Report On NJ Foster Care System Raises Alarms [AUDIO]
A new report finds New Jersey is not doing enough to protect young children in the foster care system.
The report by Advocates For Children of New Jersey found that young children represent a majority of children in supervision by the state, 25% are three years-old and younger, 34% are in placement.
"The more compelling result is 80% of children in foster care who died from abuse and neglect were three years old or younger," said Ceil Zalkind, executive director of Advocates For Children Of New Jersey. "We started to look at specifics, with this very high percentage of children in placement, does the state do enough to meet their needs and what we discovered is no, not really," she added.
Zalkind is calling on the state to do more.
"They should look at retraining employees, requiring more visits between foster kids and their parents and they should provide greater oversight for employees when monitoring the safety of babies and toddlers."
She says they would also like to see the state Legislature get involved.
"There may be an opportunity for legislation to require the state to report data on what's happening to young children. Right now it's not reported by age and that would be very helpful."
The Department Of Children and Families did not return a call seeking comment.
"They were informed of the report, we hope to start a conversation about the findings over the next couple of days," said Zalkind.