WHAT IS NH BRIDGES?
NH BRIDGES is a powerful, Client-Server application developed for the State of NH to automate most aspects of child welfare and juvenile justice case workflow. The system was developed using the latest state-of-the-art development tools and is based on a Local Area Network with a shared relational database. NH BRIDGES is not a replacement for every system dealing with Child Welfare/Juvenile Justice. The application will maintain interfaces to other DHHS, state, and federal automated systems to share information collected within those systems and NH BRIDGES.
NH BRIDGES features include:
Using BRIDGES, you can:
These materials contain several parts:
Upon completion of your NH BRIDGES training class, you should be able to:
This class is designed for DCYF, OES, and OMS staff who have a basic knowledge of Windows 95 and Microsoft Office applications.
The intake unit receives a call from a school guidance counselor who alleges that a 6 year old girl, Mary Macarena, has disclosed sexual abuse by her mother's boyfriend who is a household member. The intake worker (Ferris Wheeler) searches the NH BRIDGES database for prior reports, documents the referral, recommends "high risk" priority, and forwards the recommendation to the Intake supervisor for approval. The Intake supervisor (Claire Voyant) reviews the referral, concurs with the recommendation, and transfers the referral to the Manchester district office assessment unit for assessment.
Ben N. Jerry, our Manchester Assessment Unit supervisor, receives and reviews the referral, designates the assessment risk "severe", and assigns it to an assessment worker (Rob Banks). The assessment worker contacts the local law enforcement agency to arrange for joint participation in the assessment/interview process. A collateral contact is made with the family's private therapist. The school is informed that the worker and police officer will be arriving to conduct an interview of the girl.
The assessment worker and officer interview the victim, Mary Macarena, at the school. The victim confirms the allegations and expresses fear of returning home. The worker and officer also speak with the child's guidance counselor, Polly Purebread. While the child remains at the school, the worker and officer interview the mother during her lunch hour. The mother denies the abuse and refuses to consider having the perpetrator leave her home. She is visibly angry at her daughter for instigating the assessment into the family's private affairs. The assessment worker and officer determine that imminent danger exists and that the child cannot return to her mother's home. The officer takes the child into protective custody.
While Rob Banks is involved with the removal, his supervisor searches the resource data base to identify an available foster home. The supervisor contacts the foster home and arranges the placement. The worker places the child in the foster home.
The Manchester district Court is notified of the child's removal and schedules an "ex-parte" hearing for the following day. Rob Banks and the officer draft two petitions, alleging neglect on the mother's part; Ronnie Rotten, the mother's boyfriend, is served with a petition alleging sexual abuse.
At the ex-parte hearing, the judge finds reasonable cause to believe that the child is abused and neglected. The judge orders protective supervision of the child by DCYF with continued placement in the foster home. The judge also orders DCYF to arrange and pay for a complete physical exam for the child to determine if there is evidence of sexual abuse. A guardian ad litem is appointed. An adjudicatory hearing is scheduled. The judge orders visits between the child and mother.
Later, the adjudicatory hearing is held and the Court finds the evidence substantiates the petitions. The Court orders the child be placed in the legal custody of DCYF, remain in foster care, and orders a complete dispositional social study of the family. The ongoing worker is notified that a relative of the mother has indicated an interest in being a placement resource for this child. The worker completes the dispositional social study, case plan and a social study of the relative being considered as a placement resource. The worker files with the Court the dispositional study and a summary of the costs for the placement and services being recommended, along with a recommendation that the child be placed with the interested relative. The worker is informed by school personnel that the child is coded as having a mild learning disability.
The assessment worker arranges for the complete physical exam of the child. The contact details are documented and the physical exam is authorized for payment. After three weeks, the child is moved from the foster home and placed with the maternal aunt. The authorization for foster care is terminated and a new authorization for relative care is initiated.
