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Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer (D-Essex/Union) today called Governor Christie’s elimination of funding for an Essex County shelter for abused children a clear example of his misplaced priorities.

In using the line-item veto, Christie eliminated $537,000, or roughly 75 percent, of the funding for the Wynona M. Lipman Child Advocacy Center in Essex County, which serves children who have been sexually and physically abused.

“This cut by the Governor shows a callous indifference to the plight of some of our most vulnerable,” said Spencer. “This center has been a beacon of hope for thousands of children who have been subjected to unimaginable horrors. I don’t blame the Governor for refusing to defend his cuts because many, like this one, are indefensible.

Named after the late State Senator Wynona Lipman, the center serves more than 1,000 Essex County children each year by providing a central location for law enforcement, mental health professionals and medical and child welfare professionals to treat victims and assist their families. In doing so, the center estimates that it saves the state roughly $1,000 per case as a result of service coordination and specialized training.

“This is an outstanding organization that provides invaluable services to abused children and their families. The Governor’s priorities are clearly misplaced if he is going to claim that we can’t afford this, while giving tax breaks to millionaires and sitting on a very healthy surplus. My heart breaks for these children and I only hope that we can find a way to secure funding to make sure that the Wynona Lipman Center survives to continue the good fight on behalf of the children of Essex County,” added Spencer.