About this Episode

In this episode, LSNJ attorney Jey Rajaraman discusses recent federal emphasis on preventive services in the child welfare system and state and local efforts to help low-income families remain intact. She is joined by Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau Jerry Milner, to discuss the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018 and the resulting increased flexibility of Title IV-E funds.

Despite local and national efforts to ensure that children are not removed from their parents for reasons of financial insecurity, estimates suggest the majority of children in foster care come from low-income households, and racial and ethnic minorities are significantly over-represented in the system. For this reason, LSNJ has long viewed involvement with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) as a special concern to people in poverty in New Jersey. The statewide Legal Services system in New Jersey has provided free legal aid and advocacy to low-income parents in child welfare cases for more than 50 years, and promoted policies that strengthen and preserve families, primarily through LSNJ’s Family Representation Project (FRP).

Each year, the LSNJ FRP celebrates reunified families as part of the nationwide American Bar Association Family Reunification effort. The interview with Jerry Milner included in this podcast took place in anticipation of the 2018 Family Unification Day Celebration. Video excerpts of this interview as well as the full video of the client story referenced in this podcast, other highlights of the day, and advocacy videos from prior years' celebrations can be viewed on our website at www.lsnj.org/FamilyUnificationDay2018.

LSNJ also hosted a Keep Families Together Forum in September 2018, whereby Jerry Milner and David P. Kelly of the Children's Bureau, traveled from Washington, D.C. to meet with four LSNJ clients who told of their experiences with the child welfare system. The parents in attendance were invited to share their stories and suggestions for improving the child welfare system. Coverage of this event, including video of the clients’ testimony, can be viewed at https://www.lsnj.org/PovertyInFocus.aspx?v=Jerry.

Music Provided By:
Kevin MacLeod - Backed Vibes Clean - http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kevin_MacLeod/
Nheap - 02 - 5 March - http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Nheap/
Split Phase - 40 - Catching_Glitter http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Split_Phase/