With the budget squabble in Concord and the emergence of a tri-party legislature, some issues that matter a great deal to some constituents have been largely ignored. One in particular is the Division of Children, Youth and Families. Both the Concord Monitor and the Union Leader had stories today about DCYF and both were very troubling. Two children dying in abusive homes in one year should capture the attention of all our elected officials in Concord. It has instead been relegated to the back burner with most of the attention focused on ideologic issues. Shouldn't the focus be on the people of NH?
The Union Leader story is about a DCYF social worker , Ashley Rossiter, whose red flag warnings were not heeded and who was ultimately fired for protesting what she thought to be dangerous and improper decisions by agency leaders. She is now suing DCYF. In one instance, she was told to back off as there were no foster families to take the children and was left with the sarcastic option to sleep in the office with the children. She spoke of the long time middle managers whose mantra was " close, close, close" to relieve high case loads instead of protecting children and families.
The Concord Monitor had a heartbraking story of the brief life of Brielle Gage, killed by her abusive mother and the total system failure that was instrumental in this infants demise.
A lot of time and energy was spent these past few months on things like "right to work" and concealed carry" as legislative priorities among those ideological issues put forth by the Americans for Prosperity and carried out dutifully by their NH Reps in the House Freedom Caucus, but no such priority has been put on the very real DCYF crisis.
Per Ms, Rossiter in the Union Leader article, "I just don't want any more kids to die,I think the two who passed away . that was very, very preventable. Had the agency done its job, I believe 100 percent they would be alive today."
What will it take for Concord to look at this proactively and help fix it? How many more tragic and preventable deaths need to occur before this gets the attention it deserves?