DCYF Advisory Board Minutes

I recently had occasion to do a right to know letter to Nancy Rollins to request the NH DCYF Advisory Board minutes for the last two calendar years and 2004 YTD.   I originally got back the minutes redacted in various places.    The NH right to know law doesn't permit redacting of public records, so I wrote back to DCYF and requested the original minutes, unredacted.  What follows is those minutes, with what was originally redacted highlighted for your convenience.  Bernie Bluhm works for DCYF as an assistant administrator, Nancy Rollins is the head of DCYF, under the Commissioner of Health and Human Services, currently John Stevens, Donna Raycraft is the director of the Parent-Child Center at Riverbend.  They are a big DCYF contractor.  She is on record as being an anti spanking person.    I've done some minor reformatting,  but other than pointing out the areas where the minutes were redacted in the original minutes sent to me, the minutes are pretty much verbatim.   They cover the period January, 2002 -  February,  2004.

JANUARY 16, 2002
9:00 - 12:00


Donna Raycraft    Donna McAdam    Susan Lynch    Laura Jawitz    Gayleen Smith     Dague Clark     Bernie Bluhm

Board Issues:

Membership: Pat Ryan from Rockingham County sent a letter directly to the Governor' Office expressing an interest in becoming a Board member. We also have the name of Sharon Dalton from Rockingham County.

Donna Raycraft will contact someone from the Literacy Program in Hillsboro to try and help fill the vacancy in Hillsborough County.

When the entire membership packet is ready, Gayleen will provide members with the names of all that are sent to the Governor's Office.


In October every state Department was asked to cut their budgets by 1 % for this fiscal year and 2% for next year. The plan for this fiscal year has become reality and DCYF has met its obligation through vacancies and settlement (through caseload decreases). There will be no cuts in service delivery. The 2% contingency plan has not become a reality so our plans to address this have not been completed.

Reports for abuse and neglect have increased by about 13%. Articles that have been in the newspapers, while they have been inflammatory, they have consistently been the same message that we need more staff in the field.

We have bolstered the new worker training and our new Intern program that has helped the field significantly.  This has caused a slight decrease in the vacancy trend.

The Board asked if it was possible to look at state-wide volunteerism to help workers in the field.   Donna McAdam wondered about good media. Dague explained that it's hard for the Division to accept volunteers due to the nature of our business and the confidentiality. Dague also explained briefly the media campaign that Nancy and Joe are working on with the help of the Department's Public Information Office.
Nothing official in terms of a hiring freeze.

Promoting Safe and Stable Families - Bernie

Bernie disseminated copies of the November 16,2001 edition of "This Week in Washington" whereby it reauthorizes Safe and Stable Families.

Based on the earlier statement that reports of abuse and neglect have increased by 13%, we have developed a comprehensive family preservation contract that would provide services to those families where they have not reached the level of abuse/neglect but could be rise to that level. Bernie disseminated a list of the agencies under this contract. They are individual contracts and are retro back to July 1,2001. They are paid for by federal funds. As a way to measure outcomes, each agency will be required to provide information on who/what and the outcome of the service provided. When asked what would be the best way to review the requirements of these contracts Bernie mentioned that this is where this Board could help.

Permanency Plus Program - Rockingham County

This is a pilot project providing time-limited reunification services to families in Rockingham County. Attached for Board members is the 12-month review of this program.

Legislative Update - Byry

A written legislative update was provided by Byry with the suggestion that if Board members had any questions they could contact Byry directly at 271-4699.

Meeting adjourned at 10:30 a.m.

                      DCYF ADVISORY BOARD
                       FEBRUARY 20, 2002
                       9:00 - 12:00 P.M.

Sandy McGonagle    Donna Raycroft     Susan Lynch     Bernie Bluhm     Lisa Brennan    Joe Arcidiacono     Maggie Bishop     Gayleen Smith

Board Issues

Sandy thanked Donna Raycroft for filling in in her absence at the January meeting.

We discussed the nomination process. It would appear as though the names are almost ready to be sent to the Governor's Office. Gayleen will keep the Board posted.

Division Update

Helen Deuschle has recently been hired as the Senior Psychiatric Social Worker. She was at training at the time of this meeting, but Joe will ask her to try and make the next meeting. Marci Morris has been appointed as the Clinical Administrator and will begin on March 11 tho Marilyn Fraser has resigned as the Quality Improvement Administrator. We will be recruiting for her position as soon as possible.

The Division is working with the Public Information Office to begin a media campaign in an effort to take a more proactive approach. When we have worked out the design of this campaign we will be looking to Board members for assistance.

We have begun an initiative with the Bridges unit to work collaboratively towards making the Bridges system more user friendly. This will take about 18-24 months.

We will begin District Office Forums in March whereby we will invite the public to the DO and show them what we do. We will have brochures, fact sheets and other informational items for those who attend.

Safe and Stable Families

Bernie disseminated an article that showed the Bush administration's level funding for this program for the next five years.  On February 11 th Nancy approved the voluntary service policy. Bernie disseminated this as well. The policy allows DCYF to offer preventative services to children and families that could lead to child maltreatment. Parents must be the ones to request this services.

Bernie gave the Board a list of the members from the original Child Welfare Board. They are Sue Carmen, Carol McCall, Betsy Abrahams, Lisa Brennan and Molly Coleman. This is the Board that we were trying to merge with this Board. It was asked how that would work and how the two Boards would come together.

Sandy suggested that we devote a meeting to brainstorm how this would come together. Further questions were how this Board's responsibility would be merged with their responsibilities?  What structure would be established? A meeting with both Boards to focus on merging should probably happen sometime in April. At the March meeting Joe will talk with the Board about the April work session.

Legislative Update

Byry went over a few bills the Division is tracking at this time. He also disseminated a worksheet tracking document to Board members.

HB 1266 - inexpedient to legislate
HB1301 - referred to study committee over the summer HB 1406 - still working on
SB310 - inexpedient to legislate
SB321 - ought to pass SB331 - ought to pass SB338 - ought to pass
SB346 - inexpedient to legislate
SB353 - still working on
HB1161 - Bill died
HB1285 - ought to pass with amendment SB395 - still working on [now shows signed by governor]
SB408 - ought to pass as amended SB409 - still working on
SB354 - still working on 
[now shows signed by governor]
SB367 - still working on   [now shows signed by governor]
SB373 - Bill died
SB 124 - passed Senate

March meeting will be on the 20th at the Dolloff Building at 9:00 a.m. The agenda is as follows:

1. Report on Attendance
2. DCYF Update
3. Safe and Stable Families
4. Legislative Update
5. Public Forum Update and Annual Conference
Meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.

                      DCYF ADVISORY BOARD
                        MARCH 20, 2002
                        DOLLOFF BUILDING

Donna Raycroft    Jacky Hill     Donna McAdam    Laura Jawitz    Joe Arcidiacono     Lisa Brennan    Marci Morris    Nancy Rollins     Gayleen Smith    Helen Deuschle

Introductions were made for the benefit of Marci Morris and Helen Deuschle who two of DCYF's newest staff members. Margaret Reiser was also introduced as the new representative of Carroll County should her nomination be accepted at the next G&C meeting.

There was discussion around membership to the Board and where we were at. The letter requesting nominations of 5 individuals was presented to the Commissioner and he forwarded that recommendation to the Governor's Office. As of the writing of these minutes, it was placed before the Governor and Council. The individuals include: Bruce Boley, Portsmouth, Sharon Dalton, Windham, Marilyn Lync, Laconia, Margaret Reiser, Freedom and Judith Santy,
Whitefield. As soon as it becomes official via letter from Governor's Office, a packet of information will be sent to them. If these individuals are from your counties you should feel free to invite them to the next meeting.

DCYF Update - Nancy

Nancy introduced Joe Arcidiacono as the Deputy Director. He had been in that position as Acting Deputy Director since December. He was offered the position permanently and graciously accepted. Maggie Bishop had been acting in the capacity as the Child Protection Administrator. She also has accepted this position on a full time permanent basis. Marci Morris is the Division's new Clinical Administrator. Helen Deuschle is the Division's Senior Psychiatric Social Worker who will focus on kids at the Philbrook Center. John Keegan has recently been hired as the Bureau of Quality Improvement's Administrator. Nancy will send out a new organizational chart as it becomes ready for dissemination.

The Division currently has only 7 vacancies in the field. We knew the hiring freeze was coming so we stepped up the hiring process internally.