The worker continues to visit the child in care, monitoring the progress of the child, at home, in school and in counseling. The worker also maintains contacts with the mother who consistently states that she is complying with all the courts orders. However, the worker is notified by the mother's therapist that she has discontinued counseling and the mother has told the therapist that she plans to abandon the child and move out of state with her boyfriend who is fleeing the state to escape prosecution. The worker notifies law enforcement about the boyfriend's possible intent to flee. By the time there is a response, the boyfriend and the mother have left their homes The mother's actions are documented and the authorization for counseling is terminated.
Within six months of the placement, this case is scheduled for an administrative case review. The appropriate individuals, including the mother who remains out of state, are sent notice of the date and time of the review. The progress of the case plan is updated. It is noted that the child and her aunt have developed a close relationship and the child is progressing very well. The case review is held as scheduled. The mother does not attend nor does she ever make contact to indicate what her intentions are regarding her relationship with her child. The child's maternal aunt attends the review along with the child's guardian ad litem. The review is documented by the reviewer. It is noted that the mother seems to have little interest in the child.
In addition to the administrative case plan review, the Court has also scheduled a review within six months of the dispositional hearing. A Court report is submitted two weeks prior to the hearing, detailing the progress the child has made in placement with her aunt and her progress in school and counseling. The hearing is held as scheduled and the judge continues the previous orders noting that, at the yearly Court review, the case plan goal may need to reflect a different permanent plan should the mother continue to disregard the case plan and orders of the Court.
This case continues for a period of one and a half years with the child remaining in counseling and in placement with the maternal aunt. The mother is contacted several times by the worker to attempt to determine her intentions relative to her daughter's future. Only one response is received which indicates that she cannot return to this state because her new husband, the person who molested her daughter, would be arrested as a fugitive from justice. As result she would prefer that the child remain with her aunt until she is old enough to decide that she prefers to live with her mother, at which time she will make arrangements for her to join them. The worker responds indicating that a permanent plan needs to be made for the child. The mother is informed that the agency will be recommending that the mother's rights be terminated because she has failed to comply with any of the case plan and Court orders, has essentially abandoned the child and has refused to recognize that her husband sexually abused her daughter.
When the yearly Court review is scheduled a new case plan is developed with recommendations that the permanent plan be changed to reflect that adoption should be the long range goal. The plan is submitted to the supervisor for approval and is approved. At the scheduled Court hearing, the new case plan is approved and the judge orders that DCYF proceed with plans for terminating the parental rights of the mother. The courts orders are documented and the Worker begins the process of gathering the information necessary for terminating the parental rights of the mother. The Worker completes the TPR reports and submits them to the Director for approval. The Director approves the reports which approval is documented by the Worker. The Worker files a petition with the Probate Court requesting termination of parental rights on the basis of failure to correct the conditions leading to placement and abandonment.
A hearing is scheduled to determine whether grounds to believe the failure to correct and abandonment conditions exist. All parties are sent notice of the hearing date and time. The hearing is held and the judge finds that grounds do exist for the termination of parental rights. However, the judge continues the hearing requesting that the mother be notified of the impending decree of termination to provide her with one final opportunity to respond or contest the termination. The results of the hearing are documented as well as the date of the continued hearing. As directed, the mother is sent notice by certified mail.
After the initial probate hearing the Worker is informed by the maternal aunt that the aunt has been diagnosed with a degenerative disease that will eventually make it impossible for her to continue to care for the child. Because of this, it will be necessary to find another resource to adopt this child. The Adoption Unit of DCYF is notified that a relative adoption will not be possible for this child and that once the termination is completed, the case will be requested to be transferred to that unit.
The scheduled termination hearing is held and, since the mother has never responded or made provisions to contest the termination, the judge orders the parental rights terminated and grants guardianship of the child to DCYF. The worker records the courts order and termination.
The on-going worker's supervisor (Ken U. DeWitt) transfers the case to the Adoption Unit. The supervisor of the Adoption Unit (Anita Kidd) reviews the record and assigns it to an adoption worker (Rocky Beach) to manage and to begin the necessary work to locate an adoptive family for this child. Following this, the record is restricted by using the restrict function, thus making it unavailable for anyone other than the worker or supervisor to view and update.
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