Feb 29, 2016 5:02 PM

Landrigan: NH officials propose to create 2nd DCYF shift in hopes to protect more children

CONCORD - State officials proposed what they said was a way to better respond to suspected cases of child abuse by creating a second shift for child protection workers.

Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeff Meyers said the plan to fill 18 more jobs would create a 12 noon to 8 pm shift so that cases would go beyond the current quitting time of 4:30 pm.

"We feel this is a good first step towards a 24-7 response," Meyers told the Child Fatalities Commission on Monday.

Around-the-clock coverage would cost the state $4 million more a year and require hiring 50 more people.

Meyers said his plan would not lead to reopening the state budget; instead he would move money around in his budget to make room for this request.

Next week Gov. Maggie Hassan will ask the state Executive Council to approve a contract hiring a national expert to do a complete investigation into the performance of the state Division of Children, Youth and Families.

Hassan asked for this report following some highly publicized fatalities of children last year - Brielle Gage in Nashua and Sadie Willott in Manchester.

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