The NJ Child Welfare Data Map

New Jersey Child Welfare Data Map - Variable Definitions

The New Jersey Child Welfare Data Map provides an interface for individuals to explore many aspects of child welfare and children’s system of care programs in New Jersey and provides other useful information such as: the estimated population under 18, the estimated population under 5, the rate of substance abuse admissions, the unemployment rate, the number of children in poverty, and chronic absenteeism that are intended to provide social and economic context for children in New Jersey. The contextual data on the left side of the map lags the child welfare data on the right side of the map by one year, as the data sources for those variables are not available in the same timeframe. Yet, when considering potential interactions between social and economic contexts and the children and families served by New Jerseyʼs child serving systems, it is informative to look at the contextual data from earlier years as a potential contributor to child outcomes.

In an effort to ensure our users understand the data presented, we have provided definitions for clarification purposes.


Child Population Under 18 Years

The Population Under 18  variable represents the estimated number of children under eighteen (18) years of age as of July 1 of a given year, for a specified geographic area. Population estimates were retrieved from the U.S. Census Bureauʼs American Community Survey 1-Year Population Estimates for the years 2014 through 2018. For more information regarding the population estimates, including methodology visit the U.S. Census Bureau.


Child Population Under 5 Years

The Population Under 5  variable represents the estimated number of children under five (5) years of age as of July 1 of a given year, for a specified geographic area. Population estimates were retrieved from the U.S. Census Bureauʼs American Community Survey 1-Year Population Estimates for the years 2014 through 2018. For more information regarding the population estimates, including methodology visit the U.S. Census Bureau.


Substance Abuse Adult Admissions Rate per 100,000

The Substance Abuse Adult Admissions Rate  variable represents the rate of substance abuse admissions per 100,000 individuals of the estimated general population statewide and by county. Substance abuse rates were retrieved from the New Jersey Department of Health, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services Statistical Reports, 2014-2018. For more information regarding the substance abuse rates, including methodology visit the New Jersey Department of Health, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services..

Substance abuse individuals served is defined by the diagnosis of a substance use disorder according to the criteria established in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fifth Edition (DSM-5), for individuals admitted after November 10, 2015. Prior to November 10, 2015, substance abuse individuals served was defined by the diagnosis of a substance abuse or substance dependency disorder according to the criteria established in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition (DSM-IV).


Unemployment Rate

The Unemployment Rate  variable represents the percentage of individuals in the civilian labor force who are unemployed (not seasonally adjusted). Unemployment statistics were retrieved from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) Map for the years 2014 through 2018. For more information regarding the LAUS, including the methodology and a comparison between unemployment statistics, visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Children in Poverty

The Children in Poverty  variable represents the number of children under 18 years of age, for whom poverty status is determined, in families whose income falls below the federal poverty line. Child poverty estimates were retrieved from the U.S. Census Bureauʼs American Community Survey 1-Year Population Estimates for the years 2014 through 2018. For more information regarding the child poverty estimates, including the methodology visit the U.S. Census Bureau.


Chronic Absenteeism

The Chronic Absenteeism  variable represents the average percentage of children enrolled in schools who are chronically absent from school. Chronically absent students are those missing 10% or more of total enrolled school days, including suspensions and both excused and unexcused absences. Chronic absenteeism rates were retrieved from the Advocates for Children of New Jersey - Kids Count Data Dashboards and Community Profiles for the years 2014 through 2018. Year 2014 absenteeism data was retrieved from the 2016 County Profile Report. Year 2015 absenteeism data was retrieved from the 2017 County Profile Report. Year 2016 absenteeism data was retrieved from the 2018 County Profile Report. Year 2017 absenteeism data was retrieved from the New Jersey Kids Count 2019 Data Dashboard.

Years shown on the map are the year in which the school year ends. For example, 2017 percentages are for the 2016 to 2017 school year.

**Note: At the time of update, Advocates for Children of New Jersey data reports for the 2017-2018 school year were not yet available. This data will be updated after data are made available by ACNJ.

For more information regarding chronic absenteeism in New Jersey, visit Advocates for Children of New Jersey Data Dashboards and County Profiles..


The NJ Child Welfare Data Map

Child Welfare Variables

All other variables not previously discussed and presented on the New Jersey Child Welfare Data Map are from child welfare reports generated using source data from the New Jersey Statewide Protective Investigation, Report and Information Tool, also known as NJ SPIRIT. This database is maintained by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) and serves as the State Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS).

The following child welfare variables are presented on the New Jersey Child Welfare Data Map:

Hotline Referrals:  This number represents counts of Child Abuse and Neglect Reports and Child Welfare Referrals assigned to CP&P Local Offices only. It does not include reports/referrals assigned to other entities within DCF.

CP&P Children Served:  This number represents children served by CP&P only. It does not include all children served by other entities within DCF.

All Entries:  This number represents children under eighteen (18) years of age entering out-of-home placements.

Placement Rates (All Entries):  This figure represents the rate of children entering foster care, per 1,000 of the estimated population under eighteen (18). Population estimates of the population under eighteen (18) were used to calculate rates and were retrieved from the Easy Access to Juvenile Populations data portal. For more information regarding population estimates from the Easy Access to Juvenile Populations data portal, including the methodology, visit the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Placement with Relatives (As of the last day of the year):  This figure represents the percentage of children under twenty-one (21) years of age placed with relatives.

All Sibling Groups Placed Together (First time Entries):  This figure represents the percentage of all sibling groups entering out of home placements and placed together.


The NJ Childrenʼs System of Care Data Map

Childrenʼs System of Care Variables

The New Jersey Childrenʼs System of Care Data Map presents the child behavioral health and disability reports using source data from the Childrenʼs System of Care database, also known as CYBER. This database is maintained by PerformCare, a behavioral health contracted system administrator providing services to DCF.

The following child behavioral health and disability variables are presented on the New Jersey Childrenʼs System of Care Data Map:

Mobile Response Dispatches:  This number represents all mobile response dispatches within a calendar year. Mobile Response provides 24/7 assistance when a child’s emotional or behavioral health challenges threaten their own wellbeing or the stability of their current living arrangements and offers face-to-face crisis intervention within one hour of being notified. A youth may have multiple dispatches within the timeframe. All individual dispatches are counted.

DD Eligible Youth:  This number represents all youth eligible for Intellectual or Developmental Disability services within a calendar year. Developmental Disabilities include a broad range of chronic and/or lifelong disabilities that can be intellectual, physical, or both. Many of these conditions affect multiple body parts or systems.

Active Youth:  This number represents all active youth in CSOC, based on an active authorization for service(s), within a calendar year.

Youth in OOH Treatment:  This number represents all youth admitted to Out of Home treatment (behavioral health, substance use, and developmentally and intellectually disabled) within a calendar year. Out of Home treatment is a public or private residential treatment program that provides 24/7 care and treatment for children, youth, and young adults who require the highest intensity of services.

Total Calls to PerformCare:  This number represents all call data to PerformCare for the calendar year.


Abbreviation Definitions

BLS: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

CP&P: Child Protection and Permanency, a Division within the New Jersey Department of Children and Families

CSOC: Childrenʼs System of Care

CYBER: Childrenʼs System of Careʼs electronic behavioral health record, currently known as CYBER.

DCF: Department of Children and Families

DD: Developmental Disabilities

DSM-5: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition

DSM-IV: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition.

LAUS: Local Area Unemployment Statistic

NJ SPIRIT: New Jersey Statewide Protective Investigation, Reporting and Information Tool

NJCEDV: New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence

NJSAMS: New Jersey Substance Abuse Monitoring System

OOH: Out of Home