Speak Up for Foster Parent Bill of Rights!
The NH Children & Family Law Committee members is considering a Foster parent Bill of Rights. Your voice is important! Below are the names of committee members throughout the state. Choose the state representatives closest to your residence and call or email them today to share your story!
Not sure what county you live in? Go here: https://www.lfda.org/representatives/map/nh-house
Click the link to read the proposed Foster Parent Bill of Rights: https://www.fosteringchangenh.org/foster-parent-bill-of-rights
Scroll down to learn more & to see a sample email!
Click on a member's name to connect with them on Facebook:
• Caroletta Alicea Merrimack 8 (Boscawen) 603-796-6119
• Kimberly Rice, Hillsborough 37 (Hudson) 603-943-3369
• Mary Gile, Merrimack 27 (Concord) 603-224-2278
• Daniel Itse, Rockingham 10 (Freemont) 603-642-9403, 603-642-5713
• Skip Berrien, Rockingham 18 (Exeter) 603-580-1240
• Allen W. Cook, Rockingham 11 (Brentwood) 603-770-5788
• Mary Beth Walz, Merrimack 13 (Bow) 603-225-1968
• John Lewicke, Hillsborough 26 (Greenville) 603-878-2610
• Marjorie Smith, Strafford 6 (Durham) 603- 868-7500
• John J. O'Connor, Sullivan 4 (Claremont) 603-995-6917
• Lucy McVitty Weber, Cheshire 1 (Walpole) 603-756-4338
• Kevin Scully, Hillsborough 33 (Nashua) 603-689-9057
• Matthew Spencer, Strafford 18 (Somersworth) 860-961-5712
• Brenda Willis, Rockingham 6 (Derry) 603-434-9093
TIPS FOR CONTACTING A STATE REPRESENTATIVE
Elected officials are your voice in government. To best represent you, they need to know how you feel about issues related to foster care and our child welfare system. The Alliance makes it easy to help you get in touch with your elected officials. Scroll down for a sample email.
Contacting a Legislator or Government Official by Phone:
• If you get a voicemail, leave a message and call back in a couple of days if you have not received an answer.
• Before you hang-up, say thank you and tell them your name and town.
Here is a possible script that you can use when calling an elected representative:
Hello Representative, my name is ____ and I’m a resident of ____. I’m calling you because I think the legislature should pass The Foster Parent Bill of Rights 18-2174.0 (and then explain why you think it should be passed). Thank you for taking the time to listen to my concerns.
Contacting by Social Media:
While phone calls and letters may still carry more weight in the eyes of lawmakers and congressional aides, speaking to your legislators through social media has the advantage of occurring in the public eye. When you comment on your legislator’s Facebook page, constituents can read your message. This may spark a dialogue. It could also help increase awareness about the issue you're raising and build support for your cause. Always be respectful and never use offensive language.
Information Retrieved from:
Helpful Hints for Emailing Your Legislator:
You can always use information you have found through various sources, but you should write your email in your own words. Include specific information about the bill you're writing. Details about personal or local impact are very effective. Always be courteous, be very clear about what action you'd like your legislator to take and keep it as short as possible.
- Begin with an introduction of yourself or the organization on whose behalf you are writing. Use a simple statement, such as "I am a third-grade teacher at _______ elementary school" or "On behalf of of [my foster child, all foster parents, Fostering Change: Alliance for NH Foster Parents…]
- Get to the point and tell your NH Representative why you are writing and the support you are seeking. Follow your opening paragraph with a concise explanation of why you support or oppose the particular bill or issue.
- Follow your introduction with a brief statement of your issue or concern, such as "We urge your support for The Foster Parent Bill of Rights 18-2174.0 which will ______________________."
Dear Representative Kimberly Rice and respected members of the Children and Law Committee:
My name is John and I am a supporter of Fostering Change: Alliance for NH Foster Parents. My wife Jane and I have been foster parents since 2012 and have cared for numerous children of all ages. We urge you to support a comprehensive Foster Parent Bill of Rights that is independent of DCYF and holds the Division accountable for the way they treat foster parents. Although the foster parent handbook indicates that we are important members of the team, my wife and I have experienced discrimination and even reprisal when we have advocated for certain services for our foster children, or when we have voiced our concerns about parental drug use and safety during parental visitation.
The Foster Parent Bill of Rights should only be the start of your support for foster parents in NH. Several states throughout the country allow party status to foster parents after 12-18 months or at permanency hearings. It’s time for NH to modernize its laws and allow foster parents the right to be heard without fear of reprisal. I’m sure you’re aware that the number of NH babies born drug exposed has risen over 67% in the past four years. In light of the current drug epidemic there is most certainly an increasing need for foster parents in our state. We cannot watch our foster children languish without permanency or return to drug addicted parents who have not been drug tested or rehabilitated. We need your full support. Thank you for considering my concerns about the child welfare system in our state.
Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Doe
123 Main St.
Hudson, NH 03051
Foster Parent Rights in the U.S.