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TRENTON -- Following Governor Murphy's budget address to the Legislature this afternoon, introducing his FY 2022 spending plan, New Jersey Department of Children and Families Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer gave the following remarks on a budget briefing call with contracted service providers:

"Good afternoon and thank you for joining us on today’s all-provider budget briefing, as we discuss the Governor’s proposed FY 2022 spending plan, and what that means for the Department of Children and Families.

"For those of you who were able to view the Governor’s budget address to the Legislature earlier this afternoon, you know that this Administration’s FY 2022 budget proposal represents an historic investment in making New Jersey a stronger and fairer place to grow up or raise a family.

"The Governor is proposing a $44.8 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY 2022) that will help New Jersey build back from the pandemic while moving our great state forward.  

"It’s a future-forward investment blueprint into the programs and services which will make real, tangible differences in the lives of the people we serve through the Department of Children and Families and our contracted partners in service.

"It meets our collective responsibilities as a State government as well as the moral test of government, famously attributed to former Vice President Hubert Humphrey – who noted that government is judged by how it 'treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in shadows of life,' the sick and the at-risk.

"Some highlights from the Governor’s proposed budget include:

  • The budget proposal supports New Jersey’s ongoing, aggressive, and equity-oriented pandemic response and vaccine distribution programs.  Through the Governor’s leadership, we have been able to move New Jersey in the right direction on COVID-19, decreasing hospitalizations, increasing vaccinations, and addressing some of the fall-out from the pandemic, such as the mental health and economic stressors experienced by families in New Jersey.
  • It makes new investments in pre-K through higher education, representing over $1.5 billion in new funding since the Governor took office. Due in part to these investments in our school districts, the Governor’s budgets have contributed to the two lowest three-year property tax increases on record.
  • The Governor’s budget proposal makes new investment in the education infrastructure from pre-K through higher education, creating more opportunities for families to secure a quality education and taking pressure off local property taxes.
  • The Governor’s budget invests in a total continuum of care, from birth through retirement, and makes new investments in child care, health care and housing – addressing many of the material needs that our families face every day.
  • And it does all of this while imposing no new taxes, fees, or toll hikes.

"At a time when New Jersey is recovering from one of the worst revenue shortfalls since the Great Depression, this is a good news budget which helps get our state back on the right fiscal track, and meets families where they are, addressing the challenges they face in living and thriving during a pandemic.

"Specific to the Department of Children and Families, the Governor’s proposed budget continues to support our efforts to transform the child welfare system in the State of New Jersey.

"It fully funds the operational needs of the Department, and annualizes the investment made, during the current fiscal year, to modernize and rebalance rates for the Children’s System of Care, which have not seen an increase in more than a decade. This is a $108 million investment over FY 2020.

"And to be clear, this rate rebalancing will address in-home, in-community and out-of-home services through the Children’s System of Care.  At a time when families are struggling with the social and emotional health effects of the pandemic, this investment couldn’t come at a more opportune time.

"Our Department is continuing to work with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to approve our rate methodology, so we can get this investment into the hands of the provider community as soon as possible.

"The Governor’s proposed budget increases support for domestic violence and sexual violence survivors and the provider networks that serve them.

"It supports our strategic priorities to address ACEs, kinship placements, and systemic racial equity.

"It increases the State investment in our child- and family-serving system by nearly $40 million, and increases the Department’s overall budget – the combination of state and federal dollars that are leveraged for children’s welfare and well-being – beyond $2 billion for the first time in the State’s history, or in our Department’s short history.

"Of course, this budget proposal isn’t a final spending document.

"Today, Governor Murphy addressed the Legislature and the public and presented his budget proposal.

"Over the next several months, we will participate in the Legislative review process as they finalize the FY 2022 budget, and I look forward to those conversations.  I encourage you to connect with your legislators to let them know your position on the budget.

"But all told, this FY 2022 Budget Proposal represents an optimistic and energizing vision for the State of New Jersey.

"Today is really a great day for the State of New Jersey, and I’m looking forward to working with you all, and with the full support of Governor Murphy and his Administration, to make New Jersey a safer, healthier, and more connected place for our residents.  Thank you."

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