Policy Highlights

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Waypoint Advocacy – Initial Highlights for 2022 Legislative Session

The 2022 session of the New Hampshire Legislature begins as pandemic variants impact the State’s economic and social service sector. The New Hampshire Legislature is currently committed to maintaining a face-to-face legislative session, with some opportunities for virtual observation of legislative proceedings. Advocates have requested access to remote testimony; the legislature remains committed to face-to-face testimony.

Waypoint will continue following legislation in several key areas, such as juvenile justice, child protection, foster care, education, and the state budget.

Waypoint continues to build advocacy coalitions in the Juvenile Justice Reform Project and the Children of Incarcerated Parents Project. This session, the coalitions are working on one piece of legislation relating to the appointment of counsel for juveniles (LSR 2489) and an act relative to adverse childhood experiences treatment and prevention (SB 444). Waypoint will also monitor numerous other pieces of legislation, including several that are still “Confidential.” Many pieces of legislation could negatively impact services in the community that protect the health and well-being of children and their families.


LEGISLATION
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JUVENILE JUSTICE


LSR 2489 was requested by the juvenile reform project to ensure that young people involved with juvenile justice receive free legal representation as they navigate court involvement.

Sununu Youth Services Center

After years of fighting for appropriate criteria for placement of children at the Sununu Youth Services Center, and effective services and supports for the youth being held there, the State of New Hampshire has identified a plan to close and replace the facility. This takes place as staffing shortages continue to impact the existing detention and commitment facility. Waypoint Advocacy will continue to monitor the construction, staffing and clinical supports available in the new facility.


CHILD WELFARE

SB 444 has been introduced by a bipartisan group of legislators to promote evidence-based treatment for families who have experienced significant developmental trauma.
LSR 2741 promotes a one-time, 1.3%, cost of living adjustment for the daily reimbursement rate for foster parents.

Office of Child Advocate

Waypoint will monitor and support an appropriate candidate to replace Dr. Moira O’Neill, New Hampshire’s first director for the Office of Child Advocate. After four years, Dr. O’Neill has decided not to pursue a second term at the OCA.


STATE BUDGET

New Hampshire’s Biennial Budget was determined during the 2021 session. Waypoint continues to monitor the distribution of surplus dollars related to the state budget. Additionally, Waypoint continues to monitor and advocate for the responsible distribution of American Rescue Plan Act funds to community agencies to ensure effective access to services for all. As spending is cut in New Hampshire, despite a surplus of dollars, many services for which Waypoint has advocated may be at risk and we seek to preserve these important services.

Waypoint will update this report at key points in the legislative session. If you have questions about this report, please feel free to reach out to Keith Kuenning, kuenningk@waypointnh.org.