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CAI Holds Congressional Briefing to Unveil New Report:

Shame on U.S.
Failings by All Three Branches of Our Federal Government Leave
Abused and Neglected Children Vulnerable to Further Harm
January 27, 2015

The federal government's dereliction allows states to fall short on meeting minimum child welfare standards. Below is information specific to New Jersey:

CFSR Results Summary: In its Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) process, HHS determines whether each state is in substantial conformity with 7 specific outcomes (pertaining to the areas of safety, permanency and family and child well-being) and 7 systemic factors (relating to the quality of services delivered to children and families and the outcomes they experience).  In the first two rounds of the CFSR, HHS has concluded that New Jersey was:

Round 1 (2004)

  • NOT in substantial conformity with 7 of the 7 Outcomes
  • NOT in substantial conformity with 6 of the 7 Systemic Factors

Round 2 (2009)   

  • NOT in substantial conformity with 7 of the 7 Outcomes
  • NOT in substantial conformity with 3 of the 7 Systemic Factors

Although federal law mandates that any state found not to be operating in substantial conformity during an initial or subequent review must begin a full review within two years after approval of the state's program improvement plan, HHS has announced that New Jersey will not undergo Round 3 of the CFSR until FY 2017 (see CFSR Technical Bulletin #7 (March 2014)).

Documents from the U.S. Health & Human Services Children's Bureau

Child Welfare Litigation*

  • Charlie & Nadine H. v. Christie
    Children’s Rights, along with then co-counsel Lowenstein Sandler PC, filed this case against the Governor of the state of New Jersey, the Commissioner of the Department of Human Services and the Director of the Division of Youth and Family services on behalf of the more than 9,000 children in the custody of New Jersey’s child welfare system and tens of thousands of additional children who were victims of abuse or neglect or at risk of maltreatment statewide. The Amended Complaint alleged violations of the children’s 14th Amendment right to be free from an unreasonable risk of harm and violations of the Multiethnic Placement Act. The parties settled the case in 2003, mandating a sweeping reform of the child welfare system. However, when an independent panel, monitoring the reform as required as part of the settlement, found that New Jersey was making “seriously inadequate progress,” Children’s Rights filed a contempt motion against the state. As a result, then-Governor Jon Corzine created a cabinet level children’s agency and a Modified Settlement Agreement was reached in 2006. As a result of its advocacy in concert with the state of New Jersey and the court-appointed monitor, Children’s Rights succeeded in bringing about substantial reforms in New Jersey:

*litigation summaries taken from information provided by the websites of Children's Rights and the National Center for Youth Law

Child Welfare In the News**

  • Child protection agency improves, but concerns linger (Newsworks - January 26, 2015) Rising caseloads for workers that investigate child abuse is a concern, said Cecilia Zalkind, executive director of Advocates for Children of New Jersey.
  • Child welfare system 'light years' better than a decade ago, judge says ( - January 23, 2015) New Jersey's child welfare system thursday received its 15th report card in nine years evaluating its transformation from a money-starved, mismanaged bureaucracy to one that a federal judge described as "light-years" better than it once was.
  • State back in court today on child welfare system overhaul, with new faces, lingering concerns ( - January 22, 2015) As the court-appointed monitor today releases her latest critique of New Jersey's child welfare services, a newly-formed advocacy group is taking over for Children's Rights, the national nonprofit whose lawsuit in 1999 prompted a major overhaul of the state's troubled foster care system.
  • $50M taken from NJ child protection fund (Cherry Hill Courier Post - January 04, 2015) New Jersey has repeatedly broken its own laws and left countless children exposed to lead poisoning in the past decade by diverting more than $50 million from a health fund to pay routine bills and salaries, an Asbury Park Press investigation has found.

**news summaries taken from daily newsfeed service of HHS' Child Welfare Information Gateway



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