Budget - for FY02 we were mandated to cut our budget by 2%. This mayor may not affect us since we are running a surplus in both child care and settlement. For FY03 we are anticipating a 3 or 4% budget cut. This will have an impact on our service provision. We are in the process of developing our FY04 and 05 budgets. We will begin the process over the summer but since we run into a new election, we start the process all over.

Eric L Settlement Agreement - originally this was initiated to move us towards best practice. Last monitors report sent March 1 st to Oversight Panel. Initially this began as a Class Action Lawsuit brought on by Franklin Pierce Law School and the Disability Rights Center. It ended UP in a settlement agreement. Franklin Pierce dropped out a while ago.  [Previously Redacted from copy provided to Attorney Werme:

We have had much difficulty coming into compliance with this agreement.]   Further litigation will probably be sought.  Mediation will begin in June for 2 months. Agreement will be extended through December 2000.  Another monitor’s report will be due in September. Litigation will be determined June 30th.

DCYF Action Plan - presentation by Commissioner

Nancy disseminated the Commissioner's Action Plan. Included in this plan is his action for DCYF over the next year. The first few pages address the Department as a whole, explaining cost containment efforts and anticipated shortfalls for FY02 and FY03.

One of the ways the Department will try to address the shortfall is through Medicaid Proshare. This plan is very iffy at best and it's only for a designated time period. If we got this it will be a one shot deal. Another potential revenue is the Health Care Transition Fund.

DCYF's portion
First we will work on fixing the response time for abuse/neglect assessments. The Commissioner has proposed an internal transfer of 29 positions that will be given to DCYF to be reclassified as assessment supervisors and wo kers. These positions will be vacant so no one losses jobs. This will go through the normal process so we are probably looking at July before we could begin to hire for these new positions.

For the Backlog and After Hours Capacity we will develop an overtime budget line for a one-time opportunity to clean up overdue assessments. This also allows for appropriate response process.

We will upgrade legal representation for child protection cases. We will request for class 59 temporary positions and then contract out for paralegals.

For the next budget we will build in improvements for recruitment and retention of foster families and also increase foster care rates. We will also add additional adoption staff and upgrade Termination of Parental Rights and Permanency.  We will work to increase foster children's health services and settle the Hawkins lawsuit which would fix the dental issue. We will also try to upgrade Bridges.

The date of the CFSR review has been cancelled from this November for sometime in July 2003. We are trying to prepare for this now, and Nancy would very much like this group to be involved in the process. We are going to need 60-100 people to help review cases.

Community Forums - we will begin a series of community forums that will be held at the District Offices. This will begin with the Salem Office on March 25th and the Conway office on March 2th. This is to introduce the public to DCYF and the work we do. The Laconia DO Forum will be April 10th, and the Concord DO Forum will be April 17th. A list of the remaining district offices will be available at the next meeting.

A reminder that the DCYF Annual Conference is May 16th and 1 th. By the time of these minutes you should have received a brochure from Staff Development. The theme this year is "Breaking a Link" with co-sponsorship by DJJS. Shay Bilchak from CWLA will be the keynote speaker. It will be back at the Sheraton in Nashua. Nancy also mentioned that for those of you who have never seen the performance by Express Yourself (kids connected to DCYF) you should
try to stay for the show on Thursday evening. Friday during lunch is the Director's awards for community and staff.

Meeting adjourned at 10:40 a.m.

                          DCYF ADVISORY BOARD
                         APRIL 17, 2002
                   Brown Building - Room 232

Sandy McGonagle     Susan Lynch         Lisa Brennan         Jacky Hill       Nancy Rollins         John Keegan        Joe Arcidiancono     Gayleen Smith                        Bernie Bluhm         Donna McAdam     Margaret Reiser

Board Housekeeping

Sandy welcomed everyone and called for introductions. She asked that we consider meeting here at Brown Building for the summer. We have secured Room 232 at Brown for June and August, but haven't been able to locate a sight at the time of these minutes for July. May's meeting will be at the State Office Park South - Main Building on Hospital Grounds in the BDF Conference Room on the 1 st floor.

Nomination Update

Five new Board Members have been nominated; they are Bruce Boley, Rockingham County, Sharon Dalton, Rockingham County, Marilyn Lynch, Belknap County, Margaret Reiser, Carroll County, Judity Santy, Coos County. David Coombs name has been sent to the Commissioner's Office as a possible referral to the Governor's Office for Hillsborough County. DCYF received a resignation from Judith MacDonald.

DCYF Update

Nancy introduced John Keegan as the new Administrator for the Bureau of Quality Improvement. John gave a brief history of his professional background in grants managing as well as his work on the Departments Strategic Health Plan.

Nancy is feeling very confident in the new management structure at State Office. We are currently working on the projected 3-4% budget cuts for FY03 as well as beginning the process on FY04 and 05. We are working hard to bring up federal reimbursements to assist us in continuing our level of services. We expect substantial decreases in our IV-E levels for FY00 and 01.  The changes in the Adoption and Safe Families Act have contributed significantly to this.
We have been working on the paperwork process to make incremental steps to get out eligibility back up to standard. Even through our lack of resources we will continue to emphasize that if you don't give us the staff we can't keep up our federal revenues.

DCYF Action Plan - we have requested from each of the other DHHS divisions 29 positions to be allocated to DCYF. Once we receive them, we will begin the reclassification process.

Margaret Rieser asked Nancy to explain what a review was given that she just went through one in the Conway office. Nancy explained that 1 st we review the process and evaluate field practices. These staff reviewers conduct thorough reviews of case files; they interview staff, foster families, providers, etc. In the 2nd round these reviews become more targeted. The Division as a whole will begin its federal review in July of 2003. These reviews will be done in
our largest metropolitan area (Manchester) a small area and then a medium area. We are permitted to decide or have some say in the small and medium areas, but they choose the largest area. We will be requesting Board members to help us during that time. In all they will need about 60 people.

The New England Association of Child Welfare Commissioner's and Directors (NEACWCD) hosted a SCAN community meeting in both Keene and Concord. This is a marketing research process to discover what the general public thinks of child protection. They then hold a stakeholders meeting to see what stakeholders think. This group offers people (randomly selected from phonebooks) a stipend and dinner to answer some questions. They will develop a results document in June so we can look at this to develop the basis for the next child welfare plan.

Safe and Stable Families Act - Bernie

There was a legislative breakfast yesterday which focused on family resource centers. Sandy Goodlet was the keynote speaker. Bernie then disseminated a packet that contained reports for all the resource centers and their progress.

In March we discussed how we would do the evaluation process of these contracts. We had asked this board to assist us with the evaluation. This was supposed to be discussed today, but it was tabled until the May meeting. It was agreed that Sandy would draft a letter for all members regarding this merger.

Legislative Update - Byry

The legislative season is winding down. All Bills should be out by the 18th of April. Byry went over a couple that he is tracking.

HB686 - scope of discovery in abuse/neglect cases. Requires DCYF and law enforcement disclose all information to petitioners. If we decide to withhold information "and they still want information, it goes to committee. Senate killed the Bill and moved to Interim study - It will not be worked on
over the summer.

SB 124 - confidentiality in abuse/neglect proceedings. House amended Bin to establish a pilot project in Grafton County to conclude in 2004. Under these amendments court proceedings will be open in Grafton County. There is an ability to close proceedings. Byry believes this version of the bill will pass.

SB337 - consent orders in abuse/neglect cases on floor today SB408 - Governing records of abuse/neglect. How long do we keep records? If screen outs - 1
year, Unfounded reports - 3 years and founded cases - 7 years. This Bill means we will be shredding these both paper and electronically and Bridges does not have the capacity to do that. This is on the house floor on the 17th.

- Central Registry Bill- The length of time your name is on CR and a mechanism to have it removed. Current statute allows for 7 years and allows for an expungement process so folks can petition once after 1 year on CR and then again after a period of 3 years. Ought to pass.

HB179- 17-18 year olds- Sailed through Children and Family Law Committee - then went to House Finance - approved. Went to Senate - at this point law enforcement vehemently opposed so there is a lesser version. The age will not go to 18 however they will allow continuing detention at YDC until 18th birthday. A task force will be developed to look at the age issue.

 MAY 15, 2002
 9:00 - 12:00 PM


Sandy McGonagle    Marilyn Lynch    Laura Jawitz    Susan Lynch    Cheryl Molloy    Judith Santy     Susie Margraf    Donna McAdam    Donna Raycroft    Sharon Dalton    Margaret Reiser     Bruce Boley     Maggie Bishop     Joe Arcidiancono     Gayleen Smith     Dague Clark     Bernie Bluhm      Nancy Rollins

DCYF Child Welfare Members

Susan Carmen     Molly Coleman      Jim Shanelaris      Lisa Brennan      Karen M-Granite

Introductions were made for the benefit of both Advisory Boards. There are two goals today: the power point presentation and the discussion of the merger of the two boards.

