When used in this chapter and unless the specific context indicates otherwise:
I. “Abandoned” means the child has been left by his parent, guardian or custodian, without provision for his care, supervision or financial support although financially able to provide such support.
II. “Abused child” means any child who has been:
(a) Sexually abused; or
(b) Intentionally physically injured; or
(c) Psychologically injured so that said child exhibits symptoms of emotional problems generally recognized to result from consistent mistreatment or neglect; or
(d) Physically injured by other than accidental means; or
(e) Subjected, by any person, to human trafficking as defined in RSA 633:7; or
(f) Subjected to an act prohibited by RSA 632-A:10-d.
III. “Adjudicatory hearing” means a hearing to determine the truth of the allegations in the petition filed under this chapter.
V. “Child” means any person who has not reached his eighteenth birthday.
VI. “Child care agency” means a “child day care agency” as defined in RSA 170-E:2, IV or a “child care agency” as defined in RSA 170-E:25, II.
VII. “Child placing agency” means the department, Catholic charities of New Hampshire, or child and family services of New Hampshire, or any successor organization.
VII-a. “Concurrent plan” means an alternate permanency plan in the event that a child cannot be safely reunified with his or her parents.
VIII. “Consent order” means a written agreement entered into among or between the parties regarding the facts and the disposition in a neglect or abuse case, and approved by the court.
IX. “Court” means the district court, unless otherwise indicated.
X. “Custodian” means an agency or person, other than a parent or guardian, licensed pursuant to RSA 170-E to whom legal custody of the child has been given by court order.
XI. “Dispositional hearing” means a hearing held after a finding of abuse or neglect to determine what dispositional order should be made on behalf of the child.
XII. “Department” means the department of health and human services.
XIII. “Foster home” means a residential care facility licensed pursuant to RSA 170-E for child care in which family care and training are provided on a regular basis for no more than 6 unrelated children, unless all the children are of common parentage.
XIII-a. “Founded report” means a report made pursuant to this chapter for which the department finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the child who is the subject of such report is abused or neglected.
XIV. “Guardian” means a parent or person appointed by a court having jurisdiction with the duty and authority to make important decisions in matters having a permanent effect on the life and development of the child, and to be concerned about the general welfare of the child. Such duty and authority include but are not necessarily limited either in number or kind to:
(a) The authority to consent: (1) to marriage, (2) to enlistment in the armed forces of the United States, and (3) to major medical, psychiatric and surgical treatment, (4) to represent the child in legal actions; and (5) to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child;
(b) The authority and duty of reasonable visitation, except to the extent that such right of visitation has been limited by court order; and
(c) The rights and responsibilities of legal custody except where legal custody has been vested in another individual or in an authorized agency.
XIV-a. “Household member” means any person living with the parent, guardian, or custodian of the child from time to time or on a regular basis, who is involved occasionally or regularly with the care of the child.
XV. “Imminent danger” means circumstances or surroundings causing immediate peril or risk to a child’s health or life.
XVI. “Institutional child abuse or neglect” means situations of known or suspected child abuse or neglect wherein the person responsible for the child’s welfare is a foster parent or is an employee of a public or private residential home, institution or agency.
XVII. “Legal custody” means a status created by court order embodying the following rights and responsibilities unless otherwise modified by court order:
(a) The right to determine where and with whom the child shall live;
(b) The right to have the physical possession of the child;
(c) The right and the duty to protect and constructively discipline the child; and
(d) The responsibility to provide the child with food, clothing, shelter, education, emotional security and ordinary medical care provided that such rights and responsibilities shall be exercised subject to the power, rights, duties and responsibilities of the guardian of the child and subject to residual parental rights and responsibilities if these have not been terminated by judicial decree.
XVIII. “Legal supervision” means a legal status created by court order wherein the child is permitted to remain in his home under the supervision of a child placing agency subject to further court order.
XIX. “Neglected child” means a child:
(a) Who has been abandoned by his or her parents, guardian, or custodian; or
(b) Who is without proper parental care or control, subsistence, education as required by law, or other care or control necessary for the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health, when it is established that the child’s health has suffered or is likely to suffer serious impairment; and the deprivation is not due primarily to the lack of financial means of the parents, guardian, or custodian; or
(c) Whose parents, guardian or custodian are unable to discharge their responsibilities to and for the child because of incarceration, hospitalization or other physical or mental incapacity;
Provided, that no child who is, in good faith, under treatment solely by spiritual means through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner thereof shall, for that reason alone, be considered to be a neglected child under this chapter.
