Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System: The New Jersey Natural Parent Support Program . 2.3 Relationship with Other Agencies

12/01/2001

Communication between DYFS staff and the NPSP program staff is a big challenge for the program. DYFS and Catholic Charities appear to be taking this seriously and have established a number of key features to facilitate communication. NPSP and DYFS hold their regular staff planning sessions every 7 or 8 weeks to discuss problems and issues encountered between agencies or in serving families. These meetings have succeeded in identifying potential problems before they became real problems and in keeping communication open between the agencies. Moreover, DYFS RDSs, who are liaisons between DYFS and NPSP keep in touch with the NPSP supervisor to work out any problem situations encountered. And despite potential tensions between DYFS and NPSP workers, particularly given the high caseloads maintained by DYFS workers, both DYFS and NPSP workers find time to work together to locate the services and resources needed for families.

The NPSP workers and DYFS case managers try to meet quarterly to discuss their mutual cases. In addition, NPSP workers provide DYFS case managers with a written report on cases every month (30 days), and communicate with DYFS about their cases on an ongoing basis. The NPSP staff do their best to effectively communicate with DYFS workers and with RDSs.

Prior to ASFA, the courts seemed less likely to expedite cases and resign to permanency options other than reunification. Now, the courts are on board with the new timelines and are moving more quickly through the process of expediting permanency for children.