To streamline services addressing issues affecting early childhood and child care, Assembly Democrats Yvonne Lopez, Shanique Speight, Linda Carter, and Carol Murphy sponsor legislation to create the Department of Early Childhood, which would oversee programs and functions related to children from pregnancy to age eight. The Assembly Women and Children Committee advanced the bill on Thursday.
The bill (A-4178) would make programs and services more accessible by transferring responsibilities related to the early childhood age group from the Departments of Education, Human Services, Children and Families, and Health to the new Department of Early Childhood, which would exist within the State’s executive branch.
The new department would oversee programs and services such as subsidized child care, WIC breastfeeding services, and Family Success Centers.
Upon committee approval of the measure, Assemblywomen Lopez (D-Middlesex), Speight (D-Essex), Carter (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union), and Murphy (D-Burlington) issued the following joint statement:
“By creating a new department specifically designed to oversee state programs and services related to early childhood, we can ensure a laser focus on the needs of New Jersey’s children, parents, and child care providers.
“Bringing these programs together under one department will allow us to approach issues affecting young children as effectively and efficiently as possible. With this bill, we will be able to better assist New Jersey families and provide a more united approach to connecting young children with services to help them during their formative years.”
The bill now heads to the Speaker for further consideration.