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Partnership aims to reduce child abuse

Concord Monitor
Published: 8/15/2022 9:41:31 PM
Modified: 8/15/2022 9:38:03 PM

A new partnership between Harvard University, the state of New Hampshire and New Hampshire Children’s Trust is aimed at improving the effectiveness of supports that are available to vulnerable children and families across the state, with a focus on prevention efforts.

The program, which launched Aug. 9, is called the Child & Family Wellbeing Accelerator. It’s a project of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Government Performance Lab and is designed to help state and local governments put reforms in place to prevent crises before they occur, and keep families together. New Hampshire was selected from dozens of applicants to participate in the program in a selection process that weighed applicants’ potential for impact, their vision for innovative solutions and their commitment to improving child and family wellbeing.

“Support from the Government Performance Lab will help to establish data-driven practices for the Family Resource Centers, to measure their success and to ensure that they are effectively engaging with vulnerable families,” Department of Health and Human Services Public Information Officer Kathy Remillard said Wednesday. “We are grateful for the continued partnership of the GPL as we continue to broaden our service array, create pathways for supportive services and ultimately reduce the number of children entering out-of-home care.”

New Hampshire Children’s Trust, the Governor’s designated child abuse prevention agency, will be working directly with the Government Performance Lab on behalf of the state for the next year, as fellows from the Lab evaluate their current processes, identify things that are going well and things that could be improved to support families through New Hampshire’s network of Family Resource Centers.

“They’ll do an assessment of us and see where are the points of improvement, what are the efficiencies, what’s going well, what are our challenges?” said JoelynDrennan, senior programs director at NH Children’s Trust. “When we identify a challenge that we can accomplish and make some improvement within a year, then we’re going to help establish a plan around that.”

The Government Performance Lab’s Accelerator, like New Hampshire Children’s Trust, focuses on prevention. The idea is that connecting families with resources they need upfront will prevent child abuse and other issues that result in children being placed in the foster care system.

“We’re excited because we know the conversation around primary prevention in the nation is elevating every single day,” said Cliff Simmonds, executive director of NH Children’s Trust. “There’s more and more evidence that’s showing up that says that this is a great direction to be in. Let’s keep family safe by not having them in any kind of system or foster care, let’s meet them early on and upstream.”

Other participants in the Government Performance Lab’s Child & Family Wellbeing Accelerator program include the State of New Mexico, Florida’s Broward County, Ohio’s Cuyahoga County and Colorado’s Pueblo County.




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