New Jersey Child Protection News October 2015 through April 2016
NJ: The Smallest Victims of New Jersey’s Growing Drug Crisis (Includes video)
NJ Spotlight – April 28, 2016
Substance abuse can destroy both addicts and their families, and with the addiction crisis that’s sweeping every county in the state, a growing number of children are at risk.
NJ: Passaic County prosecutor hosts community meeting on child abuse, domestic violence
Associated Press – April 21, 2016
Chief Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Freid, whose special victims unit handles cases of physical and sexual abuse of children, said many situations involve neglect: failure to provide basic needs such as food, shelter or medical care. Children, like victims of domestic violence, often keep the abuse secret, he said.
NJ: Action on child abuse needs to improve
Jersey Journal – April 07, 2016
A primary weakness in preventing abuse is the confounding reality that a majority of children who are abused do not get investigated by child protective services.
NJ: Child abuse reporting, investigation needs to improve: Parenting with Pete (Opinion)
The Jersey Journal – April 06, 2016
We know how to prevent child abuse. A primary weakness in preventing abuse is the confounding reality that a majority of children who are abused do not get investigated by child protective services. The Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect: https://www.nis4.org/index.htm
NJ: Rowan University opens child abuse treatment center satellite in Vineland
New Jersey 101.5 – April 04, 2016
Martin A. Finkel, professor of pediatrics at Rowan and co-director of the CARES Institute, has been involved in developing these treatment centers from the very early stages. He said the state Division of Children and Families has always been in need of access to medical resources, to substantiate abuse concerns and diagnose problems. Centers like CARES — which represents the southern third of New Jersey, from Burlington to Cape May counties — fill that role by helping to identify and treat physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and exposure to domestic violence.
NJ: Safety is a priority for New Jersey Department of Children and Families | Opinion By Allison Blake, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families
Star Ledger – April 01, 2016
In a recent opinion piece published by the Star Ledger that was submitted by Hetty Rosenstein, director of the State’s largest public employee union, it was grossly mischaracterized that Governor Christie’s veto of legislation aimed to improve the safety of thousands of Department of Children and Families staff was a callous disregard of state workers’ lives.
NJ: Camden diocese settles old abuse cases
Philly.com – March 29, 2016
The Diocese of Camden has made financial settlements to resolve cases against two South Jersey priests accused of abusing boys in the 1950s and 1960s.
NJ: Cold night on Newark pavement raises awareness of homeless youth plight
NJ.com – March 25, 2016
Saturday morning couldn’t come soon enough for the millenials waking up from a restless overnight pilgrimage. The biting wind cut into them and the 36-degree temperature made sleeping in a Newark parking lot uncomfortable. Underneath skies still dark at 5:30 a.m., more than 100 young professionals rose from their cardboard boxes and sleeping bags, holding onto an experience they’ll never forget.
NJ: Christie’s veto of ‘Leah’s Law’ shows disregard for state workers’ lives | Opinion
NJ.com – March 24, 2016
Christie claims the bill would cost $250 million, but the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services says it would only cost $11 million. He claims we’re calling for 850 officers, plus support staff and supervisors. However, it only takes 50 officers to get the job done.
NJ: Rutgers program provides homes to foster children
Daily Targum – March 24, 2016
A Rutgers program is helping students in the child welfare system who do not have a home during the summer by providing a number of summer housing and internships opportunities.
NJ: Nearly 600 Union County kids need court advocates
Suburban News – March 21, 2016
Trained CASA volunteers are sworn in by a judge and court-empowered to speak to foster parents, teachers, doctors, lawyers, tutors, therapists and more. CASA volunteers visit the youth regularly and incorporate all findings into a report for the judge. Volunteer advocates attend court hearings quarterly, working to ensure a youth’s time in care is as short as possible and their best interests remain the top priority.
NJ: April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month (Press release)
Cape May County Herald – March 18, 2016
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children is kicking off National Child Abuse Prevention Month with a Go Blue for CASA Dress Down Day on April 1. Schools and businesses are encouraged to dress down or wear blue to raise awareness of child abuse and neglect in our communities
NJ: Christie cut threatens resources to protect 650 kids in foster care
Newsworks – March 17, 2016
Liza Kirschenbaum, the executive director of Court Appointed Special Advocates of New Jersey, said the $850,000 funding reduction would hurt the organization’s ability to provide volunteers to help those kids cope.
