(Policy Page)

Goal: All children will be free from abuse or neglect in safe, permanent homes.

Since its inception, ACNJ has labored to ensure that children are safe from abuse and neglect. When children are abused or neglected, the state must work quickly to help families address the problems that led to placement in foster care. If that is not possible, then the state must find permanent, loving homes for these children in a timely manner.

For the past five years, New Jersey has been under a federal court order to reform its child protection system. That effort has resulted in smaller caseloads for child protection workers, more foster homes and an increase in adoptions.

Now, New Jersey is facing some of its greatest challenges in finally fixing this critical system. It must change the way cases are handled to be more focused on a family’s strength and on preventing abuse and neglect. ACNJ works to monitor this progress in various ways, including participation on several oversight panels, conducting its own research and using data to measure progress.

ACNJ advocates to ensure:

      All children are safe from abuse or neglect.
      Families receive preventive and treatment services so parents can protect and care for their children.
      Children are safe in out-of-home placement and are well-cared for in all respects.
      Children return to their own families or move to permanent ones as quickly as safely possible.

ACNJ is not a first responder. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call the New Jersey child abuse hotline at 877-652-2973.

If you are having trouble with a case handled by the Department of Children and Families, including the Division of Youth and Family Services and Division of Child Behavior Health, call the department's Office of Advocacy at 877-543-7864. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or email at askDCF@dcf.state.nj.us.