CONCORD, NH — Waypoint’s child advocacy team, Keith Kuenning and John DeJoie, were presented the Public Citizens of the Year award by New Hampshire Pediatric Society, for their extraordinary work promoting the health and welfare of New Hampshire’s children and families. The award was given at the Society’s awards ceremony, Wednesday, September 11, at the Centennial Inn.
Kuenning, director, and DeJoie, coordinator, work in the legislative arena as part of the NH Children’s Lobby, a statewide coalition of child advocates, to help shape laws and public policies toward the best interests of children. The NH Pediatric Society recognized them for several of their accomplishments over the past year, citing their part in the creation of NH’s Office of the Child Advocate, and in prompting increased support for the state’s child protection system.
The Society also acknowledged Kuenning and DeJoie for their work on reinstituting services for CHINS, helping low-income families to access critical family preservation and reunification services, and enacting positive changes to the juvenile justice system.
Dr. Wendy Gladstone, pediatrician and child advocate who nominated Kuenning and DeJoie, says, “We who work to provide direct health care services to children, know how important these issues are in determining the overall health of those we serve. We are all very fortunate to have such an effective advocacy team.”
The award was presented by Eric Shessler, VP of NH Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who said that the 2018-2019 legislative year was “the year of the child…with significant advancements in child safety, health, well-being.” He highlighted Kuenning and DeJoie’s reputation for coalition building and for basing their positions on evidence, and praised their “conscientious, tireless work to educate our lawmakers on what its important.”
“The award is meaningful in so many ways,” says Kuenning. “Not only because it is being presented by the NH Pediatric Society, a group of professionals who spend their lives caring for children, but also because it recognizes the work of an entire team of people, from the Waypoint board and staff to the NH Children’s Lobby. John and I are honored to be a part of a great partnership in protecting New Hampshire children.”