy. It’s something that you have to practice. It’s
something that you have to watch, you have to shadow. Um, the first few times are not easy, and you
have to remember that it’s not personal.
Meaghan, Assessment Worker: So you, um, prepare with the attorney. Um, so what happens when you
go to court is you file neglect petitions, um as well as other documentation. Um, but CPSWs are typically
responsible for the affidavit. Um, and that is the factual information you obtain throughout the
Department Attorney: The Department would like to call CPSW Amanda Jewel to the stand.
Amanda, Assessment Worker: He has spoken about fighting in the home, lots of screaming and yelling.
He’s also talked with me about um, physical abuse on his mom.
Department Attorney: Your honor, at this point the Department would request that the court issue an
Order of Protection removing Ms. Jones’ boyfriend.
District Court Judge: Based on the evidence that I’ve heard today and the child’s disclosures I will be
issuing an Order of Protection removing the mom’s…
Sherri, Supervisor: We have a really great mentoring program that helps people with that so they are
not just sort of thrown in there on their first day, you know, by themselves, by any means.
Matthew, Family Service Worker: The types of trainings that we do are, are intense and very
informative and you could come into the job and not really know much about how to do things, um, but
in that three to four month period they teach you everything that you need to know.
Meaghan, Assessment Worker: You receive a mentor, right from the beginning, um, so you are assigned
to a seasoned CPSW, um, who you are going to shadow, kind of, throughout, um, your first several
months with the division. Um, so in addition to mentoring with somebody you’re also going through
what we call Core Academy, um, which is classroom style training that you are going to go through to
learn about the different policies within the division, um, to learn about, um, the court process, to learn
about how to interview children, um, to engage with families.
Sherri, Supervisor: We have a lot of training and we have a lot of supports, but even still, at the end of
the day, at some point you have to go knock on the door by yourself. And, if you aren’t someone who
can bring yourself to some level of comfort in doing that, then, this job’s not for you.
Assessment Worker: I am always nervous knocking on doors. Um, that moment when you’re knocking
and waiting to see if someone’s going to respond. I’m always nervous, you know, no matter how many
times I do it. Um, you don’t know what’s… what’s behind the door.
Kyle, Assessment Worker: I’ve never been greeted by a parent that was happy to see me. So, um, um,
in, initially when I first started, that’s, that’s uncomfortable. Um, and it’s, it can be pretty intense.
Amanda, Assessment Worker: Um, I’m here to talk with you about your son. Um, he’s okay but we have
a concern about, um, his safety and a concern about yours as well. Um, we have a court order to remove
your boyfriend, ah David, from the home. Is he here right now?
Parent: Yes, but what right do you have to come into my home and remove him out of the home…
Amanda, Assessment Worker: What we do isn’t easy, but we also have a lot of support and there’s a lot
of ah, tools we have to utilize that support and, um, great people to work with. Lots of services.
Sherri, Supervisor: It’s not something you can pick up a book and read it and say okay it says here that I
need to do this so this is how I’m going to do it. It’s not that kind of a job. It’s, there, there’s much more
gray than that there’s much more need to think, to be able to generalize from general instructions to
the specific situation.
Kyle, Assessment Worker: There is no, um, typical day. And, and, it’s very, very fast paced. There’s a lot
of pressure and you need to, you need to become adept at, um, at juggling and reprioritizing. Um, you
know, ah, sometimes, uh, hourly.
Sherri, Supervisor: We’ve got an urgent report that we’re going to need to go out on this afternoon.
Kyle, Assessment Worker: Ok
Kyle, Assessment Worker: Is there a reason that someone might be worried about you or your brothers
or your sisters?
Kyle, Assessment Worker: No?
Kyle, Assessment Worker: It’s powerful to, to sit down with a child and, and to let them know that – I
believe you – and that – What, what’s happening to you, I, I do not think that’s okay.
Female Narrator: The Family Service Worker’s job involves determining what services might help a
family get where they need to be in order to have their children safely at home. This is longer-term
involvement that builds a relationship with the family.
Jason, Supervisor: It really comes down to identifying what the family needs are and identifying what
service is best suited to meet that family’s need. Um, some families have more needs than other
families. Some families have higher risk and, ah, more risk factors to deal with than other families, but
really, the Family Service Worker, um, is there to help identify and coordinate and manage those
services and monitor the quality of that service delivery. And, to make sure that that family’s needs are
being met effectively.
