Children In Need of Services, (CHINS), is a program intended to keep at-risk children from becoming troubled adults.
It is far less expensive to provide help to a troubled child than to provide services to a troubled adult.
- Nine hundred and fifty children were cut from the CHINS program to save $7 million. That is $7,400 per child.
- New Hampshire has 2,389 state prison inmates who cost taxpayers more than $81 million in 2010; that’s $34,000 per inmate, according to the Vera Institute of Justice True Cost of Prisons survey. (Source)
According to a press release from the Carsey Institute at UNH:
- In 2011, legislative budget cuts resulted in a change in the law governing eligibility for services through the CHINS program to only youths diagnosed with the most severe emotional problems and behavior.
- From 2011 to 2012, the number of children who received services through the program dropped by 56 percent, from 751 to 329. The decline continued from 2012 to 2013 by 73 percent, for a two-year decline of 88 percent. At its lowest point in 2013, the program served just 89 children.
- “As a result of this change, the state no longer could serve children with less serious truant, runaway, and other misbehaviors. Instead, responsibility for addressing these children’s needs shifted to local communities where families, schools, law enforcement, and service providers were tasked with handling them without the resources and court-ordered support previously available to them under the former CHINS law,” the researchers said.
- Following the law change, the number of reports of child maltreatment – such as child neglect and child abuse – increased by 13 percent.
- “Truancy at an early age has been found to increase the likelihood of engaging in delinquent behavior during adolescence. It also has been linked to chronic unemployment and criminal behavior during adulthood, all arguments for requiring children to attend school. However, when the change in the CHINS law removed truants from those eligible for CHINS, the state lost the means for delivering consequences to students who skip school. Administrators at several schools reported increased truancy problems as a result,” the researchers found.
- When funding was restored in September 2013, the law broadened eligibility for services.
- The research is presented in the Carsey Institute brief “New Hampshire Children in Need of Services: Change in Eligibility Cuts Services to Children,” which is available at http://carseyinstitute.unh.edu/publication/961