(TRENTON) – Assembly Appropriations Chairwoman Nellie Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen) released the following statement Wednesday as the Assembly Budget Committee heard from the Department of Children and Families:

“Gov. Christie’s plan to abolish the child advocate is a wrong move for New Jersey.

“In response to the tragic child fatalities of the early 2000s, I was a primary sponsor of bipartisan legislation that created the Office of the Child Advocate to protect children in state care. These are children living in – or at risk of living in – foster homes, residential treatment and the like.

“While New Jersey’s child welfare system has improved dramatically since the office was established in 2003, hard work still remains. A September 2009 report still showed poor results, with the child welfare system failing to meet 25 of 45 federal standards and problems remaining in protecting children, finding stable homes and meeting educational and health needs.

“Even in tough economic times, cutting this office is regressive and destructive.

“If we cannot remember our all-too-recent past, we are doomed to repeat it. And repeating our past as it relates to child fatalities is a cost that none of us should be complacent enough to accept.”

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