TRENTON – State Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding today’s budget panel hearing on the FY 2008 Budget for the Department of Children and Families (DCF):
“As recently as two years ago, DYFS was an agency in crisis. The protection safeguards for kids at risk of abuse and neglect had broken down almost completely. Children and families fell through the cracks routinely, and tragic failures were reported with disturbing frequency in our State’s media.
“Today, the Department of Children and Families has made a 180 degree turnaround, and is moving by leaps and bounds in the right direction to ensure the protection of children in need.
“The State has vastly increased the resources available for families seeking assistance, as well as families and individuals seeking to help. The DCF has proven to be good stewards of our tax dollars, providing real results for our increased investment.
“The Department has continually exceeded my expectations in meeting the needs of our State’s most vulnerable children. They have exceeded the expectations of advocates, who for so long looked at New Jersey’s safety net for at-risk kids with a critical eye. I hope we can continue with the necessary progress to reform the damaged and now-defunct DYFS, so that we can ensure that no child in New Jersey has to live in fear.”