DCYF Update - Joe Arcidiacono

Nancy was at a Commissioner's Management Meeting this morning. However, Joe has been asked to provide the Board with an update. The most recent news was that effective July 31, 2002 Don Shumway will be leaving the Department. Don has been able to tap into many resources that have guided us through these past budget cycles.  He is going to be sorely missed. In the political interim, Kathy Sgambati will be named as Acting Commissioner.

As most members know, we are in the middle of holding our Community Forums with the latest in Manchester. Mostly these forums have had small turnouts but great dialogue. We have completed six with six more to go. Nashua Form was next on May 29,2002 at 5:00 p.m. After that is Keene on June 4, 2002 at 4:30 p.m.

TRIAD came to NH last month. They randomly chose thirteen citizens that they selected through the phonebook. The group was asked various questions and the results were the same across the board in terms of the theme we have been hearing. DCYF needs more resources, an after-hour response and more staff.

Currently we are operating under a hiring freeze, equipment freeze and out of state travel freeze. Our hope is that this will end on June 30, 2002.

Nancy was recently on a local Londonderry Cable Television show. It is our understanding that we can have copies of this show and Joe asked if Board members would be willing to take these tapes to their local cable companies to have them aired. They all agreed that they would do that.

Community and SDM Presentation

The presentation begins with the Division's organizational chart and then moves onto our budget. Dague went over this piece as it explains our budget for FY2002 and 03. For FY02 we had about $121 million and for FY03 we have about $123 million. When DJJS was transferred out of our Division we had to transfer about $6 million to their accounts. The major components of this budget are child and family services at $66 million for FY02 and $67 million for FY03.

The presentation moves on to discuss our Intake Office. Out of the 15,281 calls to our Intake Office 7,391 were referred for investigation (this involves 10,578 children) out of that number only 716 were founded cases. The number of children removed equaled 232. The number of reports has increased significantly. Maggie Bishop believes that this has to do with the population's education and awareness.

Structured Decision Making (SDM) - Maggie Bishop

There are 3 levels of assessments that our staff follow. They are:

Level I - highest level and response (face to face) must be made in 24 hours-
Level 2 - intermediate level with response within 48 hours
Level 3 - lower level with a response within 72 hours

What this means is that a call has come into our Intake Office and through the use of SDM. a worker in the Intake Office has assigned a level to this case.  Maggie cited various examples of how a level is determined as well as disseminated a handout on SDM. Maggie did say that the most effective piece of SDM is the consistency.

Merger of both the Child welfare Advisory Board and the DCYF Advisory Board

Bernie came today to launch the family comprehensive program. While he provided an overview of what the role of the combined boards would look like, Lisa Brennan gave a historical overview of the child welfare advisory board. She indicated that this Board was originally established with both providers and parents as members with the purpose of providing DCYF with feedback and accessible contacts of grants to family preservation.

Susie Margraf then gave a brief historical overview of the DCYF Advisory Board. In 1983 this Board was put into Statute as part of the plan that created the Division. Originally we were supposed to have youth, but there has been a problem with that. This Board was mandated to spend down the federal dollars associated with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) grant. This was a small pocket of money given to contractors to fund diversion programs. About 8 years ago the responsibility of this was given to the State Advisory Group (SAG).

Sandy stated that it appears that we all are on the same path for the same common goaL We could merge through the subcommittee process where we would review RFP's and monitor the contracts as well as assist with the child welfare plan. This would mean cross-reference the State Statute with
the Governor's office. If necessary we could change the statute through the next legislation process.

Board Business - Sandy McGonagle

At the next meeting we will need to confirm details regarding the Board's Retreat. If we keep in line with the 3rd Wednesday of the month, this will take place on the 18th of September. We will discuss this further in June.

Meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.

June 19, 2002
Brown Building Room 232
9:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m.  

Sandy McGonagle    Bernie Bluhm    Joe Arcidiacono    Sharon Dalton    Marilyn Lynch    Gayleen Smith    Nancy Rollins    Donna Raycroft    Susan Lynch     Jacky Hill     Donna McAdam    Judith Santy    Margaret Reiser

Introductions were made for the benefit of new Board members,

DCYF Update - Nancy Rollins

Budget - the Governor enacted another SFYO3 budget cut. However, this does not significantly impact DCYF our settlement account and will not affect operations or positions for SFYO3. In July we begin th biennium process for SFYO4 and 05. We are in the process of writing 7D's which creates new positions for the' agencies. When the new Governor is inaugurated, the budget process begins again. The budget we are currently working on is for the current Governor. Things could change significantly.

Eric L - this settlement agreement was suppose to sunset this fall. [Previously redacted from copy provided Paula Werme:

  We have not achieved 100% compliance due to lack of resources.]
The plaintiffs are pursuing litigation from a law firm out of New York. We are in mediation now so nothing can be discussed publicly. We have filed an extension amendment. Therefore, another monitor's report will be due this fall.

We are currently working to transfer and reclassify positions from within the Department. There are 15. There will be another 13 later and again we will need to follow the same process.

Another sum of money we are waiting approval for would allow us to pay overtime for DO staff as well as cash payouts for accrued compensatory time. Other uses would be for on-call staff.

We are looking for dollars to expand the pilot project on permanency planning to other district offices.  Currently, the only district with this funding is Portsmouth.


Sandy then asked members if they would be interested in contacting their local candidates in their districts to share this information and request their support.

Members asked about the permanency plus program in Portsmouth - what do they do - why is it successful? Nancy will ask Bernie to put something together so members at the August meeting.

Community Update - Joe Arcidiacono

Joe disseminated video copies of a talk show on a local cable network out of Londonderry that Nancy did along with a couple of foster parents. Joe asked Board members to distribute their copies to local cable companies in their areas. It was a really great segment and should be shown across the state.

Community Forums - these continue with the latest one in Rochester. About 40 people attended which meant it was the 2nd biggest turnout. These forums will conclude in Berlin on July 8th.

Board Discussion

There was excellent discussion regarding the board merger last month. The general agreement that the goals are common. Members feel this responsibility for monitoring RFPs could be handled through subcommittees.

There will be a Board retreat on September 18th from 9:00 - 2:00 p.m. at the Dolloff Building. Lunch will be served. Peggy Keschneik has graciously agreed to facilitate this retreat. It was agreed that the agenda should look a little like this:

Update on legalities of merger with Child Welfare Advisory Board
Develop a concrete "to do list"
How to solicit youth members
Description of task and mission
Description of subcommittees in general
Officers and tenure
How to become a more dynamic board - informed, contributing and communicating

......Agenda for August 21st meeting - 9:00 a.m. - Room 232

Board Business
DCYF Update
September Retreat - invite Bob Boisvert

Note:  No minutes were received for any meeting on August 21, 2002., nor for the September retreat.

October 16, 2002
9:00 - 12:00 PM

Sandy McGonagle    Donna Raycroft    Marilyn Lynch    Bernie Bluhm    Gayleen Smith    Nancy Rollins    Sue Cannen    Joe Arcidiacono


Cheryl Malloy Donna McAdam

Sandy distributed the minutes from the retreat held in September. Members felt it was a very productive retreat.

Division Update - Nancy

Our departmental budget is at Administrative Services. This budget that was submitted may not be what is approved. Since we are awaiting the election of Governor and subsequently a new Commissioner, we do not know at this point what our budget will look like. Nancy did mention though that once Administrative Services receives the department's budget it is considered public knowledge. Shortly after November 5th we will probably receive new instructions. At the discretion of the new Governor a Transition Team will be appointed to review the state's budget.

Nancy went over our fiscal request for 60 new positions. She mentioned that at the last Fiscal Committee meeting this item had been tabled. It can/will remain tabled until such time the Committee wishes to revisit it. We recently transferred internally 15 position that were reclassified. This item was tabled at the G&C meeting last month, but was successfully passed on 9/25.

Moving full scale ahead with the permanency plus grant. Though the monies were attached to the TANF reauthorization and that was not passed federally, we are still moving ahead.

Eric L. - plaintiffs council will be filing to bring us back to court. We are planning another presentation and are busy getting things in order to do so.

We recently contracted with the Val Morgan company. They are the company whereby you place advertisements at your local theaters. Weare about to unroll our adoption and foster care advertisements.

By invitation only, we recently held an adoption meeting. We had nine children we were looking for homes for. At this meeting there were tapes and posters of these 9 children and we are pleased to say that at the end of the meeting every child had a family interested in adopting them.

Legislative Update

There are bills coming forward for the following purposes:

     •     establish a study committed to study the foster care system;
     ·    permitting certain information for minor children;
            establish a committee to study the government actions that contribute to the homelessness
            Literacy bill;
            Implementing family division of courts;
            Consolidation of Newport and Claremont courts;
            Establish a study committee regarding the prescriptions and use of psychotropic medications including Ritalin;
            Rights for indigent parents with minors;
            Establish a study committee for the creation of state owned campsites as homeless shelters;
            Move burden of proof in abuse/neglect cases to clear and convincing evidence;
            Collection and disclosure of identifying information from state government.

We also anticipate many/several bills whereby the intent will be to break up the Department.

Board merge - Bernie

Bernie did not have enough time to complete the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) however it is a work in progress. We have 7 former members of the Child Welfare Advisory Board interested in serving on the Subcommittee. They anticipate having 6 to 7 meetings a year running from January - May with a meeting in August for training and a November meeting which would start the process all over again. Sue felt the meetings could increase to 10 meetings a year if

Sue needs to know how to proceed and Bernie felt there is a need for a Committee meeting in November to review the MOA. The DCYF Advisory Board needs to approve the MOA and appoint committee members.

Sue will give a list of nominees to Gayleen to be included in the minutes.

Sue Carmen was invited to serve on the DCYF Advisory Board and it was agreed that her name would be submitted to the Governor and Council for approval. Nancy mentioned that given that we will have a new Governor shortly, that the current governor will not be looking at nominations for any Boards so it could be awhile before we hear anything. Until such time Sue is approved, she will continue to work on the Committee.
[Note: Sue Carmen is a supervisor for CASA volunteers.]

Agenda for November meeting:

DCYF update from Nancy
Review of Memorandum of Agreement
Appointment/Introduction of CWC members
Revised by-laws
Goal setting discussion for 2003
Board vacancies

November 20, 2002
Brown Building Room 232
9:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m.


Sandy McGonagle    Laura Jawitz    Susan Lynch    Margaret Reiser    Bernie Bluhm    Sue Farmer    Gail Richards    Dorothy Melzard    Nancy Rollins     Gayleen Smith    Cheryl Molly    Bruce Boley    Donna McAdam

Introductions were made for the benefit of all members present.

DCYF Update - Nancy L. Rollins

We are in a political holding pattern awaiting new Governor and how things will shape up legislatively as well as budgetarily We are not sure what will come out of Budget Hearings but are preparing for any changes that may be necessary.

Nancy has reminded staff that we mUst focus Oll what we are statutorily responsible for. There was another video taping on the same idea as the previous one disseminated to all Board members recently on a Londonderry Cable Station. We also recently did a segment on Adoption Advertising through Val Morgan. For those of you who don't know that is the advertising agent for most movie theaters across the state. Val Morgan will run foster care advertisements in an effort to recruit new foster parents.

[Paragraph Previously redacted from copy given Paula Werme -

Brattleboro Retreat - we have effectively shut  them down.  Rates have substantially increased over time so we are working hard to evaluate the efficiency and will look to move kids back home to NH as soon as possible.  We are looking to work with Philbrook to see if they can take some of these children.  We have substantially decreased the length of stay for children placed there.]

Memorandum of Agreement - Bernie Bluhm

It was agreed that we need to restore and solidify the committee that is needed to reiterate community involvement links from this subcommittee to the DCYF Advisory Board.

Sue Carmen asked about the piece on being responsible for monitoring. It was agreed that the language should be changed to say DCYF with the assistance of the Board.

A few changes were discussed and made. A new copy will be reviewed and approved at next meeting.

No December Meeting:

January 15th
Any Child Welfare Board member is welcome to any Board meeting. We are asking that 3 members be included in Board Meetings.

The SubCommittee looks like this:

Betsy Abram or Lyna Kegley
Sue Carmen - until such time she is nominated to the DCYF Advisory Board
Molly Coleman, Candice Leonard, Karen McCall Grammit, Jim Shanelaris, Donna Raycraft, Chris Hasley, Sandy Molet, Gail Richards, and Dorothy Melzard. This leaves 3 persons to be recruited. We would like to look in the Great North. On a motion from Donna McAdam and seconded by Susan Lynch this selection of the Subcommittee was approved. There were no objections.

The Memorandum of Understanding will be attached to by-laws and on a motion by Sharon Dalton and seconded by Laura Jawitz all approved. There were no objections.

Drop Out Conference, January 28, 2003 - Marriott Grappone Center. www.nhworks.org

Meeting adjourned at 10:00 am

Next Meeting January 15th here at Brown Room 232


1. Goal setting for 2003
2. DCYF Update including budget 3. Board Vacancies
4. Approval of MOU and By-laws

All meetings for 2003 will be at the Brown Building in Room 232

Goals for 2003:
Comments for DCYF
Legislative Bills - know already that certain individuals submitting: 1. Definition of C/A/N could
2. Change standard of burden of proof.

Revisiting Foster Care,
CFSR review for 2003. Feds will come in to look at 30-50 cases in great detail. November 2003 -
IV -E Audit checking to make sure all forms are done correctly.

Budge 2004-2005 request for 72 positions add to tabled 60 positions. Also in the change column of
budget request.

Bush- $5000 voucher - children in care could use if want to go to college. Nancy will send on more
information as soon as she hears regarding federal changes.

The Division will begin to hold meeting (forums) inviting in new legislators (briefing book) and
will focus on DCYF language. We will target local representatives and local Executive
Committee Members.

Nancy should know more - hopefully by January meeting.

January 15, 2003
Brown Building Room 232
9:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m.


Laura Jawitz    Bruce Boley    Sharon Dalton    Marilyn Lynch    Sandy McGonagle    Sue Carmen   Donna McAdams    Margaret Reiser    Susan Lynch    Donna Raycroft    Maureen Soragam

On a motion from Laura Jawitz and seconded by Donna McAdam the minutes of the November meeting were approved as written.

Introductions were made for the benefit of all members present.

DCYF Update - Nancy L. Rollins

K. Bortner legislation - the concern is confidentiality - not wanting to further exploit child/family in media. It speaks to accreditation and we support this piece of the Bill since we have been working accreditation standards for the last 3 years. The bill only asks for a plan it doesn't tell us what to do with the plan. We will be offering amendments to the Bill. We will share the amendment with the board members when we available.

Currently there are only 3 states accreditated - Illinois, Kentucky and Oklahoma.

Sponsors of this Bill are:
M. Hallyburton
A. Martell

Goal Setting for 2003

It was discussed that this Board should actively show at every meeting; how we are
supporting DCYF and to report on activities.

These are the goals for 2003 and beginning next month we will begin to include these
issues in monthly meetings:
-budget initiatives
-public relations
-education of public about what DCYF is/does
-responding to/supporting legislation
-gather and present information regarding activities DCYF is engaged in
-community involvement
-outreach to service clubs/organizations
-contact with District Offices
-educate community members aware of volunteer opportunities

-invite program specialists to meetings
("Child welfare is a community responsibility")
-put board members on mailing lists for publications -develop brochure
-invite Ron Lospenato, Disabilities Rights Center
-better communication with each other in/out of meetings -at least once yearly meet with young people who use system -get a youth member on board

Budget - the budget cycle for 2004-2005 began in August. Ours included rate increase and new positions. Much of November and December was spent with Governor's transition team. The Department  budget is in development. [Previously redacted in Paula Werme copy: 

 Bruce asked what if we don’t get any of the new positions and Nancy responded that we won’t be able to fulfill Eric L. obligations, LBA audit.]

Some of DCYFs staff met with the members of the Child and Family Law Committee.   Since the election there has been almost a 50% turnover in membership. All but 4 of the members came. Nancy disseminated her legislative presentation.

Kassidy Bortner Bill- [Previously redacted in Paula Werme copy:

 the legislature has the perception that there is no oversight for this Division.] 

Bruce Boley mentioned that maybe this Board should call legislative members and have a discussion relative to support for the Division and what it needs to do its job.

The plaintiffs have submitted a a press release on Eric L. litigation - our current Eric L. Monitor's Report is due January and if approved by the AG's office we will have handouts for the Advisory Board.

We are preparing our press release and once approved we will e-mail to DCYF Advisory Board members.

Board Vacancies

We still have not received a liaison or a process for filling vacancies from the Governor's
Office - once we have we will forward the process to Board members.

