TRENTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and the author of legislation creating the Department of Children and Families from New Jersey’s child safety and family support programs, issued the following statement today regarding the bill’s signing into law by Governor Corzine:
“Today, New Jersey’s child safety net is that much stronger, as the new Department of Children and Families stands at the ready for our most vulnerable kids.
“This new standalone department in State government will ensure that child safety and family support remain a top priority for New Jersey far into the future.
“It also brings efforts to reform our State’s DYFS system to a new plateau. While we’ve been able to achieve much in terms of bringing accountability and responsibility to DYFS, a new cabinet-level department focused solely on kids will push us further down the path towards seamless child protection.
“And putting DYFS in the hands of a new department will free up the Department of Human Services to key their attention on mental health programs, health care for the economically disadvantaged, and any number of other worthy State initiatives that have fallen secondary to DYFS reform.
“Ultimately, the biggest winners here are the kids we serve. A vast majority of DYFS caseworkers are committed to watching out for those children who are most in need, who live in abusive or negligent homes and who need a guardian angel to ensure their best interests. With a new Department, dedicated resources, and a renewal of mission, these caseworkers will be better-equipped to make sure that no child falls through the cracks ever again.”