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Allison Blake, PhD, LSW
Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families

Commissioner Allison Blake has led the New Jersey Department of Children and Families since June 2010.

As commissioner, she leads an integrated and strategic approach to serving children and families.  This approach embraces the parent and youth’s active participation in developing their case plans and encourages their ideas on how the department can improve.  It also relies on developing partnerships between the department and individual community-based programs to deliver family-centered services to vulnerable children and families.

Elevating the Office of Adolescent Services to a department-level office, Dr. Blake introduced a new strategic plan to guide the department’s work with youth transitioning to adulthood.  This led to more transitional housing, internships, and financial literacy programs for these youth.  It has also informed practice improvements and helped New Jersey respond to human trafficking.

Dr. Blake introduced the department’s continuous quality improvement program, first creating a department-level performance management and accountability office to help the department become a self-correcting, transparent organization.  Dr. Blake later introduced a leadership development plan to teach mid-level staff to use data to identify and address child abuse and neglect trends.

Dr. Blake helped lead New Jersey’s recovery from Superstorm Sandy, guiding the state's recovery efforts for women, children, and families.  She spearheaded efforts to better prepare child-serving organizations for natural disasters and improve sheltering strategies for children and their families.

In the storm’s aftermath, Dr. Blake has been active in building partnerships and enhancing collaborative efforts that embrace a public health approach and emphasize trauma-informed care for those touched by the storm’s devastation.  In recognition of her efforts, Dr. Blake was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters in 2014.

For nearly 30 years, Dr. Blake has been working on behalf of children and families, and the social workers who serve them. Prior to rejoining state service she was director of the Institute for Families at the Rutgers School of Social Work, where she oversaw a portfolio of grants and contracts aimed at strengthening families.  She was vice president of accreditation operations for the Council on Accreditation and for 18 years served what was then the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services.  She is a board member of the Child Welfare League of America. 

Dr. Blake earned a B.S. from University of Dayton, an M.S. from Rutgers University, and a Ph.D. from Fordham University, each in social work.

 

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