Approval for MOU and By-laws

MOU Approved

Bernie discussed the timeline on the 2003 report on the IV-B Child and Family Services Plan. As steps are reached in the development of the plan, the Advisory Board will be consulted as the goal of a plan as that will be a useful tool for this Board and Stakeholders.

By-laws - on a motion by Donna Raycroft and seconded by Donna McAdams the By-Laws were approved as written

Contact List:

Bruce Boley Rockingham County
88 Newcastle Avenue Portsmouth, NH 03801
Phone: (H) 603-431-8471

Susan Lynch Merrimack
166 Hopkins Green Road
Hopkinton, NH 03229
Phone: (H) 603-224-4824 Susanlynch77@aol.com

Donna Raycraft Merrimack
P.O. Box 2032
Concord, NH 03302-2032
Phone: (H) 603-753-6671
(W) 603-226-7516 ex. 3215

Joe Arcidiacono
129 Pleasant Street
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: (W) 603-271-4563

Sandra T. McGonagle
165 Potter Hill
Gilford, NH 03246
Phone: (H) 603-524-3134 (W) 603-524-1661

Susan Carmen HilIsboro
P.O. Box 1327
Manchester, NH 03105-1327
Phone: 603-626-4600
Fax: 603-623-6362

Margaret Rieser
25 W. Main Street
Conway, NH 03818

Marilyn Lynch
1296 Old N. Main Street
Laconia,  NH 03246
Phone: 603-524-1906

Laura Jawitz
Pine Tree School
183 Main Street
Center Conway, NH 03813

Sharon Dalton
Adult Learning Center
4 Lake Street
Nashua, NH 03060

Next Meeting February 19th here.


1. Adoption or Foster Care 2. Legal Issues
3. Budget
4. Goal setting for 2003

All meetings for 2003 will be at the Brown Building in Room 232

FEBRUARY 19, 2003
9:00 -12:00 P.M.

Sandy McGonagle    Marilyn Lynch    Sharon Dalton    Bruce Boley    Donna Raycraft    Donna McAdam   Margaret Reiser    Bernie Bluhm    Joe Arcidiacono        Susan Carmen    Gayleen Smith

Special Guest: Ellen Wheatley - new Headstart Administrator

Meeting began at 9: 15 a.m. Introductions were made for the benefit of all in attendance.   In a motion from Donna Raycroft and seconded by Marilyn Lynch the minutes were approved as written.

DCYF Issues

DHHS has a new Commissioner - Nicholas Vailas. Joe is very impressed with this new Commissioner's openness. He has asked each Division Director to work on Performance Measures/Indicators for their respective agencies. We have been working on ours and continue to meet to finalize them.

Cheryl Molloy - wants to discuss at the March Advisory Board meeting the idea of hosting coffee in each District Office. She would like Advisory Board members to participate.

Budget - Budget is now the Governor's budget and we pretty much start the proceedings over. In his budget the Governor is requesting a 5% reduction in provider payments. This concerns DCYF because providers have not received any increases in a very long time. In the Governor's budget the Division received 42 new positions. There are not related to the 58 in the original request. These new 42 are mostly field positions. There was a footnote in the Budget that states that DHHS must reduce the budget by $12 million over the next 2 years.  Half of this must come from positions that are Labor Grade 26+ and unclassified positions. When you take into consideration the matching funds this could result in $24 million.

Staff Development - Lori Weaver is the new Administrator for this Unit. She will make
sure that DCYF Advisory Board members receive notice about any Staff Development

There were no legal issues at this time.

Hiring freeze - we received a blanket waiver for CPSWs and nurses. We currently are only running with 8 vacancies out of 327 staff. Of those eight, five are field positions. We have sought waivers for the other three but have heard nothing.

Donna McAdam recently wrote a short note to the editor of Foster's regarding the communities responsibility for child welfare. She received many responses from the community agreeing with her. A copy of that article is attached.

It was agreed that community forums are necessary and this time around we need to have more public representation. Donna Raycraft mentioned that maybe a house party? Folks thought this would be a good addition to community forums but not a replacement to.

Family Violence Grant - Bernie

We have been receiving monies from this federal grant since 1996. We distribute the monies to a contracted statewide entity. The Coalition Against Domestic Violence has consistently been awarded the grant. It's about $400,000 which supports the hiring of Domestic Violence Program Specialists located in the district offices. Two years ago the federal government changed the formula and we now receive $800,000. We need the approval of the Fiscal Committee to receive and disburse these funds. Nancy will have an update at the next meeting.

Foster Care Presentation - Gail DeGoosh

Gail did a wonderful presentation on foster care that included recruitment and retention efforts. She disseminated much information and let folks know that if there is anything regarding foster care she can be reached at 271-4711.

There will be an adoption presentation in March.

The agenda for the March 19th meeting is as follows:

Board business
DCYF Update
Adoption presentation
Legal Update - if Byry is available
Goal Setting

MARCH 19, 2003
ROOM 232
9:00-12:00 P.M.

PRESENT: Laura Jawitz    Sandy McGonagle    Cheryl Molloy    Nancy Rollins    Gayleen Smith    Donna Raycraft    Margaret Reiser    Sue Carmen

Board Business

Today we have Cathy Atkins coming from DCYF for an adoption presentation. In April the Board mentioned that they would like to invite some young people to come and talk. Sandy wants to talk to Donna McAdam to see if she has any ideas. For May Bruce Boley invited Ron Lospenato from the Disabilities Rights Center and also a plaintiff in the Eric L. Lawsuit but we haven't heard. Sandy asked Nancy if this raises concerns for DCYF. Nancy responded that she is not sure how much Ron Lospenato will be able to say. On behalf of DCYF Ann Larney from the Attorney General's Office has filed our counter action.

[Paragraph previously redacted from Paula Werme copy:

There are many areas throughout Eric L. that was addressed.  There are areas where we agree, some issues we disagree with the Oversight Panel and some we believe they hold us to a standard we will never be able to meet.  On most items we have made forward progress.  We would like to incorporate the CFSR Standard once we get into Court so that it becomes our new standard.  Board members should review these and plan to ask questions at the next meeting to prepare for the May meeting with R. Lospeuato. ]

Sally Varney will be coming to the April meeting for a Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) Presentation that is needed for Board members. This review is a federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF) - Performance Evaluation Process. They believe there are 3 primary goals for child protection: safety, permanency and wellbeing. Each state has to demonstrate that these are there, 3 goals for the permanency evaluation process. We are having this review the week of June 9th -13th. Unfortunately this coincides with motorcycle weekend. No state (and there have been 32 of them) has passed Without a
plan of action. This includes states that are fully accredited.

Commissioner's Office - Sandy suggested they look to invite Commissioner Vailas to attend the June 18th meeting. Nancy will approach this with him and then Sandy can send him a formal invitation.


March 10th DCYF did an open session to the Legislature, we didn't get far, so it was re-scheduled to March 18th and at that time we were able to complete our presentation. In the Governor's Budget we are slated to receive 42 new positions - 40 are field positions and the other 2 are 1 auditor -and 1 Foster Care Health Nurse Supervisor for the North Country.

There is a 5% provider rate cut which concerns us because there has been no provider rate increase since 2001. All in all we did a great job during our presentations. We are now working on a block budget which involves what we will build back in and where.

For the 98% - 95% budge cuts - [material previously  redacted from Paula Werme Copy :

$45 marriage licenses $38 goes to our Domestic Violence fund.  This is in our budget]  Some general fund dollars have been also put in this budget. These general fund dollars have been stripped from this budget. We have now been trying (attempting) to correct this. This will also be a building block. We will also build in a 5% provider rate.

[Six paragraphs previously redacted from Paula Werme copy:

Legislative Update

The theme throughout the legislature this year is raising clear and convincing evidence - - if this succeeds more children will be harmed.

Another theme - more relative placement
What constitutes a home study?
Why are relatives held to the same standard?
Byry read her the law that legislators previously made.  Once all the current legislators agreed and in the end HB56 was voted inexpedient to legislate.

Another theme - why do we hold relatives to this standard.

David Wheeler - 1998 NCANS Report - The data system they used sited a term called false reports.  David feels that substantiation rate 13% and that false report is 87%.  Wheeler just won’t give up on this.

Nancy first wanted Board Members to Know and understand what themes exist out there]

No list of Bills that we are following. Cross-over date is April 10th.  Doesn't seem to be too many fires burning.

Coffee to District Offices in recognition of the staff. DCYF Advisory Board members were asked to join in and go to their local district offices. This is a joint Prevent Child Abuse and DCYF Advisory Board effort. Denise is the other person from Prevent Child Abuse that may contact Board members.

