A new report by the federal monitor overseeing improvements being made within Jersey’s child welfare system finds progress is being made, but problems remain.

Judith Meltzer of The Center for the Study of Social Policy says “20 of the phase 2 performance measures have been met…there is significant progress in some places where we can really point to sustained positive outcomes for kids – the health care outcomes for children across the board are good, more children are placed with families, there’s no longer the problem of kids waiting in offices to find a placement- that just doesn’t exist anymore.”

At the same time Meltzer is voicing concern about a spike in caseloads for field workers over the past 6 months, and a cut in funding for the New Jersey Department of Children and Families.

Marcia Lowry, the Executive Director of the group Children’s Rights also expressed concern, saying “New Jersey has shown it is capable of producing substantial change, so it is alarming that several years into the reform effort the Department of Children and Families is still failing at engaging with vulnerable families - it is critical for caseworkers to make coordinated efforts to achieve safety, permanency and well-being for the whole family.”

A court appointed monitor has been overseeing changes at what is now the Department of Children and Families for the past 6 years, following a series of high profile incidents involving children under the care of DYFS being abused and neglected.