Federal Court Hearing on Child Welfare Progress in New Jersey: Release of CSSP Monitoring Report for the Charlie and Nadine H v. Murphy Sustainability and Exit Plan

Newark, NJ (July 13, 2021)—On Wednesday, July 13th, the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), Federal Court Monitors for the Charlie and Nadine H. v. Murphy child welfare reform litigation, will release a monitoring report documenting progress that New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) has made toward meeting the requirements of the Sustainability and Exit Plan (SEP) negotiated as part of the Charlie and Nadine H. v. Murphy class-action lawsuit. Reports are released to the Honorable Stanley Chesler of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey and the public approximately every six months. The current report covers performance during July 1 to December 31, 2021.

Judith Meltzer, CSSP President and Court-Appointed Monitor, will report on the state’s progress to Judge Chesler at a virtual public hearing in federal court, and will announce that, after over two decades of federal court oversight, on June 20, 2022, the Parties have filed an Exit Plan and Agreement that outlines steps towards New Jersey’s exit from the litigation.

See the conclusion of this press statement for instructions on how to request attendance to the virtual hearing.

Despite the challenges the pandemic continued to present between July and December 2021, the State again sustained progress on most of the SEP outcomes already achieved, ending the monitoring period having met 44 of the 48 performance measures as well as maintaining performance on each of the required Foundational Elements, such as manageable caseloads for workers, training, and services for domestic violence survivors. As discussed in the report that will be released on Wednesday, July 13, DCF largely maintained similar performance levels as prior to the start of the pandemic and continues to pursue efforts towards improving services and supports for the children, youth and families of New Jersey.

In addition to discussing the structure of the Exit Plan and Agreement, the hearing will also focus on the commitments in the Exit Plan to ensure sustained oversight capacity in the State once judicial oversight ceases.

“If properly executed, this Exit Plan and Agreement is a path forward to sustain the lawsuit’s many achievements and provide accountability as the State continues to meet the needs of children, youth, and families of New Jersey,” said Judith Meltzer, CSSP President and Court Monitor of the lawsuit. She continued, “The Governor’s and the legislature’s continued support and investment in DCF’s programs and services has certainly contributed to making this day possible, and to DCF’s vision that all families in New Jersey are safe, healthy, and connected.”

Read CSSP’s Monitoring Reports on this case here.

About CSSP. The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) works to achieve a racially, economically, and socially just society in which all children, youth, and families thrive. We translate ideas into action, promote public policies grounded in equity, and support strong and inclusive communities. We advocate with and for all children, youth, and families marginalized by public policies and institutional practices. Learn more at www.CSSP.org.