TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- The state's Children and Families Department has implemented three new training courses and adopted new protocols to help protect workers from violent attacks.


DCF Commissioner Allison Blake told the state Senate's budget committee on Tuesday that workers can now take courses on self-defense, situational awareness and violence de-escalation.

Blake says the department has also increased the use of its "buddy system" for workers in the field and bought them lanyards with panic buttons.

The changes come just months after caseworker Leah Coleman was stabbed and critically injured at a Camden office building.

The attack occurred shortly after Human Services Department police officers had been redeployed. Within days of the attack, the state added armed guards with metal-detecting wands to its offices.

Blake declined further comment, citing ongoing litigation.


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