Washington, D.C. (December 19, 2012) – Today the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), the court-appointed monitor for Charlie and Nadine H. v. Christie, issued its latest monitoring report on the progress of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) in meeting the requirements of the Modified Settlement Agreement (MSA) governing reforms of New Jersey’s child welfare system.
DCF has continued to move toward compliance in many areas, reflecting persistent and intensive work to demonstrate improvement in child welfare practice across the state. While the data in this monitoring period do not show the dramatic performance gains that were achieved earlier in the lawsuit, in the monitor’s judgment DCF continues to invest in efforts to improve practice and outcomes.
The monitor’s report independently verifies and documents the state’s progress towards meeting the outcomes and performance measures of the settlement agreement during the period of January 1 – June 30, 2012. As of June 30, 2012, DCF has met 21 of the 54 Phase II performance measures and partially met three additional measures. Five of the 26 measures that were not met showed performance improvement over the previous monitoring period. Many of the outcomes that remain to be achieved go to the heart of practice and system reform.
Experience across the country has shown that improving child welfare system performance and child and family outcomes takes leadership, multiple interventions and considerable time. In some areas, such as holding Family Team Meetings that engage families, caregivers and providers in the joint work to support children and families, DCF has made progress or has maintained performance rates that demonstrate improvement but are not yet at levels required by the MSA. New Jersey’s leaders and staff at all levels throughout the state remain committed to and are working toward demonstrable and more rapid progress in achieving all MSA outcomes.
Some significant accomplishments (discussed more fully in the report) include:
There also remain areas where despite incremental improvements, progress has been challenging and slower than desired. Listed more fully in the report, these include:
The full report, which was formally presented to the Honorable Stanley R. Chesler of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, can be viewed here.
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Performance is measured based on data supplied by DCF, as well as caseload verification and other monitoring activities undertaken by CSSP, such as interviews with external stakeholders including youth, contracted service providers, judicial officers, birth parents and more.
About The Center for the Study of Social Policy
For almost 30 years, the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), a nonpartisan Washington, D.C. nonprofit, has been working with state and federal policymakers and communities across the country. Focused on public policy, research and technical assistance, CSSP promotes smart policies that improve the lives of children and their families and works to achieve equity for those too often left behind.Using data, extensive community experience and a focus on results, CSSP’s work covers several broad areas, including promoting public policies that strengthen vulnerable families; mobilizing a national network to prevent child abuse and promote optimal development for young children; assisting tough neighborhoods with the tools needed to help parents and their children succeed; educating residents to be effective consumers securing better goods and services; reforming child welfare systems; and promoting, through all its work, an even playing field for children of all races, ethnicities and income levels. For more information on the Center for the Study of Social Policy, visit www.cssp.org or call 202.371.1565.