NJ: Woman can’t sue New Jersey school over sex abuse, court rules
Associated Press – March 12, 2016
A woman who said she was raped several times by an assistant marching band director at her New Jersey high school can’t sue the school, according to an appellate court ruling that found public schools weren’t meant to be held liable through the state’s child sex abuse law.
NJ: Governor Defends Veto of Lead-Poisoning Bill, Calls Problem ‘Over-Dramatized’
NJ Spotlight – March 07, 2016
In addition, Governor’s Spokesman Brian Murray, said, the Health Department commits nearly $15 million annually on lead screening and abatement. This includes $11 million for the child welfare division of its sister agency, the Department of Human Services, to help keep foster homes lead safe and $2 million to help local and county health offices in communities with high lead levels.
NJ: Court says mom abused baby addicted to drugs
MyCentralNJ – February 26, 2016
Mom did not tell doctors about her addiction until three days after she delivered the newborn who was showing signs of withdrawal.
NJ: Child Welfare Agents Immune from Civil Suit, Circuit Says (Requires free registration)
New Jersey Law Journal – February 19, 2016
New Jersey child welfare caseworkers who took a child from its mother during an investigation have qualified immunity from a due process suit because they had no notice, established by case law, that they were violating a clearly established constitutional right, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has ruled in a precedential opinion.
NJ: New Records System For Birth Parents ~ Adult Adoptees (Press release)
Arizona Association for Foster and Adoptive Parents – January 28, 2016
Under a new law in New Jersey, adult adoptees can access their original birth records beginning January 1, 2017. However, if a child was adopted prior to August 1, 2015, then a birth parent may choose to have his or her identifying information redacted from the child’s original birth record by submitting a request to the Department of Health by December 31, 2016.
NJ: Why One State Is Making It Easier For Teens to Seek Mental Counseling
Teen Vogue – February 02, 2016
The new law specifically targets teens contemplating suicide, because many kids are afraid to tell their parents that they’re depressed or having suicidal thoughts. LGBT teens who may not have come out to their families and kids growing up in households where mental health issues aren’t culturally accepted can now seek treatment they were previously barred from.
NJ: Foster system comes with challenges for South Jersey families
Press of Atlantic City – January 28, 2016
Professionals and volunteers at CASA of Atlantic and Cape May Counties are trained to speak in family court on behalf of abused and neglected children who find themselves in the foster care system. The community program is part of a network of 946 others scattered throughout the country.
NJ: Garden City foster care provider merges with larger area provider
The Hutchinson News – January 28, 2016
Associated Youth Services, a nonprofit organization that provides foster care services in Garden City and Kansas City, is merging with Saint Francis Community Services.
NJ: Michele Picone appointed Director Department of Human Services
Parsippany Focus – January 20, 2016
Michele Picone was officially appointed to the Director, Department of Human Services at a recent Township Council Meeting. Picone, was acting Director, since January 2015, when long-time Director Barbara Ievoli retired.
NJ: Christie vetoes child welfare worker safety bill prompted by stabbing
NJ.com – January 11, 2016
Gov. Chris Christie on Monday vetoed a bill sparked by the near-fatal stabbing of a state child welfare worker that would have assigned police officers to work from child welfare offices and accompany employees on potentially dangerous home visits in New Jersey. Also: Governor Christie endangers child protection workers (Opinion): http://njtoday.net/2016/01/12/governor-christie-endangers-child-protection-workers/
NJ: State Supreme Court to hear child custody case involving indigent mother
NorthJersey.com – December 21, 2015
An indigent mother who did not have an attorney when a judge ordered her 2-year-old daughter taken from her custody and placed with a “financially advantaged” foster family is now headed to the state Supreme Court.
