N.J. Shows How to Improve Child Welfare


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.


  • Richard Wexler

    The most important single statistic in the latest New Jersey Monitor’s report can be found on Page 103: The key measure of child safety, reabuse of children left in their own homes, has dropped significantly from 2006 through 2008.  In fact it was cut by more than half.

    During that same time period, the number of children taken from their homes over the course of a year in New Jersey dropped by more than 25 percent, according to the federal AFCARS database.

    Once again, the evidence is in: Finding smart ways to reduce needless removal of children improves child safety.  

    Richard Wexler

    Executive Director

    National Coalition for Child Protection Reform