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Award Recognizes Christie Administration's Commitment to Improve the Lives of New Jersey's Most Vulnerable Children and Families 

For Immediate Release                             Contact:

Thursday, January 30, 2014                       609-292-0422

TRENTON - New Jersey Department of Children and Families Commissioner Allison Blake was recently honored by Casey Family Programs with the Child Welfare Leader Award for her commitment to improving outcomes and services for New Jersey's vulnerable children and families.  Casey Family Programs is the nation's largest operating foundation focused solely on safely reducing the need for foster care and improving service to vulnerable children and families across America.  Commissioner Blake was one of nine winners of this year's Casey Excellence for Children Awards.

"This award is an honor and I'm grateful to accept it, not merely for me, but for the hardworking and dedicated men and women of our department," said Commissioner Blake.  "It's our individual employees, who are in the field each and every day, who are truly making the department's reform effort a success."

For nearly 30 years, Commissioner Blake has been working on behalf of children and families.  She served for 18 years at the formerly named New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services, where she worked in direct service and administrative positions.

Commissioner Blake was appointed commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families by Governor Christie in 2010.  As commissioner, she has focused on building partnerships with New Jersey's communities, service providers, families and youth in order to improve child welfare practice and ease access to services for women, children and families in the state.

Between 2005 and 2012, DCF has safely reduced the number of children in care by 41.1 percent.  During the same seven year span, exits to permanency increased.  Commissioner Blake and her staff continually review both the data and their practice to safely keep children at home and find timely permanency.

"The outstanding efforts of these individuals moves us closer every day to building safe, healthy communities of hope across the country where children and their families can thrive," said Bob Watt, chair of the Board of Trustees of Casey Family Programs, referring to this year's Casey award winners.  "It is important that we recognize the work of these individuals and look to them as both humanitarians and leaders in the field."

The foundation presents these awards to recognize outstanding individuals and leaders in child welfare who have demonstrated distinguished work, exceptional leadership and relentless dedication in improving child welfare systems in America. Award winners are selected from among a group of outstanding nominees within five categories: birth parents, alumni of foster care, foster parents, kinship caregivers, and leaders in child welfare.

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