On January 27, 2021, Federal courts acknowledged the commitment of leadership and staff of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) in serving children and families despite the significant challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal monitor, Judith Meltzer, president of the Center for the Study of Social Policy, presented her latest Federal Monitor’s report, covering January 1, 2020 – June 30, 2020, to the Honorable Stanley Chesler, the federal judge overseeing the reform of New Jersey’s child welfare system as a result of the class-action lawsuit, Charlie and Nadine H. v. Murphy.
Judith Meltzer reported that the state has continued to meet 44 of the 48 consent order benchmarks, and has made progress on its overall strategic plan. More importantly, Ms. Meltzer indicated that “[t]he state “took clear steps to assure they were still attending to the safety of children, staff and providers while making sure efforts towards permanency were not derailed.” The plaintiff’s attorney, Marcia Lowery, and Judge Chesler both congratulated the Commissioner and her staff on the progress.
DCF Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer acknowledged the hard work of her staff in quickly adapting to the COVID-19 shutdown while continuing to meet the needs of children and families. The department remains committed to its vision that all New Jersey residents are Safe, Healthy, and Connected, and to advancing the goals of its strategic plan, including preventing maltreatment, preserving kinship connections and increasing staff health and wellness.