The New Jersey Department of Children and Families is dedicated to becoming a trauma-informed child welfare system. We recognize that:
· A child entering the child welfare system has likely been exposed to at least one traumatic event in his/her life;
· Child welfare workers have an elevated risk for developing work-related secondary traumatic stress, burnout, and/or vicarious trauma;
· Chronic exposure to trauma without adequate support or help to overcome its effects can lead to emotional, physical, and behavioral health problems in children and adults;
· The need to be trauma-informed in the delivery of services is a major public health initiative and has become a national priority.
You may recall DCF partnered with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC) this past year to conduct an organizational trauma readiness assessment for the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P). Many of our providers were included in the process. This assessment identified CP&P’s strengths and areas of need regarding trauma-informed practices and policies.
The assessment’s executive summary is available on our website. It outlines the assessment’s process and findings. It also includes an overview of recommendations. We plan to build upon our strengths to enhance and refine current trauma-informed practice, while identifying strategies to integrate the recommendations into our work. We look forward to updating you on these efforts going forward.
Dr. Allison Blake, Commissioner
NJ Department of Children & Families