ACNJ commends Commissioner Blake for improving child protection system
The latest report by the court-appointed federal monitor Judith Meltzer finds that "New Jersey continues to make significant progress” in its work with troubled families and children in foster care. In addition, the state has maintained its progress in meeting the requirements of the Sustainability and Exit Plan (SEP). Since 2004, New Jersey has been under a federal court order to reform its child protection system.
The Sustainability and Exit Plan provides performance measures that the Department of Children and Families (DCF) must meet; DCF achieved 36 of the 48 requirements.
And for the first time, 100 percent of youth aging out of the foster care system without achieving permanency had a housing plan upon exit. As of January 2017, all of the SEP measures related to older youth have been met.
Meltzer, Marcia Robinson Lowry (counsel for the plaintiffs) and the Honorable Stanley Chesler, the federal court judge overseeing the class action settlement in Charlie and Nadine H. v. Christie, all acknowledged the efforts and commitment of DCF Commissioner Allison Blake, who has steadfastly worked to meet the requirements over the past seven and a half years.
ACNJ commends Commissioner Blake’s efforts on behalf of children and families who are assisted by the child protection system. Her leadership has resulted in smaller caseloads for child protection workers, more foster homes and an increase in adoptions. We wish her much success in the future.
“While there remain important outcomes still to be achieved, we recognize that progress has been possible because of DCF’s leadership, the support from the Governor and the legislature and the commitment of its works and partners to the children in care and their families,” said Meltzer, who is also Deputy Director of the Center for the Study of Social Policy.
ACNJ hopes that incoming Governor-Elect Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Legislature will continue to support the reform efforts.