Heather, Family Service Worker: It’s definitely important that you be able to put aside your own biases.
Um, I think that, going into this, uh field, um, I think it’s perfectly normal to think that there must be
something different about these parents.
Meaghan, Assessment Worker: You may not have grown up in a home that, um had dishes piled up in
the sink, or clothes scattered on the floor, garbage overflowing, um, but is that a safety concern? No.
Um, so you need to put that own judgement and bias aside.
Matthew, Family Service Worker: You’ll have uncomfortable conversations where you have to talk, ah,
to a parent about their child having been physically abused by a family member, and they don’t want to
believe that, um, but you have to have those conversations.
Candace, Family Service Worker: I remember having to tell a five and seven year old that the judge
decided that instead of going home to their birth family that they are going to be adopted by the family
they are living with now.
Adele, Family Service Worker: No one person decides anything like that for the children. It’s generally a
group decision where a kids, a child’s placed initially, with the child needs to be moved. Should visits be
supervised or not? You know what degree is appropriate for them seeing their parents? A lot of it is a
group decision which I think protects the agency as well as the children, because no one person’s
personal beliefs or judgement, or you know any of that, is what decides the fate of a child.
Family Service Worker: We are reviewing Hannah for today’s PPT.
Family Service Worker: And the foster mom is, ah, coming with me to visit the biological parents in jail
and start that connection and start getting them um…
Adele, Family Service Worker: Children will always love their parents. And they will always want to
know in one way or another where they are or what had happened. There will always be something of
that, and you need to respect that.
Matthew, Family Service Worker: There’s, there’s some parents that are not going to be willing to work
with you. There’s some parents that are gonna fight you every step of the way, um, for a year plus, and
you’re going to have to terminate their parental rights.
Family Service Worker: The things that parents have sort of forced their children to endure, that some
of it is, it’s horrific. And there’s no other word for it, but you can’t, you can’t judge the, the parents for
that. You can’t look at the children simply as victims, you keep those things in mind, but they’re still
people who, that you want to help prepare to make it out there in the world.
Kyle, Assessment Worker: Are you worried about me talking to your mom and dad about anything?
Child: Uh uh
Candace, Family Service Worker: A person who should take this job should have a passion, and a heart,
and a desire to um, make change, in, in this world, in your community.
Sherri, Supervisor: This is not a part time position, it’s, it’s actually a more than full time position is that
way that I phrase it to them and I think that that’s very accurate. This, I mean certainly there are hours
and you know, you’re not going to be worked to death, but um this is not a, this is a position that will be
a huge part of your life. This is not someplace you go and then leave it there and come home at 4:30.
Adele, Family Service Worker: There’s definitely days that I go home and I curse my job up and down,
um, but I would say more often than not, um, yes, I like my job. I am happy with the work that I do.
Heather, Family Service Worker: We do make a difference. There’s days I forget that, but we do. We
help children and we help families. The best feeling in the world is when after the day is done and we’ve
done all of this tremendous amount of work and all of this documentation, a child gets to go home and
live safely with their parents.
Meaghan, Assessment Worker: If you are passionate, um, if you want to help children, if you want to
support the families, if you want to better your community, um, this job’s for you. If you can think on
the fly, work as a team, um, if you are energized and organized, this job’s for you.
Youth Counselor (YC)
Youth Counselor Realistic Job Preview Video
Youth Counselor Realistic Job Preview Video
Transcript of video:
Penny Sampson, Director: Welcome, and thank you for your interest in the position of Youth
Counselor at the Sununu Youth Services Center. I am Penny Sampson, I am the director of the
facility and I’d like to take a few minutes to talk to you about the history of the facility and what
you would do here in the position of Youth Counselor. The Sununu Center was initially
established for juvenile offenders in 1858. It’s the oldest continuously running institution of its
type in the United States. SYSC is the only secure treatment facility for adjudicated youth in the
state of New Hampshire. Our population includes youth with not only severe behavioral issues,
but serious mental health needs as well. Youth Counselors are an integral part of all that we do
here. It is a sometimes difficult balance to provide care and treatment and also have the ability
to set limits and boundaries and keep the environment safe. This is very challenging work and it
really isn’t for everyone. But if you have a passion for working with youth and you want to do
something that will really make a difference in the lives of teenagers, to give them guidance
and direction and a better start, this may be the position for you. Thank you for considering
becoming part of our team.