Adoption Presentation - Cathy Atkins

In New Hampshire there are three ways to adopt a child.

1st - Agency Adoption: adoption is done through a private agency: Child and Family Services, and Lutheran Services are privately licensed agencies who will work with pregnant families, they also do international home studies for infants not many toddlers.

2nd - Private Adoption: adoption is done through adoption lawyers with less involvement with agencies. Birth mother picks the person and no guardianship is done through any agency.

Our Adoption program - public agency and is part of Child Protection Services. Children come into the system through abuse and neglect and are not able to return home. We then proceed to terminate parental rights or do involuntary termination of parental rights. Cathy is the supervisor of this program. Adoption workers are Child Protective Services Workers (CPSWs) located in the field offices. There are currently 8 workers and I supervisor. We really need about 16 workers and another supervisor.

Scope - during the period of 1 year we serve 266 children, 114 we finalized for adoption. The rest are in the process.

Main job - adoption by current foster family or relative. 65% are done this way; the other 30% need homes and are listed in the Waiting Children Brochure that Cathy left for everyone.

Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) - 65% of children will stay where they are. When you prepare the TPR it is done in the Child Protection Unit not the Adoption Unit. When a TPR petition is filed adoption does case staffing to ensure we do have a family for the child.

Goals for 2003

April - CFSR Review Presentation
    Possible youth presentation will contact Donna McAdam

May - maybe Ron Lospenato

June - maybe Commissioner

Next meeting is April 16th in Room 232 of the Brown Building at 9:00 a.m.

APRIL 16,2003
9:00-12:00 P.M.

PRESENT: Bruce Boley    Donna Raycroft    Donna McAdam    Margaret Reiser    Susan Lynch    Marilyn Lynch    Bernie Bluhm    Joe Arcidiacono    Gayleen Smith    Deb Valentine

Donna Raycroft opened the meeting at 9: 15 a.m.

Donna announced that she was chairing the meeting today in Sandy's absence. Sandy
asked to be excused today due to school issues. Introductions were then made.

Board Business

Bruce Boley asked if there was a routine day of the month that Board meeting were held. Donna responded that Board meetings are always the 3 Wednesday of every month. Ron Lospenato will be coming to the next meeting and talk to member about the Eric L. lawsuit. He will come to talk and answer questions as opposed to a formal presentation. It was suggested that maybe Ron could also talk to the board about the Disabilities Rights Center and its history.

DCYF Update - Joe Arcidiacono

Budget - There is not much of a difference between A, B, C versions of the much talked about state budget as it relates to DCYF. For the most part the budget process is looking good for us.

Joe reminded members that the DCYF Conference is May 15 and 16. If folks hadn't already register he reminded them that they need to. It was commented that this year's agenda looked very nice.

Joe has been assigned a new project that involves looking at staffing patterns, recruitment, etc. We have been given a consultant through free time from Governor and Joe would live very much if a member of the DCYF Advisory Board would serve on the Task Force. Currently Joe feels this Task Force would include the following disciplines: a member from the State Employees Association (SEA), Program Managers from the District Offices, and a member of the DCYF Advisory Board. He has been given a three month deadline.   

It was planned that Margaret Copeland the Administrator for the Child Development Bureau should come and present to Board members her Bureau and outline what they It was agreed that September would be a good month.

Sally Varney - CFSR presentation. A packet has been included in your minutes.

 May 21, 2003
 9:00-12:00 P.M.

PRESENT: Sharon Dalton    Donna McAdam    Sandra McGonagle    Donna Raycraft    Debra Valentine    Susan Lynch    Bruce Boley    Laura Jawitz    Susan Carmen    Joe Arcidiacono    Gayleen Smith    Nancy Rollins

Guest: Ron Lospenato

The meeting was called to order. Introductions were made on behalf of invited guests. Sandy apologized for not being able to attend the last month's meeting.

DCYF Update: Nancy

Budget process is currently in the Senate. As of today the 45 positions are still in the budget. There is no rate increase or decrease for providers. We do not know where we will end up. The Child and Family Services Review (CFRS) is scheduled for the first week of June and that is pretty much taking up most of our time these days. Sue Carmen wanted Board members to know that the DCYF Annual Conference was wonderful. She felt it was the best one they have ever seen. It was great feedback and Nancy will pass that on to the Staff Development Unit.

Staffing Study - we are still waiting for the federal consultant to be named. Joe disseminated copies of a show taped at a local Londonderry Cable Company for Board Members.

Eric L. - Ron Lospenato

Ron Lospenato is from the Disability Rights Center which is a federally funded program that protect the rights of persons with disabilities. Ron has been there since 1999. They are extensively involved in special education issues.

Eric L. - Class action settlement agreement 1997, it has been in place for 5 years and was currently extended for issues of compliance. The Disabilities Rights Center (DRC) has 11 lawyers. DRC also has an intake unit with 2 lawyers and a case advocate. This unit will soon have 3 additional lawyers. There are 6 lawyers that handle open cases. Settlement - requires two things to happen, DCYF will monitor agreement. [Previously redacted from Paula Werme copy:

The Panel felt that an internal monitor was not sufficient due to internal pressure.]

Areas of Complaint:

    1. Assessment - Identifying whether or not there is abuse.
    2. Adoption - Bringing children into permanent living conditions.
    3. Delivery of Medical Care - Children placed in Foster Homes without follow up to adequate care.
    4. Family Service - Reunification - Appropriate services that are necessary to ensure reunification.
    5. Foster Parent Recruitment and Retention - Children moving from place to place due to lack of retaining foster parents.   
    6. Identification of Parents - 2 parent, 1 not involved in abuse and neglect - not using the 2nd parent as placement, not making an attempt to locate the 2nd.
    7. Permanency Planning - Limbo status - moving from Foster Home to Foster Home .
    8. Provider Accountability - ensuring the service that children need was being provided in a quality manner.
    9. Teen Independent Living Program --day that DCYF is no longer involved.   This is key to the settlement agreement.
    10. Voluntary Services - No court order
    11. Worker Supervision Training - Needs to be better supervision and training of
    workers who work with children.

All these were design d to address issues in the initial compliance.

Monitor's Responsibility - To ensure outlined issues would be met.

An oversight panel was formed - 1 representative DHHS, 1 representative of the plaintiff's, 1 representative from the federal government. The Monitor reports DCYF's compliance to the oversight panel. The panel then reports to both Plaintiff's and DCYF as to whether the agreement was being met.

Ron's view - A large part of non-compliance is the lack of adequate staff to deal with issues that DCYF is charged with. This continues to playa major role in noncompliance.

Bridges System - was suppose to have been able to provide better support and reports, but hasn't been able to. [Paragraph (2 lines) previously redacted from minutes provided Paula Werme -

Unless staffing comes up to where it need to be the non-compliance will continue to exist]

Agreement was originally for 5 years. It has been extended by mutual agreement. We entered into mediation and come close to settling, however, no obligation was met to hire 62 new staff. The ability to hire was hampered by the Legislature.

Material previously redacted from Paula Werme copy of minutes:

As a result of inability to hire, the agreement fell apart, so we are at litigation now
to enforce the settlement agreement.  Areas of concern:

     Assessment issues - too many, they take to long and the quality of the assessment
     is not up to par.

     Teen Independent Living Program - Children aging out of the program are not
     provided with adequate tools to allow them to transition from DCYF custody
     to live on their own.

     Delivery of Medical Care - 6/02 - 12/01 - health exams were provided within 30
     days to only 58% of the cases.  Health care meetings on children in care took
     place only 51% of the time.

     Family Services - Substantial non-compliance.  Data to support this has been
     lacking.  Generally we do not have data to show whether we are in compliance
     or not.

     Permanency Planning - reducing the likelihood of multiple placements.

     There are a number of areas where DCYF has made substantial progress, but
     the above mentioned are the areas where they do not meet compliance and
     enough progress has not been met.  The State was ordered to provide adequate
     staff and DCYF has been ordered to bring the data system up to par.

     Time Frame - Motions are before the court.  We could get a decision any day on
     how to proceed with the case.  No way with the Court can we possibly know.
     We hope to receive a roadmap soon as to how to proceed.  However, this
     litigation mostly focuses on lack of staff and better data supports.

End of previously redacted materials.]

Board members felt we should invite Rep. Neal Kurk and Sen. Green to a future meeting.

June 18th - regular meeting
July 16th - Nick Vailas to be invited. August 20th - no meeting
September 17th - alternate month for Nick October - Retreat

Sandy will call Neal Kurk to invite him.

