Child care advocate doesn't plan on stopping soon
ROCHESTER — Local child welfare advocate Anne Grassie is leaving her position as a board of directors member on the New Hampshire Children’s Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating child abuse and neglect, after serving for nine years.
But Grassie, 66, who has worked more than 30 years in the childcare field, said she has no plans of stopping her volunteer work any time soon, and plans to continue to work with the organization as a member of the advocacy committee. Grassie also served for several years on the Rochester school board and 20 years in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
“They think they’ll be able to get rid of me, but it won’t be that easy,” she said.
Grassie said she is not being forced to leave her position, as the organization has a rule written into its charter stating a board member can only serve for nine years. While she will miss having such a direct role, she said she plans on staying involved because she believes in the organization’s mission.
“I believe in what they do,” she said. “Protecting children is very important to me.”
Grassie said the Children’s Trust focuses on children who are recently born to three years of age, which she said is the most vulnerable age group because they cannot articulate abuse. The agency was originally started by the legislation in 1986 as "New Hampshire Children’s Trust Fund,” and transitioned to "New Hampshire Children’s Trust, Inc.” in 2011.
Children’s Trust is responsible for starting initiatives, such as the Period of PURPLE Crying program and Healthy Families America, which Grassie said promote healthy child development and affect children across the state.
Grassie went on to say her time with Children’s Trust has improved the work she does at the Rochester Child Care Center, where she works as a family service provider. The Rochester Child Care Center is a non-profit child care center providing child care to Rochester and the surrounding communities.
A mother of five and a grandmother of 16, Grassie described taking care of children as “natural” for her and said the role of child caretaker began for her when she was two years old and her younger brother was born.
“I firmly believe people who are good at childcare are born, not made,” she said.
Grassie added that while her jobs entails managing the center’s billing system, what she really feels she does is foster relationships with the children’s families.
“I think children are the greatest people because they start off so simply, and you see them change over time,” she said. “And because we see them all the time, we see all the changes they go through and are really in a position to let families know what’s going on.”
Grassie said she rarely gets irritated at her job when it comes to her charges and her staff, but said the state’s childcare system is overworked and understaffed, a position that frustrates her.
“When families can’t get the assistance they need, it throws a wrench into their lives,” she said.
Childcare does not stop for Grassie when she leaves work, as she said she frequently takes care of her grandchildren. Recently, she said attended the midnight premire of “Mockingjay: Part Two” with her 14-year-old grandson.”
Despite being around children all day, Grassie said she does not feel old and does not plan on retiring any time soon.
“If anything, kids keep me young,” she said.