To see how a state improves its child welfare system while under a court order, look at New Jersey.
A new report from a court-appointed monitor says the state is making significant strides in improving: access to health care for foster youth, caseworker contact with children in foster care, training for caseworkers and placing more children in family-like settings and with their siblings.
Not everything is going so well, however: Not enough children are getting weekly visits with their parents, and caseworkers usually don’t carry out safety and risk assessments 30 days before closing a case, according to the report by Judith Meltzer of the Center for the Study of Social Policy, based in Washington, D.C.
This is Meltzer’s seventh report as the court-appointed monitor in the settlement of a class action lawsuit, Charlie and Nadine H. v. Christie, in U.S. District Court. The lawsuit was brought by the New York-based advocacy organization Children’s Rights, and focuses on the State Department of Children and Families. The report covers the last six months of 2009.