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ACNJ Enews

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Advocates for Children of New Jersey

ACNJ Enews
August 2014

NJ shows mixed result on child protection reforms

While New Jersey has made progress in improving its child protection system, it would be ill‐advised to relax court‐ordered standards aimed at safeguarding children from abuse and neglect, according to a new report from Advocates for Children of New Jersey.
Using data from the federal court-appointed monitor’s reports issued over the past few years, the report found long-term progress in some important areas, including providing children in foster care with consistent access to health care, including dental, and placing children in family foster care settings, among other areas.

However, the state still falls short in critical areas of case handling, which are necessary to protect children from harm and safely reunify families. This includes holding meaningful meetings with families and others involved in a child’s life and developing effective plans to help families address the issues that led to a child being placed in foster care.

Read release.

Read the report.

Two decades of progress for NJ Kids

Over two decades, the health and well-being of New Jersey children has improved in many key areas, from more children attending preschool, fewer 4th graders failing reading tests and more teens graduating on time from high school, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 25th edition of its annual KIDS COUNT Data Book.

Since 1990, New Jersey also saw substantial declines in the percent of uninsured children, child and teen deaths, births to teenagers and children living in families where the head of the household lacks a high school diploma.

“This is great news, as we celebrate more than two decades of publishing state Kids Count reports,” said Cecilia Zalkind, executive director, Advocates for Children of New Jersey. “It proves that measuring the well-being of our children can lead to positive change, ensuring that more children grow up safe, healthy and educated.”

View NJ’s Profile

Read the news release

An action plan for early literacy

In early 2014, ACNJ convened a diverse group of more than 50 early childhood stakeholders to create a plan for creating an effective early learning system so that all children read on target by 3rd grade.
This group identified major barriers to effective early education from preschool through 3rd grade (known as PreK-3rd) and developed concrete recommendations to address those issues.

Key recommendations included mandating full-day kindergarten, ensuring effective transitions from preschool to kindergarten and during the early elementary years, strengthening academic and professional development for teachers and school administrators, using assessment data to drive instructional changes and establishing a commission to study the costs of expanding preschool and mandating full-day kindergarten.

ACNJ continues to work with these stakeholders to advance these changes for New Jersey’s youngest learners.

Read the report.