TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner, D-Mercer, made the following statement today after hearing testimony given to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee by Human Services Commissioner James Davy:
“Last year, the Department of Human Services said about 240 youngsters were placed out of state for residential treatment and that there was a commitment to reducing that number and placing more youngsters ‘in state’ and into less restrictive treatment settings. But last week, the Department said there were still 223 youngsters in out of state residential treatment.
“It is obvious that we have to work harder to reduce this number at a faster rate. Many of the families of these children find it close to impossible to visit these facilities in other states. I have received numerous calls from parents in my district who want to be involved in their child’s rehabilitation, but don’t have the means to travel out of state and be part of the process.
“It is promising to know that the Department is moving forward to add another 96 beds this year for New Jersey youth needing residential treatment. We must be vigilant, however, in ensuring that these new facilities come online as quickly as possible.”