Child Protection Services
The Division for Children, Youth and Family's (DCYF) Child Protection Bureau works to protect children from abuse and neglect while striving to preserve the family unit.
Child Protective staff work together with families to assess the safety of children, identify needs and develop a case plan. This plan defines the specific needs of the children and family members and outlines the method by which a family's protective service issues will be resolved with the assistance of DCYF.
Services are primarily delivered directly to a child and family in the home and community.
The process for resolving abuse and neglect has three primary functions, Intake, Assessment, and Family Services:
- DCYF Intake receives more than 20,000 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect annually as well as referrals for Children in Need of Services (CHINS).
- A toll-free number: 800-894-5533 (in state only), or 603-271-6562 (in or out of state), is staffed 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays.
- Referrals can be made to community agencies and to the local District Office staff for further assessment.
- This function is performed by District Office Child Protection staff who comprehensively investigate and assess each screened-in report of alleged child abuse and neglect. Approximately 11,000 reports are assessed annually in NH.
- Treatment and rehabilitative services are provided to families whose children have been neglected or abused. Child Protection staff interact with families, courts, and providers to ensure that children's safety is maintained and that goals and objectives are met in a timely manner.
- If treatment and rehabilitative services are unable to provide a safe environment for the children, temporary out-of-home placement with a relative or in foster care may be utilized to provide children with the safety they require.
- When children cannot safely return home, other options, including Adoption, are considered in order to achieve permanency and stability for them.
To further ensure the safety of NH children, a Special Investigations Unit (SIU) investigates all allegations of abuse and neglect in families of staff or when child fatalities due to abuse/neglect, allegations of abuse and neglect in foster homes, institutional settings, and residential facilities.
DCYF supports a number of initiatives for the prevention of child abuse and neglect. These initiatives provide support for families and strive towards goals of reducing risks to children, improving parenting skills, and strengthening social support networks for families. In addition, certain initiatives seek to bring together national, state and local experts to address issues of child abuse and neglect in efforts to educate the general public and for professional development.