CONCORD — The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families. The grant will go toward programs and services designed to strengthen young families, including those at highest risk for child maltreatment. The award for the first year is for $550,000; the State expects to receive a total of $2.75 million over five years.
The grant will fund the Community Collaborations to Strengthen and Preserve Families project, which will be co-led by the Division for Children, Youth and Families and the Division of Public Health Services. The project will focus on families with children from birth through age eight by strengthening their connections to their communities and ensuring they receive the help they need to safely care for their children. The funding will help establish an integrated continuum of family support, with community-based services such as mental health and substance misuse treatment, home visiting, and educational programs, to prevent child abuse and neglect and ultimately reduce the number of children entering foster care.
The project will focus on Manchester and the Winnipesaukee Public Health Region, which includes Laconia, Belmont, Franklin and Tilton. The Division of Public Health Services will create multi-agency Community Implementation Teams in these communities, which were chosen based on socioeconomic status, household composition/disability, minority status/language, rates of opioid and other substance misuse, risk factors and rates of child maltreatment, and housing/transportation factors.
“We are extremely grateful to the Administration for Children and Families for this funding opportunity,” said Division of Public Health Services Commissioner Jeffrey A. Meyers. “Our goal is to ensure that our programs and services work together to secure better outcomes for our families. Taking a public health approach – identifying risk factors and focusing on prevention efforts – aligns well with our ongoing work in transforming New Hampshire’s child welfare system. This funding will allow us to provide critical services for families and strengthen our efforts to stop child maltreatment before it starts.”
The grant funding is in addition to the $500,000 approved in June by the legislature under SB592, which provides funding for Parental Assistance Programs. New Hampshire’s application included funding for evaluation services by the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability and the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy. New Hampshire was one of four awards presented nationally, and the grant is one of the first issued by the Administration for Children and Families to take a public health approach to child welfare.
“I made a commitment to the people of New Hampshire to put the health and well-being of New Hampshire’s children first,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “Part of that commitment is working with our community partners in taking innovative approaches towards rebuilding our child welfare system. These funds will go a long way in ensuring positive outcomes for our state’s children and their families."