CONCORD - Governor Chris Sununu on Tuesday defended his administration's handling of teenagers in state care after several groups including ACLU-NH joined in a class action lawsuit.
"This lawsuit is led by Children's Rights Incorporated - a special interest group, backed by Wall Street law firms, which preys on child protection programs across the country." Gov. Sununu said in a statement. "While some states have issues they need to address, here in New Hampshire we have made more progressive reforms to our state's child welfare system than any administration in history."
He lashed out specifically at ACLU-NH and New Hampshire Legal Assistance, "who know of all the great reforms we have made."
"This New York based entity (Children's Rights Incorporated) doesn't care about our kids," the statement read. "They are looking for attention for themselves, and their legal maneuverings will bring our progressive reforms to a grinding halt. Shame on every single person associated with this effort."
The lawsuit claims older youth in DCYF custody are often denied placement in less restrictive foster homes and denies older youth legal representation when placing them in group care.
In a statement defending him against such claims Sununu points out:
A record 268 children were adopted from DCYF Care in SFY19.
The number of children entering out-of-home care is down after doubling between 2015 and 2018.
The length of time children remain in foster care pending Adoption has decreased over the past 5 years.
Created the Granite State Adoption Exchange in 2018 to assist with identifying homes for children legally free for adoption: http://www.Adoptnh.org.
As of April 2020, Adoption Stipends are now available to assist parents who adopt older youth through the age of 21.
In February 2019, DCYF and partners were, for the first time in NH, awarded HUD Family Unification Program and Fostering Youth to Independence housing vouchers used to provide housing families whose children at risk of entering foster care due to housing instability and for youth aging out of care.