Child Welfare Nominee Grilled Over Sexuality Views

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It looks like New Jersey will soon get a new director for its Department of Children and Families, but state lawmakers are making it painful.

The state’s Senate Judiciary Committee this week voted to send Gov. Chris Christie’s nominee, Janet Rosenzweig, to the full Senate, after grilling her on the work she has done about sex.

No one seems to be questioning Rosenzweig’s overall qualifications. She served as director of the Mercer County Department of Human Services from 1992 to 2001, then as executive director of the nonprofit Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey from 2001 to 2007. She was recently associate professor of child advocacy at Montclair State University.

In 2008 and 2009, however, she worked part time for two years as executive director of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, based in Allentown, Pa. And she had been certified as a “sex educator” by American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists. Some observers see those organizations as promoting extremely liberal views of youth sexuality, including freedom to engage in sex, acceptance of homosexuality and the full range of what the therapists’ group calls “erotic preferences.”

One conservative blogger wrote a item headlined, “Christie’s Nominee May Pose A Danger to Your Children.”

Those affiliations drew the lion’s share of questions when Rosenzweig appeared before the Senate committee, as reported by The Newark Star Ledger.

Rosenzweig found herself telling the committee, “I am strongly opposed to any sexual encounters between adults and children” and “I am not a sex therapist, I am not a sex counselor.”

New Jersey created the Department of Children and Families in 2006, separating it from the Department of Human Services as part of a court settlement in a lawsuit brought by the New York-based advocacy organization Children’s Rights. The department has 7,000 employees.