DCYF, advocates oppose sweeping criminal, staffing changes for new treatment center

Division of Children, Youth and Families Director Joe Ribsam, inset, urged the House Finance Committee to reject a bipartisan proposal to set new staffing benchmarks and change the criminal code for how would be sent to a treatment center to replace the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester.

CONCORD — A proposal to set staffing benchmarks and change the criminal code for juvenile offenders would reverse the progress New Hampshire has made in reducing the number of youths sent to the Sununu Youth Services Center, state officials and child advocates say.

The current and past chairmen of the House Finance Committee are co-authors of a proposal (HB 49 amendment) to narrow the number of criminal offenses for which a juvenile could be sent to the “trauma-informed” treatment center, which will replace the Sununu Center in coming years.