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Burzichelli: Lack of Funding for Mental Health Puts Individuals Who Need Treatment, Public Safety at Risk

(TRENTON) – Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem) released the following statement concerning the lack of funding for the involuntary outpatient commitment program, which was supposed to be implemented in every New Jersey county by this year under the Involuntary Outpatient Commitment to Treatment Law, during today’s Assembly Budget Committee hearing:

“We were late to implement this law, we still don’t have the program in all the counties as mandated by the law, and we are not appropriating the necessary funds so that this program can meet its mission, which is to help individuals who need mental health services. This is a recipe for failure.

“The Legislature tried to allocate the additional funding needed to run the program as planned, but that attempt was blocked by the governor. Not only are we not meeting our statutory requirement; we are putting these individuals and the general public at risk. This is now a public safety concern. If we are sincere about helping these individuals and addressing mental health issues, we must implement this law as it was intended, not as halfheartedly as we are doing now.”