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DCF Moves Closer to Ending Federal Oversight After Achieving and Maintaining a Majority Exit Plan Performance Thresholds

 For Immediate Release  Contact:   Ernest Landante, Jr.
 June 8, 2016  609-888-7915

TRENTON - Fulfilling the Christie Administration's commitment to making New Jersey's child welfare system more responsive and effective, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) was commended today in a federal monitor’s report for “continued progress” in improving services for children and families.

The report is the first since a federal court, in November, approved the Sustainability and Exit Plan, which sets a path to ending a decade of federal oversight of New Jersey’s child welfare system.  The department has now achieved and maintained a majority of the Exit Plan’s performance thresholds.

“Seven months ago we entered into this new Sustainability and Exit Plan,” said DCF Commissioner Allison Blake.  “Today’s report acknowledges the enormous progress we’ve made and the vast distance we’ve traveled from the department we once were to the department we are today.”

The plan requires the department to maintain its current compliance with twenty-three performance measures and reach compliance with another thirty-six.  Today’s report shows the department successfully maintained compliance with the twenty-three measures and achieved compliance with fourteen more.

“This is a strong measure of achievement within only seven months, particularly since our 2015 performance was virtually complete before the Exit Plan’s goals were finalized,” said Blake.

The monitor’s report commends DCF for “quality performance on nearly all” health care measures, “efficient and effective operation” of the state’s child abuse and neglect hotline, and “comprehensive and reliable training” for child welfare workers.

DCF’s performance “completing case plans remains strong” and “weekly visits between parents and children in out-of-home care exceeded” goals every month during 2015.

The report also mentions that “DCF continues to update and modify policies and practices to support well-being and permanency for youth involved with DCF and to achieve better outcomes for youth after they exit care.”

During a federal hearing in Newark today, the Court stated it was “delighted” at the progress the department has made and congratulated Commissioner Blake and her staff on the “job you have done.”

The Court was “truly, truly pleased” to see the Administration’s “continued fiscal support of the department.”  The Court was “extremely heartened by the achievements made and the state’s efforts,” especially in challenging fiscal times.

DCF is dedicated to ensuring a better today and an even greater tomorrow for every individual the department serves.  In partnership with New Jersey's communities, DCF ensures the safety, well-being, and success of New Jersey's children and families.  DCF funds and directly provides services and support to over 100,000 women, children and families each month.