JUNE 18 2003
 ROOM 232
9:00 - 12:00 P.M.

PRESENT: Sandy McGongle    Margaret Reiser    Cheryl Molloy    Marilyn Lynch     Donna Raycroft    Joe Arcidiacono    Gayleen Smith    Sharon Dalton


Board Issues:

Nick Vaillas, DHHS Commissioner will be coming to the September 17th meeting, he will be here at 9:00 am. Board members are advised to come around 8:45 a.m. to ensure that all members are present when Nick arrives. Sandy hasn't been able to reach Neal Kirk, the Chair of the Finance Committee, but if possible she will be inviting him to the September 17th meeting as well.


Right now we are planning; our Retreat for October 15th - we will try to make contact with Peggy Kieshnick to see if she is available to facilitate the retreat

There was much discussion about Board membership and vacancies. Members were disappointed that it is taking so long to fill vacancies. Unfortunately, the Governor's Office hasn't really had time to focus on much other than the Budget. It was mentioned that perhaps Byry could look at existing By-Laws and Statute to see if maybe the nomination process could be brought down to the Commissioner's level.

DCYF Update - Joe Arcidiancono

The House and Senate are trying to come to some agreement on the budget however we could be looking at the probability of continuing resolution. However, the Governor has suggested that if the budget is not close to the House's original budget he will veto. If that happens we could be faced with a huge problem. In either side of the budget the Division fairs pretty well. Everyone has agreed that we would get 43 new positions. There is a call for a $1.9 general fund reduction which the Department feels it can accommodate. The Blanket Waiver continues for our direct care staff and speculation is that the hiring freeze will be lifted on July 1 st however another one probably will be imposed.

The Kassidy Bortner Bill passed - this means we have to come up with a plan to meet the Council for Accreditation's (COA) requirements. The plan is due in January.

The Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) went well in that there were no surprises.   Their final report is due in 30 days. When the report comes back presentations will be made. We will need to begin the Program Improvement Plan (PIP). Donna Raycroft who served on the review team said it was a unique and intense experience, but felt she learned a lot.  Bernie is looking into DCYF having a closer relationship with the Citizen's Review Panel.
The Citizen's Review Panel is related to the CAPTA grant which has a mandate that in order to receive certain funds you must have a Review Panel. They have currently been on board for four years and have been spending time learning the process and learning policy and practice. The Panel itself votes and selects new members. Currently Bob Jolley is the Chair of this Panel. So in an effort to connect the two Boards in terms of on-going relationship, Donna Raycroft will be going to this meeting this afternoon to represent this Board.

Bernie was on a conference call yesterday re: increased allotments to the states. Three agendas are:

    1. healthy marriages initiatives
    2. healthy father/children relationship, when father is removed from the family.
    3. faith-based initiatives
These three are driven by federal initiatives.

Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 am.

September 17, 2003
9:00-12:00 Room 232


Nancy Rollins    Bruce Boley     Joe Arcidiacono    Susan Lynch    Donna Raycroft    Susan   Larmere   Marilyn Lynch    Sandy McGonagle    Sharon Dalton    Donna McAdam    Bernie Bluhm

Board Issues

Commissioner Vailas has resigned so he was not available to attend this meeting. It looks like they will recommend John Stephen today and vote to accept at Governor and Council (G&C) in three weeks for final approval. Bruce asked what the qualifications to become the Commissioner and it's unclear exactly what those might be.

Introductions were made for the benefit of all in attendance.

DCYF Update: Nancy

Budget passed; DCYF is level funded except residential care line - educational facilities were cut by $2 million. We received 43 additional positions, 41 of which are field positions. There is one state office position - Auditor. The intent of new positions is to bring child protective services workers more in line with caseloads. Permanency is critical so we will have a permanency worker in every district office. Depending on the number of cases depends on the number of workers for each DO. Some of our family service workers will shift to adolescent family workers. Hopefully all this will come together soon. We did not receive any additional attorneys and we have four vacant attorney positions along with three vacant district office supervisor positions along with two positions at state office. We hope the new Commissioner will help to get some of these positions waived.


The review was completed in June. The draft report was received; comments were made and we believe they have been verbally accepted and hope to have a complete and final report in the next two weeks. We hope to have the public presentation sometime in October. There really were no surprises. They were impressed with our SDM. We are reviewing our efforts as our Program Improvement Plan (PIP) is due in 90 days. Our Bureau of Quality Improvement has begun their renewal process for case reviews in the district offices. We hope to involve Board members in the case review process that begins again in June.

8 new Adoption (Permanency Workers) will be moved to the DO's (supervision). Senate Bill 86 passed; Kassidy Bortner; dealing with child fatalities and includes a plan from us that will go before the the fiscal committee that includes what it will take for us to become accredited. We need to be able to answer how this will this ensure quality outcomes for kids in our care.

Governor appointed Governor Commission on Child Protection. Brad Russ, Chair
Judge Taube
Kelly Ayotte
Ann Lamey
Glenda Kaufman-Cantor
Jim Reams
DHHS Commissioner
Nancy Rollins

They will be looking at things from a systemic viewpoint. There is a four hour meeting tomorrow that includes an Ohio Representative who will assist with focus groups. The idea is to get more child advocacy groups in New Hampshire. The Commission must have something to the Governor by December 31 st. They have a lot to do in short period of time.

Structered [sic] Decision Making

SDM needs to be revisited and it needs to be rolled out in our family service program. A great job was done with Intake and Assessment, but not necessarily in Family Services.

Other News

There will be a reorganization of some kind throughout DHHS; seems everyone should have a job. As for our staff, Nancy told workers (supervisors) that no matter what is happening the work doesn't go away and we need to keep up business as usual.

Sandy asked how this group can help in any of these processes. Nancy suggested that they could hear the presentation of CFSR report and then the PIP. If the final report is available prior to the retreat Nancy will see that it is disseminated. The CFSR and the Review process should be tied into the Board's retreat.

The Board should also focus on trying to meet with key people; Governor & Council and legislative folks.


October 15,2002 - 9:00 a.m. - 1 :00 p.m. Working lunch

Part of the retreat will be to work on establishing structure and recruitment for both Child Welfare group and Citizen's Review Panel.

Safe and Stable Families - Bernie

Dissemination of updates: safe and stable families. Donna asked what parts of the binder could they pull out to bring to the Retreat.
1) Permanency Plus
2) Comprehensive Family Support
3) Project: First Step
1) Foster Care Health Care


For Chair - Donna Raycroft Secretary - Donna McAdam Vice-Chair - no nominees


Laura Jawltz resigned   
               Carroll County    (1)
               Hillsborough        (2)    except Susan
               Sullivan        (2)
               Cheshire        (2)
               Coos            (1)



Donna Raycroft   Sue Carmen    Sharon Dalton    Bruce Boley     Joe Arcidiacono    Bernie Bluhm    Sandy McGonagle    Marilyn Lynch    Donna McAdam    Susan Lynch    Nancy Rollins    Gayleen Smith

Excused members: Cheryl Molloy Margaret Reiser

The next meeting is January 21,2004 and Jack Lightfoot has been invited to speak. We will be inviting Commissioner John Stephen to our meeting in February.

DCYF Update - Nancy Rollins

The Commissioner will go before the Fiscal Committee with the Department's budget cuts.   The implications for DCYF ---, for children referred to counseling through Medicaid, there will be a 12 session cap. If more sessions are needed it's paid through general funds. We had to give up something and we felt this was the least critical.

Layoffs are not part of the package at this point however through the restructuring process, functions could be combined, eliminated but hopefully folks could be reassigned.

We have sought waivers for attorney's - right now the plan is for a couple of Assistant Attorney General's will be shadowing our attorneys to see exactly what they do and to assess what the need is.

Child Welfare Committee - Bernie Bluhm

The Child Welfare Committee has 12 members. They are looking to reach 15 in membership.  They will be targeting child care and behavioral health.
Consumer representation is something this group seeks. They would like someone who has been through the system. Perhaps an adoptive parent of foster parent.

Sue Carmen has agreed to temporarily chair these meetings for the first three meetings. This group will work with the 5 year plan. Their main responsibility will be to respond to the DCYF Advisory Board. They will put together a gathering of information from the local community and bring to the Board to bring to Nancy.

For the next two months these meeting will be directly after the DCYF Advisory Board on the 3rd Wednesday of every month.

Case reviews will be beginning in the district offices with the new year. Bernie will issue an invitation to members of this Board for the case review that is coming up in their area.

Bernie disseminated a draft MOD that he is hoping to have signed on 11/19/03 between the Citizen's Review Panel and the DCYF Advisory Board.