NJ: “Gay Conversion Therapy” Group in New Jersey to Permanently Shut Down
Mother Jones – December 18, 2015
“The end of JONAH signals that conversion therapy, however packaged, is fraudulent — plain and simple,” David Dinielli, deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in a statement. The center filed the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs. New Jersey, California, and Washington, DC, have laws banning licensed conversion therapists from working with minors. Information Gateway Resource: Worker Safety – Supporting Staff in the Delivery of Services: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/management/workforce/retention/improving-retention/worker-safety-supporting-staff-in-the-delivery-of-services/
NJ: Child welfare worker safety bill prompted by stabbing sent to Christie
NJ.com – December 18, 2015
“Leah’s Law,” named for Leah Coleman, a caseworker who was stabbed more than 20 times inside her office in Camden eight months ago by a client, would require members of the Human Services Police Department to work from child welfare offices and accompany workers on potentially dangerous home visits.
NJ: State would benefit from expanded mental health and addictions program | Opinion
NJ.com – November 28, 2015
New Jersey’s community system of care is a leader in integrating health care, mental health and treatment for children and adults addicted to drugs or alcohol, which means better, more comprehensive care. But we can do much better, and federal legislation may give us the chance.
NV: Children in Crisis: ‘The polio of our generation’:Mental health troubles often land kids in emergency rooms
Las Vegas Sun – December 01, 2015
Staff in UMC’s pediatric emergency department have a nickname for Southern Nevada: the pediatric mental health vortex. “We call it the polio of our generation,” Dr. Jay Fisher said. “This is a health crisis of unbelievable proportions.”
NJ: Year after caseworker stabbing, N.J. lawmakers OK child welfare safety bill
NJ.com – November 17, 2015
One year after a near-fatal attack on a case worker, a state Assembly committee approved a bill Monday that would require police officers to be stationed inside state child welfare offices.
NJ: Exit plan for child-welfare lawsuit in sight
Asbury Park Press – November 04, 2015
Sixteen years after it was sued and 10 years since federal oversight was installed, New Jersey’s revamped child-welfare agency might finally be free of court-ordered supervision as soon as 2017. Also: Judge approves N.J. child welfare reform plan that could end federal oversight: http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/11/judges_approves_new_nj_child_welfare_reform_plan_w.html
NJ: State child welfare: Moving past DYFS’s shameful past
New Jersey 101.5 – November 05, 2015
DCF Commissioner Allison Blake says over the past 10 years the department has had the opportunity to build a solid and much stronger foundation for Jersey’s child welfare system, and there are several concrete examples.
NJ: Dealing with Suspicions of Child Abuse by the Other Parent
Huffington Post – November 09, 2015
Divorce is a time for making adjustments. Divorcing parents often struggle emotionally with the difficulty of having less time with their children because the children are now residing out of their primary care and/or splitting their time between both parents. This adjustment is particularly cumbersome when one parent believes that the other parent is abusive or neglectful of the children.
NJ: Expansion of child abuse investigation center gives hope to young victims
NJ.com – November 09, 2015
All of New Jersey’s 21 counties have some form of child abuse investigation unit, but Monmouth is one of only seven nationally accredited child advocacy centers in the state, which means it has to adhere to rigorous regulations and guidelines, Krupnick said.
NJ: State has a long way to go before court supervision of Child Protective Services should end (Opinion)
Star-Ledger – November 09, 2015
Last week, the Christie administration put out a notice that it had negotiated a deal with the federal court monitor supervising the Department of Children and Families child welfare reform. Gov. Chris Christie and DCF Commissioner Allison Blake claim the deal gave them an exit plan to get out from court supervision. However, the state still isn’t ready for court supervision to end.
NJ: Many post-foster care teens lacking needed mental health care
NorthJersey.com – October 27, 2015
In many states, children who live in foster homes age out of this system by the time they turn 18 or 21, a transition that can leave some at least temporarily without access to health insurance or unable to continue care with doctors who were treating them before. Information Gateway Resource: Transition to Adulthood and Independent Living Programs: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/outofhome/independent/programs/
NJ: Advocate: New Jersey making progress getting kids adopted
New Jersey 101.5 – October 12, 2015
Cecilia Zalkind, executive director of the Advocates for Children of New Jersey, said she believes overall, progress is being made in the state, from kids going from foster care into legal, permanent families through adoption.
NJ: Several N.J. child welfare offices receive death threats
nj.com – October 08, 2015
Eight state child welfare offices have received calls this week “threatening to shoot up the site or kill everyone in the building,” according to emails from the Department of Children and Families obtained by NJ Advance Media.