Nanci Hamilton, Parent: For him, the idea, the thoughts in our heads, were that it was pretty
much just like prison. This looks like it’s going to introduce him into a more serious world where
there’s really not much opportunity to turn back. But I was wrong.
John H. Sununu Youth Services Center
Lynette, YC: Usually by the time a student gets to the Sununu Center they have been through a
variety of programs because this is the most restrictive placement in the state of New
Hampshire for juveniles.
Amy, YC: It’s locked, so it is secure, which a jail would be secure, but its – its treatment. These
are kids, not adults. And our business is not to confine, it’s to try to make a change.
Joshua, YC: And before they come on their floor they would go through a pat down search in
the multipurpose room.
Kevin Sullivan, Clinical & Residential Services: Some kids might say, “I’m being punished. I’m
stuck here away from my family and friends and my electronics.” Um, I look at it as a treatment
program. Um, when you look at an offense and you say this kid’s bad and they’ve done
something horrible, that’s a moment in their life. Um, I look at their environment, um, what’s
normal to them might not be normal to me.
Leticia, Unit Manager: “Nobody loves me” uh “Nobody wants me” – we hear it more than we
should hear it. And at times it can be very, very sad. And you will cry, you know hearing what
they’ve gone through.
Jay, YC: I have one individual who is fourteen, was committed at thirteen. Um, he does not
have much of a family life. His main guardian, he’s not, his parents aren’t in his life and his
guardian just went to federal prison for three years for selling drugs.
Lynette, YC: Her mother was a prostitute and she, um, was taken out of the home and ran away
and ran away and went through all her placements and they didn’t know what else to do with
her so they put her at the youth development center. And her mother would visit her on
occasion and she went a period of time that she couldn’t get a hold of her mother. And no one
knew why she couldn’t get a hold of her mother and after about six weeks her mother’s body
was found stuffed in the cupboard where they live.
Amy, YC: The majority of our kids don’t have, um, the best of backgrounds. A lot of them have
been abused, have been neglected. Um, and as a result have become who they are. And we
have this very small window of time in which we can try to help change their patterns of
thinking and how they behave and how they manage themselves so that when they do become
adults they can be a more productive member of society.
Gail Snow, Clinical & Residential Services: Our staff receive training before they’re able to
come in and work on the floor with the youths so that they learn about defensive tactics, they
learn how to, um, keep children safe when they’re acting out so that, you know the goal of
course is that no one gets hurt. And one of the things we do after they go through our academy
is they come in, come on a unit and they shadow another staff. And they do that for several
weeks until the supervisor on that unit makes a determination that they’re ready to function
Leticia, Unit Manager: You come in and you go to roll call, and that’s extremely important. Uh,
you get information about what’s happened over the last few days. If anyone’s having
problems, if there’s any appointments coming up, who you’re gonna be working with, who’s
gonna be on the response team.
Lynette, YC: Sometimes you come here and it’s a really bad day and kids are having a tough
time and there’s a fight or there’s swearing and screaming and you can cut the tension with a
knife. And that’s not easy to work in.
Leticia, Unit Manager: Residents can be very manipulative, especially if you’re new. They will
test the boundaries and push and push and see what they can get away with.
Jay, YC: So they will lash out. A lot of it’s flailing around and stuff, or they’re just so frustrated
and upset that they’re gonna kick whatever body part they see that’s available to them.
Joshua, Former Student: Kids are gonna say things. They’re gonna say a lot of things. So, I mean
you have to have a thick skin, you have to be able to be grounded and you have to be able to
relate on a level of them.
Lynette, YC: And one of the things that is important to be successful in this job is to understand
the individual. That each student comes here with a history and, and some of the histories are
pretty horrific. On the other hand, you can’t let that history be a crutch and an excuse for
inappropriate behavior. You need to understand that history, work with that student about that
history but don’t let it be a rea-, uh, an excuse for misbehaving.
