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ICYMI: Legislators & Advocate Discussed How Sununu & State House Republicans Budget Will Defund DCYF

In Case You Missed It, Senator Cindy Rosenwald, Senator Rebecca Whitley, State Representative Gaby Grossman, and Lawrence Shulman, member of the New Hampshire DCYF Advisory Board discussed how Governor Sununu and State House Republicans’ budget defunds 22 positions at the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) and will hurt Granite Staters. Read excerpts from their remarks below and watch the press conference here: Senator Cindy Rosenwald: “In 2019, the democratically-led legislature recognized the need to invest in our Division of Children, Youth, and Families and ensure the state was doing everything it could to protect our most at risk Granite State children. That’s why we handed Governor Sununu bipartisan solutions in the form of Senate Bill 6 which provided full funding and required a variety of policy solutions, and included the hiring of many new child protective service workers and supervisors to keep children safe. Then the pandemic happened, and only heightened New Hampshire’s need for the additional DCYF workers-- but unfortunately, Governor Sununu turned his back on these children and the workers at DCYF, and proposed a budget that both fails to comply with Senate Bill 6 and fails to fund 22 child protective service workers at the DCYF.” Senator Rebecca Whitley:Defunding 22 child protection workers will undo years of bipartisan progress to keep NH children safe and means that we won’t have the staff needed to care for our most vulnerable children. It means that we will be adding more to the workloads of those at DCYF who are already stretched incredibly thin trying to do their best to care for our children with limited resources from the state. And, it puts children at serious risk. Child protective service workers play a crucial part in the safety and wellbeing of our children and we are extremely disappointed that our Republican colleagues are ignoring the importance of this role.” Representative Gaby Grossman: “The number of cases DCYF has accepted nearly doubled from March 2020 to March 2021. And, as more cases come in, the number of cases per worker has skyrocketed. Despite this, Governor Sununu and State House Republicans have proposed a budget that defunds 22 positions at DCYF. With fewer caseworkers and increasing caseloads, this budget will put our vulnerable children at risk of being placed in abusive or dangerous environments. Democrats in the legislature tried to fund these positions and prioritize the health and safety of children in our state, but Governor Sununu and State House Republicans have prioritized tax cuts for large out of state businesses instead. This budget is simply unconscionable, and I’m deeply disappointed that Governor Sununu and my Republican colleagues have turned their backs on our children.” Lawrence Shulman: Following a global pandemic that has worsened our state’s mental health and child welfare crisis, Governor Sununu and State House Republicans are actually defunding 22 positions at the DCYF which will be detrimental to the health and safety of our most vulnerable children. This is at a time when the April statistics show DCYF protection staff working at only 66% of capacity while new assessments and allegations of abuse and neglect are increasing. The hypocritical argument made to support the cuts is that since the positions have not been filled they must not be necessary. Rather than asking why the positions remain unfilled, reasons such as a low starting salaries compared to other adjacent states, high caseloads due to unfilled positions, the significant stress experienced by workers leading to burn out, secondary trauma and a resulting high turnover in staff, the legislators chose to cut staff positions that will only lead to increased staffing problems.”

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