TRENTON — A federal monitor reported Wednesday that the state's child welfare system has made improvements across six important areas, and state officials say that is moving the Department of Children and Families closer to ending years of federal oversight.

The report from the Center for the Study of Social found the DCF has satisfied all performance measures on caseloads and in areas at the earliest stage of a family's involvement with the child welfare system. It's also in substantial compliance with the child abuse and neglect investigations quality requirement.

The monitor also praised DCF's success in reducing intake worker caseloads and completing case plans when a child enters out-of-home care.

New Jersey has been overhauling its child-welfare system under federal supervision since 2003 following the discovery of the mummified remains of a 7-year-old boy in the basement of a Newark apartment, and then, later that year, the discovery of four boys found starving in Collingswood because their adoptive mother withheld food.

The agency funds and directly provides services and support to more than 100,000 women, children, and families each month.

"It takes dedicated intake workers, adoption staff, and permanency caseworkers to effectively serve our state's vulnerable children and families," DCF Commissioner Allison Blake said. "These professionals work face-to-face with families every day, helping them succeed and ensuring children are safe and protected. Without them and their selfless efforts, reaching these new milestones would have been impossible."

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