Poverty and the Child Welfare System



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 articles and videos in this section illustrate some of the challenges in this area and the efforts underway to address them.

image of father and child Listen Up! Serving Families by Centering the Client Voice
This LSNJ-produced video was created for the 2022 Family Unification Day celebration in June 2022. It captures two clients’ journeys and highlights the importance of hearing and responding to the needs of parents.

Watch this video



image of mother and child Supporting and Preserving Families Webinar Series

Part I: Reimagining the Foster Parent System, February 23, 2021
Part II: Substance Use in the Child Welfare System, August 12, 2021


image of married couple Reimagining the Resource Parent System
Rethinking the role of resource parents so that they support the reunification process can reduce unnecessary anxiety and improve outcomes for children and families involved in the child welfare system.

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image of LSNJ client interview Parent Ally Program Supports Prevention and Prepetition Efforts
Iesha is LSNJ’s first “parent ally,” the first position of its kind in New Jersey. She works with LSNJ’s Family Representation Project to prevent removals resulting from poverty-induced circumstances.

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text and drawing of a heart LSNJ’s Reunified Youth Foster Forum
Created in the spring of 2020, LSNJ's Reunified Youth Foster Forum gives former foster youth an opportunity to share their unique perspective on the needs of youth while in foster care.

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image of girl wearing mask Visitation in the Time of COVID-19
In-person family visits for children in out-of-home placements are crucial steps on the path to family reunification. Even more importantly, these visits are essential to children’s health and wellbeing.

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image of family walking from behind Celebrating Reunification Starts with Understanding What Keeps Families Together
Nationally, 437,283 children entered foster care in 2018. The case plan goal was reunification for 56% of the cases opened. In New Jersey, approximately 50% of children who enter foster care will be reunified with their parents.

View Pino's story View this article



image of drawing of a family We are the Lucky Ones: Reunification Stories by Former Foster Youth
In honor of national Reunification Month 2020, LSNJ has collected powerful stories of individuals who entered the child welfare system when they were children and were eventually returned to their parents. Read what these youth have to say:
Diana  Indira  Terrell  Titus



Strong Families image Strong and Thriving Families National Conference
On April 25, 2019, LSNJ attorney Jey Rajaraman participated in the 21st National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, Strong and Thriving Families, in Washington, DC. Ms. Rajaraman was joined by a former LSNJ client and resource parents to discuss the important role resource parents play in facilitating family reunification. The full panel discussion, “Promoting Partnerships Between Parents and Resource Families,” can be viewed on the Administration’s website at


image of forum participants Keep Families Together Forum
In September 2018, 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.

View Pino's story View this article



Family Unification Day

LSNJ has also produced a series of videos for Family Unification Day, an annual event that honors reunified families and the systems that support them. Each video highlights a different aspect of the child welfare system, such as visitation, education, and housing. The playlist below includes videos from 2013 to the present.