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Christie Administration’s Reforms Bring DCF Yet Closer to Exiting Federal Oversight

For Immediate Release Contact: Ernest Landante Jr.
April 5, 2017 609-888-7915

TRENTON – New Jersey’s child welfare system improved across six important areas, according to a federal monitor’s report today, moving the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) closer to ending years of federal oversight.

For the first time, the department has satisfied all performance measures on caseloads and in areas at the earliest stage of a family’s involvement with the child welfare system.

Seventy-three percent of the requirements DCF must fulfill to end oversight are now categorized as achieved, according to the report.  The requirements are part of a court-approved agreement guiding DCF’s exit from federal oversight.

“It takes dedicated intake workers, adoption staff, and permanency caseworkers to effectively serve our state’s vulnerable children and families,” said DCF Commissioner Allison Blake.  “These professionals work face-to-face with families every day, helping them succeed and ensuring children are safe and protected.  Without them and their selfless efforts, reaching these new milestones would have been impossible.  I am thankful for their work and proud of what they’ve accomplished.”

The monitor praised DCF’s success reducing intake worker caseloads and completing case plans when a child enters out-of-home care, two of DCF’s six newly-fulfilled performance requirements,

"DCF leadership and staff have worked hard over many years to accomplish this notable achievement,” wrote the monitor about caseloads for the intake workers who process child abuse and neglect referrals.

Regarding case plans, the monitor wrote, “This is a notable achievement and one that has taken significant effort, leadership, and attention to improved documentation and supervision.”

The department is also in substantial compliance with the child abuse and neglect investigations quality requirement. Performance in this area improved by five percentage points and is within the margin of error, according to the report.

“Investigating child abuse and neglect is complex and challenging,” continued Blake in noting DCF’s investigation timeliness performance and investigation quality performance.  “Many families struggle with co-occurring issues such as domestic violence, substance use disorder, and mental illness.  Sometimes families are evasive or uncooperative with our investigators.  Getting medical reports is another challenge.  These things complicate and delay investigations, and it’s what makes performance in both areas significant achievements.”

The report measures DCF's performance between January 1, 2016 and June 30, 2016.

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.

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