In the decade between 2007 and 2017, New Jersey made considerable progress in reducing the number of children in foster care who were placed in group homes; the number went from 1,739 (19 percent) to 332 (6 percent). A report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that 94 percent of children in foster care in the Garden State were placed with families rather than in group placements by 2017. That was up from 80 percent in 2007. Nationwide, care systems placed 86 percent of the children with families in 2017, compared with 81 percent in 2007.
“Given the progress New Jersey has already made in reducing reliance on group home or institution care, we can focus on other aspects of the Family First Act such as supportive services to keep children safely at home and services to support successful reunification when children do need to enter foster care,” said Mary Coogan, vice president of Advocates for Children of New Jersey.
Nationwide, the report indicates, there has been little progress getting teenagers out of group placements and into family settings; more than one-third of youngsters in child welfare systems, age 13 and older, lived in group placements in 2017, the same proportion as in 2007.
The number of children in foster care in New Jersey in 2017 was 5,946.