Gail Snow, Clinical & Residential Services: There are people that are very good at diffusing
situations and that’s what our training is based on: How to deescalate a situation so that it
never rises to the point where people are in danger. And when it does rise to that level our staff
are trained to be able to manage that so that nobody gets hurt.
Jay, YC: In here you hope you hope you can get these youth before they get into the adult
system you hope you can help them make changes to their life so that they don’t end up in the
Joshua, YC: All the rooms are set up the same. Uh, you got a bed, desk, and chair. Each room
has a window where they can see out. Uh, they’re allowed to keep certain items in their rooms,
some personal stuff like pictures from home.
Lynette, YC: Once they’re in here, um, they, there’s a lot of treatment that goes on, there’s
groups that go on, um there’s individual counseling that goes on.
Kevin Sullivan, Clinical & Residential Services: We lead in the country in the things we do here
with regards to performance-based standards. Our clinicians, some of them teach at different
universities and they practice it here.
Lynette, YC: They’re small classrooms, so the students get a lot of, um, individual attention in
their education. But I use the term student rather than resident because I think that we’re
always teaching them. Um, my philosophy in life is that discipline is teaching, that discipline is
not meant for punishment. It’s to teach someone that there are consequences for particular
Gail Snow, Clinical & Residential Services: This job is not for everybody. You have to feel
comfortable in an environment where there are crisis and there are unhappy children, and um,
long hours sometimes, and – it can be difficult.
Lynette, YC: I would say if you have a jail mentality, this is not the place to be. Um, we are not
prison guards. We are here to help kids. Um, that being said, remember that accountability is
an important part of treatment. That the most appropriate and best Youth Counselors are
those that are fair and consistent.
Amy, YC: No matter how different we all are as people, we all have to be on the same page
when it comes to dealing with the kids: consistent rules, expectations of behavior, what we
want them to do, what we don’t want them to do. It cannot change and vary from shift – from
staff to staff and shift to shift because if it does, these kids have all the time in the world to
watch this. They know exactly where the weak spots are and they will find them.
Lynette, YC: I am a firm believer that the hardest work and the most important work takes
place on the unit, because that’s where the kids live every day. Um, as a counselor we are role
models, we are mentors, um, we are quasi parents, um, because we are teaching kids.
Joshua, YC: So we could be sitting here playing a card game, having a conversation. The group
might be watching a movie over here and we might be sitting together on the couches. Um,
every day is different and it always changes.
Joshua, Former Student: They believed in me. That was really the biggest thing. They – it
wasn’t, you know, supporting me in whatever ideas I thought I had, it was correcting me on
what things are. It wasn’t you know, I didn’t say, “Oh I’m gonna …. My car” and they weren’t
like, “Oh that’s good, that’s great.” They were like, “Okay how are you gonna do that?”
Jay, YC: You need to be able to communicate verbally as well as written, and just be able to
speak to someone. Sometimes that’s all somebody needs. Just someone to talk to, listen, you
know to listen to them, listen to them vent, talk to them a little bit.
Shawn, YC: I’m competitive with the kids. So you know I give them like a little challenge, and
they love that. Usually if I beat them like, you know, “Hey, you know, you played well and your
heart was there but the better man won,” and they’ll be like, “Oh, that’s it. Next game, Shawn.
Next game.” And I’m like, “All right, well, we’ll see what you have.” And while I’m playing
cribbage with the kids, that’s when I’m like, “So…what happened, John? Why are you over
here? What’s going on man?”
Nanci Hamilton, Parent: Um, without that youth counselor his outcome, his life at this point
would be radically different.
Joshua, Former Student: A lot of kids in placements, when they want to get out and they have
a plan its…way up there somewhere. And you really need somebody that, you know, you really
need the grounding of being like, “No, life is going to be terrible when you leave.”
Kevin Sullivan, Clinical & Residential Services: These residents are our future. And we’re
investing in our future. And most of the folks who work here, if not…I don’t want to speak for
everyone, believe that. They truly believe that.
Amy, YC: We all have a basic common want, and that’s for the kids to get better, for us to be
able to make a difference in their lives. If you can help one kid, that’s the reason we all come
here. That’s the reason we all stay.