The federal monitor overseeing changes being made by the Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services - DYFS - says the Agency is making good progress in a number of areas, but more work remains.

Judith Meltzer – in testimony before the Assembly Human Services Committee this morning – said more kids are being adopted and placed in foster care than in the past, because “DCF has recruited and maintained hundreds of new resource parents each year – exceeding its targets and making it possible to place nearly 90 percent of children with family caregivers.”

She also told members of the panel “children in DYFS custody now have regular and timely access to medical assessments, immunizations and early periodic screenings  – coordinated through the work of nurses who are now in each local office.”

At the same time Meltzer pointed out DYFS needs to improve how it carries out investigations, more

family team meetings need to be held on a regular basis, and services to older youth need to be enhanced and expanded, but overall “New Jersey has achieved notable progress.”

Federal monitoring of DYFS began after a lawsuit was filed more than a decade ago by a child advocate group, after several high profile child abuse cases were reported in the Garden state.