At future DCYF Advisory Board meetings it was agreed that we should have an update from both the Child Welfare Committee and the Citizen's Review Panel.

On a motion from Donna McAdam, seconded by Susan Lynch and approved by all board members agreed that Donna Raycraft should sign this MOD on behalf of the board.

Child Care Presentation - Margaret Leitch Copeland

Margaret presented copies of the child development bureau's 2 year plan and once this plan is submitted to the federal government we receive 50% and the state matches to provide child care and preventative care to low income families. An average scholarship is $284 per month.

The annual celebration for child care is April 20, 2004 from 5- 7 p.m. at the Howard Rec Building. Board members agreed that they would like to have Margaret back every year to give them an update on child care.

Meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.

JANUARY 21, 2004
ROOM 232

PRESENT:    Donna Raycraft    Sue Carmen    Bruce Boley     Joe Arcidiacono     Gayleen Smith    Bernie Bluhm     Susan Lynch     David Coombs     Donna McAdam     Margaret Reiser     Judith Santy      Marilyn Lynch     Sharon Dalton

Sandy McGonagle - excused

Introductions were made for the benefit of new members.

Memorandum of Understanding - Child Welfare Committee needs two individuals from DCYF Advisory Board - Judith Santy would be one individual and the 2nd as chair of the Advisory Board will be Donna Raycraft. This group will meet about 5 times a year so the commitment would not be a huge amount of time. Responsibility includes participation in the 5-year plan for DCYF and participation in focal groups at your community level where you will gather information in report form to bring back to the whole committee. A much more thorough report will be available in March.

DCYF Update - Joe Arcidiacono

The Division received 43 new positions and of those 39 are filled. The Division currently has 27 vacancies.

Senate Bill 86 - requires the department to achieve accreditation. Richard Lutz has been working with us from Child Welfare League of America to determine what level the Division is at and exactly what we would need to achieve accreditation. A plan was due and given to the legislature February 1,2004. The Commissioner will need to review so he and Nancy along with Richard Lutz will be meeting to go over the plan.  

Major Title IV-E audit - we passed and are one of two states to pass.

The Department "is in the middle of a major restructure, while nothing is final at this point, DCYF falls into program operations where we will merge with DJJS. The Commissioner will be at the next meeting and he can explain more about this restructuring plan. Sue Carmen will draft a letter that will go out to members and given to the Commissioner before the next meeting.

Intake process - Sue Carmen disseminated two flow charts that demonstrated the intake process. With guidance from Bernie the process was explained. Mentionable is that we now have three levels of priority as opposed to the term "high risk", etc. Unfounded and founded was also explained in that just because it was unfounded does not mean there was abuse or neglect and founded doesn't always mean court involvement.

Legislation - Jack Lightfoot - Child and Family Services

Jack works with the legislature on children's issues. He came to talk about legislation for this year. The legislature told DHHS to cut 20% of its budget. We are here to ensure that the Division does what it is mandated to do. DCYF spends 30 or 40 million dollars of its budget on court ordered services. Some of this money comes from the federal government, some from counties and some from parental responsibility.

A new approach is being tried in that only a limited number of people of will be going to the legislature from DHHS to testify. This decision was made by the Commissioner's Office. Jack believes that this is part of a control issue.

Jack disseminated a list of legislation that relates to child protection issues. He thinks this is all that has been released or will be released. HB 755 - no longer pending has been ITL.   HB 1202 does away with insurance for courted ordered services - HB 1315 - today  committee was going to introduce an amendment to this bill.

HB 1393
- will make the appeal to superior court just like an appeal in a regular case instead of like a brand new trial.

HB 1410 - violates the federal requirements - committee was not at all receptive to this bill as of yesterday.

Michelle Rosenthal- Domestic Violence Coordinator

Comm. Shumway mandated that we have a responsibility to ensure that any individual who comes to DHHS will need the validation and response if they are being violated in anyway. A statewide process developed and implemented in November - the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed and written by DCYF and the Coalition of Domestic Violence. Responsibilities of each the DCYF offices and the Domestic Violence Program Specialist are clearly outlined in the MOD.

We have DVPS (Domestic Violence Program Specialists) located part-time in the District Office however they work for the Crisis Center.

The meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.

 FEBRUARY 18, 2004
9:00 - 12:00 PM
 ROOM 232


Sue Carmen    Judith Santy    Bruce Boley     Sharon Dalton    David Coombs    Sandra McGonagle   Bernie Bluhm    Nancy Rollins    Joe Arcidiacono    Gayleen Smith    Marilyn Lynch    Donna Raycraft

Susan Lynch    Margaret Reiser    Donna McAdam

DCYF Update - Nancy Rollins

Nancy began by apologizing for the Commissioner's absence. She asked if all had received the COA report. Sue Carmen mentioned that it was wonderfully written. Nancy voiced that it is not on G&C agenda yet but we hope it will be soon.

The department is still in the middle of restructuring. It is apparent that DCYF and DJJS will merge at some point. Nancy is not sure what it will all look like but she will keep Board members posted.

There was a management meeting this week around budget issues as they relate to the deficit in our Settlement account. However, with strategic plans in place to reduce this spending and through the inability to fill our positions we hope to slow down the deficit spending.

The federal Title IV-E fiscal audit was passed. We are the second in the nation to pass this audit. This means we pay real close attention to our federal mandates and policy.

Sue Carmen asked if there was a replacement yet for Kathy Sgambati. Nancy responded no. Bruce asked why the restructure - is it because the Commissioner wants to bring in his own people, because he wants to reduce administration etc? Nancy responded that it's a combination of all it. The Commissioner wants to increase efficiencies, reduce duplication, etc.

Sue Carmen asked Nancy for comments on the letter the Board drafted to the Commissioner. Nancy believes a response is on its way.  The Commissioner is working with the Attorney General's Office to see what can be done with regard to Attorney vacancies. Sue asked if Nancy feels these kinds of letter are productive. Nancy suggested that the Board meet with the Commissioner in person first. Sharon asked if there is a way that this group could be so annoying that it would make him try to disband this group.  Nancy responded that he looks to  work with the community in a partnership manner. She suggested that this Board reach out to him in this partnership manner.

Sandy suggested that between now and the March meeting the Board should send a memo/letter to the Commissioner about what our issues are. Nancy suggested that if the Board does do this 1 maybe send it in the form of an introduction letter.

Joe mentioned that he had videotapes to be given to Board members of a cable TV show Nancy did. We will mail the others out. Update on the Web Billing - two finalists have been narrowed down. This will make it easier for anyone who runs a child care center to bill through the Internet.

Division vacancies - we still have 25 vacancies out of 366 authorized positions. We are moving forward. We have 4 field attorney vacancies. Again, Nancy believes the Attorney General's Office is key to help us in this area.

Donna asked about the morale of the field - Nancy has told staff over and over that no matter what is happening at State Office - we have a job to do and it's business as usual.

Safe and Stable Families - Bernie

This grant under Title IV-B is a grant that NH and other child welfare agencies receive with initiatives like secondary prevention, through child protection, foster care, family reunification, adoption, recruitment and training into teen independent living. Our five-year plan ends this July 30th and another one is due that will take us to 2009. We need to incorporate as much information from outside stakeholder membership as possible.

Board Vacancies - Donna Raycraft

Sandy will make contact with Ray Burton.
Sharon will bring in resume of someone to replace her.
Judith Santy will mention at her next SW meeting.
Sue will be in contact with Judge Y.
Bernie will be in touch with Gina Apicelli who lives in Plymouth.

Board Issues

Sue Carmen - focus group in Nashua - Case Practice Review - Sue walked away from 3 hour meeting feeling really great. Large number of positive comments for DCYF along with such a positive attitude towards DCYF in general. Community participation piece is coming though it may be slow at least it's moving. Sue thought the whole process was amazing.

Judith Santy had a great experience with a team meeting with the folks in the Littleton District Office. They went in thinking that maybe only 2 or 3 staff members would be there and the whole team was there. It was a great collaborative effort.

It was agreed that a letter of introduction from Sandy to Commissioner with a bit of history on the Board would be sent.

Sharon - family that was investigated by DCYF and actually daughter was at father's house.  Mom was petrified that DCYF was coming to her house - spent the weekend organizing the house - DCYF finally came - Mom had a great experience - worker went out talked with Mom involved Mom in the whole discussion, asked Mom questions about how to best talk with teenage daughter - bottom line was it was not Mom being investigated. This was a good interaction with DCYF.

Next meeting is March 17th.

Last updated 2004 May 8.