Grievance Founded with Recommendations.
Committee Majority Findings:
In a petition involving the Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), the Redress ofGrievances Committee, after hearing from the Petitioner and her mother and seeing the documents supporting that testimony, finds numerous inexplicable acts that indicate wrongdoing by individuals in the Division. It finds that the Division, which refused to attend our hearings to respond even to questions of a general nature concerning their policies in similar situations, appear to have been intent on denying several relatives of an admitted former drug addict (who had been in the act of cleaning up) of adopting her child despite our laws providing for placement with relatives Sec RSA 169-C:6 V, 169-C:6-a I(f), 169-C:19, and 169-C:24 In fact, the Committee saw evidence that DCYF actually facilitated the adoption of the child prior to the rights of the mother being terminated in court. Further, DCYF failed to contact the actual father, instead providing the courts with the name of another individual, while twice through the courts denying paternity testing to the individual claiming to be the actual father. The Committee also agrees with the Petitioner that the courts systematically violated Part 1, Article 15 when it denied the admission of all exculpatory evidence showing the mother did not harm her child. While it seems possible that the acts of the agency were well intended in the interests of the child, they also seem to have been notably opposed to the rights of parents and relatives as provided for in our statutes. Because of the sheer number of supported allegations raising significant red flags in this case, the Committee believes this matter should be thoroughly investigated with a view to revisiting the decision to returning the child to the custody of relatives or its actual mother. For this reason, the Committee recommends, as we have in a prior report, that in the next legislative term a standing legislative oversight committee be set up to review situations like these in depth with agencies involved in potential wrongdoing against our citizens. Any such committee must, like that of the U.S. Congress, have full subpoena power. The Committee also recommends a complete review of any policies making individuals working for our agencies immune from prosecution with a view to limiting that immunity when, in the course of their duties, they infringe on the rights of our citizens. Vote 9-3.
Rep. Harry B. Hardwick for the Majority of the Committee