Amendment 2024-1309h to HB1573 (2024)

(Third New Title) relative to out-of-home placements for children.

Revision: April 2, 2024, 1:40 p.m.

Rep. Edwards, Rock. 31

March 25, 2024





Amendment to HB 1573-FN


Amend the title of the bill by replacing it with the following:


AN ACT making an appropriation to the department of health and human services to enhance oversight of children in residential placements.


Amend the bill by replacing all after the enacting clause with the following:


1  Statement of Purpose and Findings.  The general court makes the following findings regarding children in state care:

I.  Children in the care of the state have fundamental rights, as recognized by RSA 170-G:21.

II.  When a child is placed under the care and custody of the state pursuant to RSA 169-B, RSA 169-C or RSA 169-D, it is the responsibility of the state to ensure that a child receives appropriate housing, nutrition, medical and mental health care, education, and basic standards of care.

III.  Children who are removed from their homes must be placed in the least restrictive alternate setting.  When removal and placement cannot be avoided, the disruption that the child may experience is minimized, and emotional trauma may be reduced, by placing the child in the most familiar, least restrictive setting.  The first alternative considered is placement with a relative or a close friend, “kin” or “fictive kin”, to offer the child some degree of familiarity and continuity.  When placement with a relative or a family friend is not possible, the least restrictive placement of choice is placement in a licensed foster home.

IV.  Residential facilities are appropriate only for children who cannot safely receive the clinically appropriate treatment in their own home or a community-based alternative; a shortage or lack of foster family homes or community-based resources shall not be an acceptable primary reason for placement in a residential facility.  Residential facilities are congregate care placements, are considered the most restrictive settings for receiving treatment, and are generally not appropriate for children under 12 years of age.  Therefore, placement in a residential setting is used only as a last alternative for children age 12 and older.  Special consideration will be given to children under age 12, if deemed clinically appropriate due to a therapeutic or medical necessity.

V.  Placing children in facilities must be viewed as a time-limited and only for the purpose of treatment and services.  The purpose is to stabilize the child’s behaviors, provide treatment and to prepare him or her for a less restrictive setting.  The goal is to facilitate family/caregiver integration or another plan consistent with the agency's policy of permanency planning.

VI.  To best meet the needs of the children placed in a residential setting, the department of health and human services (DHHS), in coordination with the office of child advocate (OCA), will expand and enhance certification requirements and oversight process.  In addition to certification, DHHS and OCA will coordinate to improve caseworker visits with children placed by the state in a residential setting.  DHHS and OCA will continue this coordination through regular meetings and coordinated visits.

VII.  It shall be the policy of DHHS that any placement of a child outside of New England shall require the approval of the division for children youth and families’ director prior to that placement, with specific findings of the need for that placement.

2  Appropriations; Department of Health and Human Services.

The sum of $1,000,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2025, is hereby appropriated to the department of health and human services for the purpose of enhancing oversight of residential facilities where New Hampshire children are, or will be, placed, as provided in the provisions of this act.  This appropriation shall be nonlapsing.  The governor is authorized to draw a warrant for said sum out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated.

3  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2024.




This bill makes an appropriation to the department of health and human services to enhance oversight of children in court-ordered, residential placements.