Paula Werme's
DCYF information
New Hampshire Revised Statutes
[unofficial excerpts]
State DCYF


Note to people who came here via a search engine: You are not at New Hampshire's RSA web site (follow the link above if you wish to be there). This folder has excerpts from a chapter of the NH RSAs that have some relevance to understanding and working with the state's Division of Children, Youth, and Families. These pages collect several sections into one page that is easier to navigate than the state's pages.


Chapter 169-D: Children in Need of Services

169-D:1 Applicability of Chapter; Purpose.
This chapter shall apply to children in need of services as hereinafter defined and shall be construed and administered in accordance with the following purposes and policies:
    I. To recognize that certain behaviors occurring within a family or school environment indicate that a child is experiencing serious difficulties and is in need of services and corrective action in order to protect the child from the irreversibility of certain choices, and to protect the integrity of the family and the authority it must maintain in order to fulfill its responsibilities to raise the next generation. To further provide the child with the treatment, care, guidance, counseling, discipline, supervision, and rehabilitation necessary to assist him in becoming a responsible and productive member of society;
    II. To recognize that we must no longer bring the weight of family problems down on the child alone but that parents must be made aware of their contribution to the problem and must account for their role in the solution of the problem, and must accept the responsibility to participate in any program of care ordered by the court in order to assure that the outcome may have a good probability of success while, at the same time, supporting families in their mission to teach values to youth and to exercise reasonable control of their children;
    III. To keep a child, whenever possible, in contact with his home community and in a family environment by preserving and strengthening the unity of the family and separating the child from his parents only when it is clearly necessary for his welfare or the interests of public safety, and when it can be clearly shown that a change in custody and control will benefit the child;
    IV. To provide effective judicial procedures through which the provisions of this chapter are executed and enforced, and which assure the parties fair hearings at which their constitutional and other rights as citizens are recognized and protected; and
    V. To achieve the foregoing purposes and policies by providing each child coming within the provisions of this chapter with a program of care, treatment, guidance, counseling, discipline, supervision, and rehabilitative resources which the child needs.

Source. 1979, 361:2. 1990, 201:6. 1999, 266:1, 2, eff. Sept. 10, 1999.

169-D:3 Jurisdiction.

    I. The court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over all proceedings alleging a child is in need of services.
    II. The court may, with the consent of the child, retain jurisdiction over any child who, prior to his eighteenth birthday, was found to be a child in need of services, and who is attending school for the purpose of obtaining a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma. The court shall make orders relative to the support and maintenance of the child during the period after the child's eighteenth birthday as justice may require.
    III. The court shall close the case when the child reaches age 18, or if jurisdiction is retained, when the child ceases to be enrolled as a full-time student during sessions of the school, or graduates from such school, or upon reaching the age of 21, whichever shall first occur.

Source. 1979, 361:2; 1992, 11:2, eff. July 1, 1992.

169-D:4-a Filing Reports, Evaluations, and Other Records.
All reports, evaluations and other records from the department of health and human services, counselors, and guardians ad litem in proceedings under this chapter shall be filed with the court and all other parties at least 5 days prior to any hearing. Once filed with the court and given to all other parties, the report, evaluation or other record need not be refiled during the proceeding. Failure to comply with the provisions of this section shall not be grounds for dismissal of the petition.

Source. 1991, 57:3. 1994, 212:2. 1995, 310:181, eff. Nov. 1, 1995.

169-D:5-a Notice of Petition to Department of Health and Human Services.
The court shall serve the department of health and human services with a copy of any petition filed under RSA 169-D:5 and the department shall have legal standing at and receive notice of all proceedings under this chapter from the time of said service.

Source. 1995, 308:76; 310:175, 181, eff. Nov. 1, 1995.

169-D:5-b Consent Order.

    I. At any time after the filing of the petition and prior to an order of adjudication pursuant to RSA 169-D:14, the court may suspend the proceedings upon its own motion or upon the motion of any party, and continue the case under terms and conditions established by the parties and approved by the court.
    II. A consent order shall not be approved unless the department consents and the child and parents, guardian, or custodian are informed of the consequences of the order by the court and the court determines that the child and parents voluntarily and intelligently consent to the terms and conditions of the order.

Source. 1995, 308:76; 310:175, eff. Nov. 1, 1995.

169-D:6 Issuance of Summons and Notice.

    I. After a legally sufficient petition has been filed, the court shall, unless the case is referred to diversion or a consent order is entered and approved, schedule an initial appearance, and issue a summons including a copy of the petition, to be served personally upon the person having custody or control of the child or with whom the child may be, requiring that person to appear with the child on the specified date and time. If personal service is not possible, service shall occur at the usual place of abode of the person having custody or control of the child or with whom the child may be, requiring that person to appear with the child at a specified place and time which time shall not be less than 24 hours after service. If the person so notified is not the parent or guardian of the child, then a parent or guardian shall be notified, provided they and their residence are known, or if there is neither parent nor guardian, or their residence is not known, then some relative, if there be one and the residence is known.
    II. A copy of the petition shall be attached to each summons or incorporated therein.
    III. The summons shall state as follows: "Parents and other individuals chargeable by law for the child's support and necessities may be liable for expenses incurred in this proceeding including the costs of certain evaluations and placements. RSA 186-C regarding educationally disabled children grants children and their parents certain rights to services from school districts at public expense and to appeal school district decisions regarding services to be provided.''

Source. 1979, 361:2. 1983, 458:9. 1990, 140:2, X. 1995, 308:77. 1999, 199:1; 266:5, eff. Sept. 10, 1999.

169-D:7 Failure to Appear; Warrant.

    I. Any person summoned who, without reasonable cause, fails to appear with the child, may be proceeded against as in case of contempt of court.
    II. If a summons cannot be served or the party served fails to obey the same, and in any case where it appears to the court that such summons will be ineffectual, a warrant may be issued for the child's appearance or for the appearance of anyone having custody or control of the child or for both.

Source. 1979, 361:2, eff. Aug. 22, 1979.

169-D:8 Temporary Custody.
A child may be taken into temporary custody:
    I. Pursuant to a court order; or
    II. By a police officer or juvenile probation and parole officer when there are reasonable grounds to believe that a child has run away from his parents, guardian, or other custodian; or the circumstances are such as to endanger the child's health or welfare unless immediate action is taken.

Source. 1979, 361:2. 1987, 402:12. 2000, 294:9, eff. July 1, 2000.

169-D:9 Diversion.

    I. At any time before or during a proceeding brought pursuant to this chapter, a child and the child's family may be referred to a court-approved diversion program or other community resource. Referral may be made by a law enforcement agency or juvenile probation and parole officer prior to or after filing a petition with the court, upon the court's own motion, or at the request of any party with the approval of the court. The administrative judge of the district court shall have authority to approve diversion procedures for use by the courts in all juvenile matters throughout the state.
    II. Referral after filing is appropriate if:
       (a) The facts bring the case within the jurisdiction of the court.
       (b) Referral of the case is in the best interest of the public and the child.
       (c) The child and parent, guardian or other custodian consent with the knowledge that consent is not obligatory.
    III. Referral after filing shall stay the proceedings for a period not to exceed 3 months from the date of referral, unless extended by the court for an additional period not to exceed 3 months and does not authorize the detention of the child, and the court may, on its own motion or that of any party, designate or utilize a multi-disciplinary team to consider the facts and circumstances of the case, the needs of the child and family, and available services and resources.
    IV. During the period of referral, the court may require further conditions of conduct on the part of the child and the child's parents.

Source. 1979, 361:2. 1999, 266:6. 2000, 294:9, eff. July 1, 2000.

169-D:25 Case and Court Records.

    I. All case records, defined in RSA 170-G:8-a, relative to children in need of services, shall be confidential and access shall be provided pursuant to RSA 170-G:8-a.
    II. The court records of proceedings under this chapter shall be kept in books and files separate from all other court records. Such records shall be withheld from public inspection but shall be open to inspection by juvenile probation and parole officers, a parent, a guardian, a custodian, the relevant county, the minor's attorney and others entrusted with the supervision of the child. Additional access to court records may be granted by court order or upon the written consent of the minor. Once a child in need of services reaches 18 years of age, all court and police records shall be destroyed.

Source. 1979, 361:2. 1987, 402:14. 1993, 266:5; 355:6. 2000, 294:10, eff. July 1, 2000.

169-D:26 Penalty for Disclosure of Records.
It shall be unlawful for any person to disclose court records, or any part thereof, to persons other than those entitled to access under RSA 169-D:25, except by court order. Any person who knowingly violates this provision shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Source. 1979, 361:2. 1993, 355:7, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

169-D:27 Publication Restricted.
It shall be unlawful for any newspaper to publish, or any radio or television station to broadcast or make public the name or address or any other particular information serving to identify any child taken into custody, without the express permission of the court; and it shall be unlawful for any newspaper to publish, or any radio or television station to make public, any of the proceedings of any court hearing.

Source. 1979, 361:2, eff. Aug. 22, 1979.

169-D:28 Penalty for Forbidden Publication.
The publisher of any newspaper or the manager, owner or person in control of a radio or television station or agent or employee of any of the above who may violate any provision of RSA 169-D:27 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Source. 1979, 361:2, eff. Aug. 22, 1979.