BY TOM HESTER SR.
Troubled by questions about her professional background, Dr. Janet Rosenzweig, the acting commissioner of the state Department of Children and Families, Friday quit Gov. Chris Christie’s cabinet.
She told Christie the controversy surrounding her nomination as commissioner was “distracting from the important work of the department.’’
Rosenzweig was acting chief of the department since February after she was one of Christie's last cabinet nominations. Her nomination was initially approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in March. But the nomination was returned to the committee for reconsideration after senators raised questions about he role with the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Some of the legislators questioned what they saw as the organization’s seemingly weak stance on the issue of sex between adults and children.Rosenzweig told senators that she worked part-time as the organization’s director and did not handle research or policy. “I am unequivocally opposed to sexual encounters between adults and children,’’ she said. “I have spent my career working to ensure that doesn’t happen.’’
Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), a member of the Judiciary Committee, told The Star-Ledger that she was informed by Christie that Rosenzweig withdrew for “personal reasons’’ and “she was tired of the process.’’
Rosenzweig is the first cabinet nominee not to win the approval of the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Christie said he has accepted Rosenzweig’s withdrawal with regret.
“I want to sincerely thank Janet for her service and dedication to our state’s children, for whom she is obviously a zealous advocate,” he said. “I am proud of the nomination I made, and I wish Janet the best in her professional career.”
Before joining the administration, Rosenzweig was a consultant, specializing in health, human services and social administration. But her primary job was as the contracted director of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, which she described as a professional membership organization, and publisher of the peer-reviewed journals, The Journal of Sex Research and the Annual Review of Sex Research.
Other assignments included public health analysis for a pharmaceutical company and teaching in Harvard University’s Kennedy School non-credit communications program. Rosenzweig was also a visiting associate professor at the Montclair State University Center for Child Advocacy, where she taught graduate courses on child advocacy.
From September 2001 until July 2007, Rosenzweig was the director for Prevent Child Abuse, NJ. As the chief operating officer of the New Jersey affiliate of PCA-America; she managed multiple statewide early childhood/family support programs, including Healthy Families Visiting, Abbot Pre-school services and Parents as Teachers.
Prior to her work with Prevent Child Abuse, Rosenzweig was director of the Mercer County Department of Human Services. She was elected chairwoman of the State Association of County Human Service Directors in 1994 and held the position until 2001.
Rosenzweig also held teaching positions at numerous institutions including Rider University, The College of New Jersey, Rutgers University and Penn State University. She received her degree and masters at Penn State, her PhD in social work from Rutgers and her MPA from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard.
Here is the full text of Rosenzweig’s letter to the governor: