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Turner: DCF Making Progress On Reducing Out-Of-State Placement, But More Still Needs To Be Done

TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner, D-Mercer, released the following statement today regarding this afternoon’s Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing with Acting Commissioner Eileen Crummy of the State Department of Children and Families:

“Over the past few years, I have repeatedly expressed my belief that DYFS (the Division of Youth and Family Services) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) must strive to greatly reduce their number of out-of-state placements in order to preserve and maintain families. I am glad to hear that progress has finally been made in this area.

“News that the number of out-of-state placements has shrunk by more than a third shows that DCF has begun to take the necessary steps for finding and developing facilities in New Jersey that can address all of the emotional and behavioral challenges that face these children. But there are still 205 children now living in other states who need to be brought back to New Jersey as soon as possible so that their families can be involved in their treatment and their lives.

“Additionally the $12 million in cost savings the State will realize from the decreased number of out-of-state placements makes it clear that this policy is not only good for families, but also for New Jersey’s bottom line.

“It is vitally important that children are near their families and we should make sure that we have the resources available to bring kids back to New Jersey whenever possible. In a state with a population as large and diverse as ours, there is little reason why we can’t provide critical services for all children right here.”