XX. “Notice” means communication given in person or in writing to the parent, guardian, custodian or other interested party not having custody or control of the child, of the time and place fixed for hearing; and it shall be given in all cases, unless it appears to the court that such notice will be ineffectual.
XX-a. “Out-of-home placement” means the placement of a child in substitute care with someone other than the child’s biological parent or parents, adoptive parent or parents, or legal guardian.
XXI. “Parent” means mother, father, adoptive parent, stepparent, but such term shall not include a parent as to whom the parent-child relationship has been terminated by judicial decree or voluntary relinquishment.
XXI-a. “Party having an interest” means the child; the guardian ad litem of the child; the child’s parent, guardian or custodian; the state; or any household member subject to court order.
XXI-b. “Permanency hearing” means a court hearing for a child in an out-of-home placement to review, modify, and/or implement the permanency plan or to adopt the concurrent plan.
XXI-c. “Permanency plan” means a plan for a child in an out-of-home placement that is adopted by the court and provides for timely reunification, termination of parental rights or parental surrender when an adoption is contemplated, guardianship with a fit and willing relative or another appropriate party, or another planned permanent living arrangement.
XXII. “A person responsible for a child’s welfare” includes the child’s parent, guardian or custodian, as well as the person providing out-of-home care of the child, if that person is not the parent, guardian or custodian. For purposes of this definition, “out-of-home care” includes child day care, and any other settings in which children are given care outside of their homes.
XXIII. “Probable cause” means facts and circumstances based upon accurate and reliable information, including hearsay, that would justify a reasonable person to believe that a child subject to a report under this chapter is abused or neglected.
XXIV. “Protective custody” means the status of a child who has been taken into physical custody by a police officer or juvenile probation and parole officer because the child was in such circumstances or surroundings which presented an imminent danger to the child’s health or life and where there was not sufficient time to obtain a court order.
XXV. “Protective supervision” means the status of a child who has been placed with a child placing agency pending the adjudicatory hearing.
XXV-a. “Psychological maltreatment” means pervasive and emotionally abusive behavior, which shall include, but not be limited to, patterns of threatening, berating, or demeaning behavior.
XXVI. “Relative” means parent, grandparent, brother, sister, stepparent, stepbrother, stepsister, uncle, aunt, nieces, nephews or first and second cousins.
XXVII. “Residual parental rights and responsibilities” means those rights and responsibilities remaining with the parent after the transfer of legal custody or guardianship except guardianship pursuant to termination of parental rights, including, but not limited to, right of visitation, consent to adoption, right to determine religious affiliation and responsibilities for support.
XXVII-a. “Serious impairment” means a substantial weakening or diminishment of a child’s emotional, physical, or mental health or of a child’s safety and general well-being. The following circumstances shall be considered in determining the likelihood that a child may suffer serious impairment:
(a) The age and developmental level of the child.
(b) Any recognized mental, emotional, or physical disabilities.
(c) School attendance and performance.
(d) The child’s illegal use of controlled substances, or the child’s contact with other persons involved in the illegal use or sale of controlled substances or the abuse of alcohol.
(e) Exposure to incidents of domestic or sexual violence.
(f) Any documented failure to thrive.
(g) Any history of frequent illness or injury.
(h) Findings in other proceedings.
(i) The condition of the child’s place of residence.
(j) Assessments or evaluations of the child conducted by qualified professionals.
(k) Such other factors that may be determined to be appropriate or relevant.
XXVII-b. “Sexual abuse” means the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or having a child assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct or any simulation of such conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct; or the rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children. With respect to the definition of sexual abuse, the term “child” or “children” means any individual who is under the age of 18 years.
XXVII-c. “Screened-out report” means a report made pursuant to this chapter that the department has determined does not rise to the level of a credible report of abuse or neglect and is not referred for assessment.
XXVIII. “Unfounded report” means a report made pursuant to this chapter for which the department determines that there is insufficient evidence to substantiate a finding that the child is abused or neglected.XXIX. A report that is “unfounded but with reasonable concern” means a report made pursuant to this chapter for which the department determines that there is probable cause to believe the child was abused or neglected, but for which there is insufficient evidence to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the child was abused or neglected.2019. 2020, 26:52, 53, eff. July 1, 2020.