NEWARK, N.J (January 11, 2018)—New Jersey continues to make significant progress towards meeting the requirements of the Sustainability and Exit Plan that resulted from the Charlie and Nadine H. v. Christie class-action lawsuit. These improvements are documented in the status report to the Honorable Stanley Chesler released today in federal court. Judith Meltzer, Deputy Director of the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) and Court Monitor in the case, reported on the system’s progress in a hearing in the U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey.
Among the areas of improved performance for DCF are its child welfare practice and services for older youth in foster care nationwide. As of January 2017, all of the Sustainability and Exit Plan’s (SEP) measures related to older youth were designated as Outcomes “To Be Maintained.” Furthermore, for the first time this reporting period, 100 percent of youth exiting care without achieving permanency had a housing plan upon exit.
In November 2015, CSSP helped to mediate a revision to the court ordered Agreement that recognizes the progress made to date and permits a more intensive focus on the outcomes that remain to be accomplished. SEP requires that the state continue to maintain foundational requirements, demonstrate continued performance on outcomes that have been previously met and move toward achievement of those performance outcomes not yet met. Reports are released to Judge Chesler and the public approximately every six months and the current report covers January to June 2017.
At the start of the monitoring period, DCF met 36 of the 48 performance measures that are part of the court-ordered SEP, with one measure partially achieved. These 36 measures are currently classified as Outcomes “To Be Maintained.” Of the 12 measures still “To Be Achieved,” eight were not assessed in this period because performance for those benchmarks is based on data that are collected and reported annually.
“These are significant milestones and certainly progress has been made,” said Meltzer. “While there remain important outcomes still to be achieved, we recognize that progress has been possible because of DCF’s leadership, the support from the Governor and the legislature and the commitment of its workers and partners to the children in care and their families.”
The progress report for this period is available at https://www.cssp.org/resource/charlie-and-nadine-h-v-christie-monitoring-report-xx-january-11-2018/.