- Early Childhood & Family Support
- Resources for Families Affected by Incarceration
- Family Preservation & Strengthening
- Home Care for Older Adults & Adults with Disabilities
- Services for young people experiencing homelessness
THE 2023 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
As 2023 unfolds, the Waypoint advocacy team follows many different pieces of legislation impacting children and families. Some of the priority bills are highlighted below. As it is a budget year, advocating for bills as well as programs and services that support children and families is a priority.
SB 1, HB 120, and HB 49
Waypoint continues to advocate for closing the Sununu Youth Services Center, a juvenile detention and commitment facility, and replacing it with a trauma-informed home-like facility that is better suited to the care and treatment of detained and committed youth. The State has committed to closing and replacing the facility during the 2023 session. Currently, there are competing bills in the House and Senate. While the goal is the same – transitioning the Sununu Center to a treatment-oriented facility – there are differences in the parameters for the new facility and in the children who would be eligible.
At the time of this report, the Sununu Center is to be closed in March 2023 and there is no new facility to replace the current facility. However, SB 1 proposes that the facility be closed upon the opening of a new facility with a November 1, 2024, deadline for completion. HB 49 proposes to extend the closure date to June 30, however, HB 120 provides that the Sununu Center be closed upon the opening of a new facility with a deadline for completion of June 30, 2024.
Both the House and Senate bills contemplate a 12-bed facility with capacity for 18 youth in the event of overflow or an emergency. In addition, both bills propose similar models of trauma-informed care in a homelike facility. SB 1 includes additional provisions regarding the type of offenses for which a youth may be committed.
This issue is a high priority for Waypoint Advocacy. We will continue to work with advocates and engage Legislators on our belief that a new 12 bed trauma-informed facility with a 6-bed overflow would be in the best interest of New Hampshire’s children.
HB 10, known as the Parental Bill of Rights, is a redesigned bill from 2022, HB 1431 which did not pass last session. The bill outlines and expands upon parental rights already found in state, federal, constitutional, and case law. In doing so, the bill threatens to take protections away for children, especially LGBTQI+ children.
The bill also provides for significant parental involvement in public school processes and curriculum and provides for a grievance process between parents and the school district that differs from the processes laid out in educational law. In addition, the bill provides for punitive action for educational and medical professionals who are found to violate the law, including loss of licensure. These provisions threaten already overly burdened educators.
This bill is concerning as to its impacts on children’s best interest and is a high priority for Waypoint Advocacy.
Medicaid Expansion is set to expire at the end of this year. While the bill number and language have yet to be released, it appears that LSR 2023-0885, relative to amending the commission to evaluate the effectiveness and future of the New Hampshire Granite Advantage Health Care Program will propose to reauthorize Medicaid Expansion. As a service provider to both children and families, Waypoint Advocacy supports Medicaid expansion not only to support and maintain the health of New Hampshire’s adults, but its children and overall communities. On January 4, Waypoint participated in a press conference regarding the benefits of Medicaid Expansion. Ensuring that Medicaid Expansion is reauthorized is a high priority for Waypoint Advocacy.
This will be a comprehensive bill relating to childcare for New Hampshire working families. This bill lays out a systems-based approach to supporting childcare in New Hampshire. It provides for changes in the childcare scholarship program, support to the Department of Health and Human Services to run the childcare scholarship program, workforce support, regional fingerprinting, and additional support for behavioral health services in early childhood settings. Waypoint serves families for whom quality, accessible childcare is critical. In addition, Waypoint runs The Children’s Place in Concord. This bill will be a priority for the advocacy team.
OTHER BILL TOPICS
Waypoint’s advocacy team will also monitor the following issues, among others
- Family law
- Marijuana related as impacts children
- Firearms in schools
- Restraint and seclusion in schools and residential facilities
- Children of incarcerated parents
- Children’s system of care
If there are questions about this report, please feel free to reach out Keith Kuenning firstname.lastname@example.org.
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