New Hampshire scores an F

Last modified: 5/20/2012 12:00:00 AM
IS NEW HAMPSHIRE failing kids? New Hampshire was one of 10 states to earn an F on legal protections for children in a report released last week by two national child advocacy groups.

Maine failed too, but not the Granite State's other neighbors: Massachusetts got an A+ and Vermont an A.

Where did we fail? In most categories, according to First Start and the Children's Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego Law School.

New Hampshire scored a 58 out of 100. Bringing down the grade were these factors:

• New Hampshire law does not mandate that a child get an attorney in abuse and neglect cases.

• While the state requires guardians ad litem to have specialized training, it does not require abuse and neglect attorneys who are not guardians ad litem to be similarly trained.

• The state does not limit the caseload for attorneys handling abuse and neglect cases.

The state did earn a perfect score for one thing. State law grants a child in these cases legal status and assures they have rights.

The state's handling of child abuse and neglect cases made headlines last year, but for a different reason. Citing budget shortfalls, the state no longer provides a lawyer to parents charged with abuse or neglect of a child.

Mike Ostrowski, president of Child and Family Services, said he was not surprised by the state's grade. The state budget eliminated money for the guardian ad litem office, and the state is out of sync with national groups that believe children need their own attorney in abuse and neglect cases.

Ostrowski said the state's decision to cease giving parents attorneys in abuse and neglect cases hurts the kids as well as the parents. 'It's in everyone's best interest,' he said.




Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301
603-224-5301

 

© 2019 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy