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New Hampshire expands voluntary services to prevent abuse

November 30, 2020 GMT

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire is partnering with two social service agencies to prevent child abuse and neglect.

The state in recent years has restored such voluntary services as part of a broader effort to reform its child protection system. The Division for Children, Youth and Families said Monday it is working with Waypoint in Manchester and the Family Resources Center of Northern New Hampshire to provide support to families struggling with health and safety concerns that do not meet a finding of abuse or neglect.

DCYF Director Joseph Ribsam said both organizations have a proven record of helping children and families.

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“Voluntary services help strengthen and preserve families, keep children safe at home, and foster environments in which they will thrive,” he said. “As we continue to make our way through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, these community-based services will be a lifeline to our families as they regain their strength and resilience.”

The deaths of two toddlers under state supervision in 2014 and 2015 spurred an independent review of the division that found it often failed to help children who were at risk of being harmed. In 2018, a father who repeatedly told child welfare workers he needed help but wasn’t offered it killed himself and his 6-year-old son. Officials said eight referrals had been made about the father to DCYF but none met the threshold for opening a case to address abuse or neglect.