TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Shirley K. Turner and Ronald L. Rice, to expand the responsibilities of the New Jersey Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect, received final legislative approval today in the Senate.
“The Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect has helped New Jersey keep its children safe, but there still are cases of child abuse and neglect, and we need the task force to take on a larger role in protecting child safety,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “Enlisting the task force to educate the public about child abuse and by mobilizing the community to be proactive about child abuse, we are further strengthening our commitment to stop child abuse.”
The bill, S-495, would expand the responsibilities of the New Jersey Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect to provide that the task force would: educate the public about the problems of child abuse and neglect and coordinate activities relating to it; develop a statewide plan to prevent child abuse and neglect and the mechanisms needed to facilitate child abuse and neglect prevention strategies; mobilize citizens and community agencies in a proactive effort to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect; and foster cooperative working relationships between State and local agencies responsible for providing services to victims of child abuse and neglect and their families.
“We have a responsibility to protect our children from any abuse or neglect,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “It’s not enough to form a task force to just study child abuse and neglect. We need to expand the work of the task force so that we can improve the quality and scope of services that DYFS provides. We must transform the task force from being watch dogs to actively participating in child protection.”
The bill now heads to the Governor’s office for enactment.