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Senator Hassan Underscores Importance of Improving Child Welfare Systems to Keep Children Safe

Senator Hassan Also Highlighted the Child Care Shortage in NH & Importance of Providing More Support for Children with Disabilities

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan underscored the need to improve the child welfare system in order to keep children safe during a Senate Finance Committee nomination hearing today for key Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) positions. The Senator also highlighted the child care shortage in New Hampshire and discussed her bill to provide more support for children who experience disabilities.


To watch Senator Hassan’s questioning click here.


Improving Child Welfare Systems


“One of our greatest societal responsibilities is to keep our children safe – a responsibility that all too often goes unmet because of systemic failures,” said Senator Hassan. “Recognizing this, it’s essential that child welfare agencies make improvements.”


The Senator questioned Rebecca Jones Gaston, nominee for Commissioner for Children, Youth & Families, about how she would help states improve their child welfare agencies if confirmed.


Ms. Gaston agreed that there needs to be systemic change in the child welfare system. She noted that in order to protect children, it is essential that there is cooperation across different federal agencies and local organizations, as well as the need for a skilled workforce.


Child Care Shortage in New Hampshire


On the issue of child care, Senator Hassan noted that she has heard from parents across New Hampshire about the difficulty and expense of finding child care.


January Contreras, nominee for HHS Assistant Secretary for Family Support, discussed ways to expand child care to families, including communicating more effectively to families about the child care services available to them and providing more support to child care providers.


Supporting Young Children Who Experience Disabilities


Senator Hassan also discussed how the pandemic has delayed early intervention for young children with disabilities, which is important for their overall development and success. The Senator recently introduced a bill to restore full funding for educational and early-intervention services for children who experience disabilities.