WHAT IS THE
FEDERAL MONITOR'S REPORT?
Since 2004, New Jersey has been under a federal court order to reform its child protection system. On November 4, 2015, the federal court approved a Sustainability and Exit Plan (SEP), which allowed DCF to direct its focus on quality and outcomes.
Reports are released to the Honorable Stanley Chesler of the U.S. District Court of New Jersey and the public approximately every six months by federal court monitor Judith Meltzer.
The latest federal monitor report on the Department of Children and Families (DCF) indicates that the state continues to make progress in its work with troubled families and children in foster care and in meeting the requirements of the Sustainability and Exit Plan (SEP).
The report, which covers July to December 2017, showed areas of improved performance in DCF's work, including:
- the quality of investigations, and
- successful permanency outcomes including reunification with parents, children living with relatives rather than in foster care, or adoption within three to four years.
DCF has now met 41 of the 48 performance measures that are required as part of the court-ordered settlement plan.
According to the monitor, of the measures still to be achieved, “three of them directly measure core elements of case practice (teaming, quality of case plans, and services to support transitions). Two of the measures ... involve visits between workers and parents when a child’s goal is reunification and visits between children and siblings when they are placed apart. These are especially important because they measure how families and children interact with DCF and the child protective services system."
Read monitor's press release.
Read monitor’s report.
Read news story by Sue Livio at the Star Ledger.
ACNJ will share a more in-depth analysis of the monitor’s report in the upcoming weeks.
Mary Coogan, Esq.