The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) is pleased to announce the approval of its Family First Title IV-E Prevention Plan by the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families (ACF). Under this plan, DCYF will be able to secure federal reimbursement under title IV-E of the Social Security Act for prevention services under the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018.
The Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First) provides an opportunity to transform child welfare systems by supporting critical prevention services to families whose children may be at risk of entering foster care. The State will leverage this funding to provide high-quality, home- and community-based services designed to keep families together, in order to prevent repeated contact with DCYF and reduce entries and re-entries into foster care.
“Through Family First, we have an incredible opportunity to get services to vulnerable families in their own homes and communities, making them more resilient and reducing the risk of abuse, neglect and separation of children from their families,” said DCYF Director Joseph E. Ribsam. “We are well on our way to implementing many of the new services designed to keep kids safe and keep families strong and together.”
New Hampshire’s primary goal in implementing Family First is to prevent families whose situations come to the attention of DCYF from having to be separated from their families and requiring a future intervention by Child Protection Services by connecting them with evidence-based services, including:
- Community Based Voluntary Services – Utilizing the evidence-based program Motivational Interviewing, these services help families who are at high risk of future child welfare involvement if their underlying needs are not met. Established in 2021, this program is being offered statewide by The Family Resource Center in Gorham and Waypoint in Manchester. To date, more than 1,000 New Hampshire families have received these services.
- Multisystemic Therapy – Specially certified therapists work in the home, school and community and are on call 24/7 to provide caregivers with the tools they need to transform the lives of troubled youth. Established earlier this year, this evidence-based program is currently serving approximately 25 youth each month.
- Intercept – Established earlier this year, this evidence-based intensive in-home parenting skills program is used to safely prevent children from entering out-of-home care or to reunify them with family as quickly as possible if a period of out-of-home care is necessary. This program is currently serving an average of 75 families each month.
- Healthy Families America – This evidence-based home visiting program for parents of young children is being expanded through a new procurement jointly issued by the DHHS Division of Public Health Services and DCYF.
Expansion of the DCYF service array for families in need with the addition of Homebuilders next year, as well as expanded Child Parent Psychotherapy.
These new programs described above are in addition to the following current programs and services designed to better serve children, youth, and families in their own communities without requiring any formal DCYF intervention:
- Partnership with the DHHS Bureau of Children’s Behavioral Health to provide early and effective community-based interventions and crisis stabilization services, such as New Hampshire Rapid Response and Fast Forward (high fidelity wraparound services);
- The Kinship Navigator Program, offered through the New Hampshire Children’s Trust, which offers a single point of entry to connect relative caregivers with a range of supportive services; and
- A Community Navigator program currently in procurement to provide outreach services to families who do not rise to the level of being assessed by the DCYF, by educating professional reporters and families on available resources in their specific region and connecting families with community supports and services.