N.J. Names Blake Head Department of Children and Families

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Allison Blake, formerly director  of the Rutgers School of Social Work’s Institute for Families, has been confirmed as the new head of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, a position she said fulfills her “life-long dream.”

Gov. Chris Christie nominated Black last month after his first appointee, Janet Rosenzweig, withdrew after criticism for her alleged involvement in sex research.

“I think we got it right this time,” said Sen. Joseph Kyrillos, (R-Monmouth), who called Blake "an outstanding nominee.'

Before her association with Rutgers, Blake was a caseworker with the state’s Division of Youth and Family Services for 25 years, which she said makes her well-equipped for her new position.

She assumes the agency’s top position as it remains under federal court supervision. In her most recent report to the court, monitor Judith Meltzer said the state had made significant improvements in the way it serves the 9,000 children committed to its care although she notes there are still deficiencies in regular caseworker visits and assessments.

Blake, who has served as acting head of the department for several weeks, said she hopes to create an internal quality control system, which it currently lacks.