Those concerned with the safety of children in state custody should note that The NJ Administrative Office of the Courts has issued a directive which, will make it impossible for volunteer Child Placement Review Boards to function as required by state laws to be an independent check on the care of NJ foster children. These boards follow children while in state custody, taking hours to review reports from case workers, counselors, psychologists, physicians, and the courts. They interview case workers, parents, foster parents, and the children to confirm that services ordered by the courts and recommended by their physicians and counselors, are provided. They identify problems which slip through the cracks , provide reports to the court, and call for summary court hearings when necessary.
Limiting CPR boards to a single review when a child enters state custody increases the chance for dangerous oversights such as occurred prior to the laws establishing independent review were established. It will place an extra burden on the courts since the plan depends on far more frequent judicial review (every two months or more) of every case). Unless the number of family court judges and the size of their staffs is increased substantially they would have insufficient time for the thorough reviews that the law , and these children’s welfare demand.
This decision was made without any consultation with the Child Placement Advisory Council, DYFS or the Legislature.
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