Following through on his commitment to make government more responsive and provide a streamlined delivery of services to New Jersey's most vulnerable residents, Governor Christie today signed legislation officially setting in motion commonsense reorganizations of critical state agencies. The reorganization, first proposed as part of the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget, realigns key services and programs of state government -- those serving families, women, children and seniors -- in order to remove barriers to accessibility, provide more complete care through all service offerings, and make government more efficient.
"I have made clear my mission to deliver better government on two fronts -- making it smaller, smartly consolidated and efficient, but also better tailored and integrated to meet the needs of the individual, families and seniors without forcing them to navigate through different places and agencies to obtain the services and help they need," said Governor Christie. "These measures are a critical part of my Administration's continued reforms to government to benefit not only service recipients but all of our state's taxpayers too."
Additionally, Governor Christie moved forward with the integration of all tourism and promotion activities through the expanded role of the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, in another commonsense consolidation of state operations to maximize resources and results for New Jersey taxpayers. This model will not only streamline and simplify tourism resources for visitors, but save money for taxpayers and provide a foundation to strengthen the tourism industry in a strategic and long-term way.
"Our splintered patchwork of tourism promotion programs inside and outside of government have failed to deliver the cohesive, well-oiled approach we need to attract visitors and tourism dollars through a strategic and long-term vision," said Governor Christie. "It is a natural fit to combine these agencies and resources in such a commonsense way to compete with other states and properly showcase what New Jersey has to offer, from Atlantic City to the Jersey Shore to the Highlands."
The reorganization, and the affected departments, are detailed below:
Department of Children and Families
As promised in his February budget address, the Governor today signed S-2070, a reorganization making DCF the single point of entry for all families with children with developmental disabilities, offering them a full range of services inside of a single agency. The bill renames the Division of Youth and Family Services as the Division of Child Protection and Permanency; the Division of Prevention and Community Partnerships as the Division of Family and Community Partnerships; and the Division of Child Behavioral Health Services as the Division of Children's System Care. The bill transfers the Division on Women from the Department of Community Affairs to DCF. Among other things, the bill:
· Establishes that the Division of Children's System Care, within the Department of Children and Families will determine eligibility and provide supports and services for most youth with developmental disabilities under 21 years of age.
· Establishes that the Division of Children's System Care will coordinate, manage, and provide services for the treatment of alcoholism and substance abuse for most adolescents under 21 years of age.
The New Department of Human Services/Division of Aging Services
Governor Christie proposed a similar, comprehensive approach to providing services for seniors, which is embodied in S-2072, also signed into law today. The bill transfers two DHSS Divisions, their administrative support structure, and $2.2 billion in funding to a new Division of Aging Services at the Department of Human Services. Consistent with that move, the Governor's plan renames the Department of Health and Senior Services, simply, the Department of Health.
This commonsense restructuring creates a single point of access for seniors and people with disabilities and their caregivers regardless of Medicaid eligibility. This allows for a continuum of coordinated and integrated disability and long-term care resources which will improve health outcomes, deliver appropriate care in appropriate settings and create the opportunity and the ability for aging adults to remain at home for as long as possible, with proper community based supports.
Included in the move:
· The Division of Senior Benefits and Utilization Management (SBUM), which administers the PAAD and Senior Gold programs.
· The Division of Aging and Community Services (DACS), which administers federal and State funded programs designed to make it easier for seniors and caregivers to live in the community as long as possible with independence, dignity and choice.
The New Department of Health
S-2072 also reorganized the former Department of Health and Senior Services to sharpen the focus of the new Department of Health on the comprehensive coordination of hospital subsidy programs, Health Information Technology (HIT) and key public health issues.
· Transfers the Graduate Medical Education and Hospital Relief Subsidy Fund programs from the Department of Human Services to the Department of Health to enhance the Department's efforts to make hospital funding more predictable and transparent.
· The Department will continue to license and inspect all health care facilities, provide consumer report cards on health care quality, ensure the safety of food, monitor communicable diseases and respond to public health emergencies.
Sports & Exposition Authority and Tourism, Motion Picture Commission
Governor Christie signed reorganization legislation making the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority (NJSEA) a key agency in all government tourism and promotion activities. Under A-3097, approved today, a realigned NJSEA, working in partnership and collaboration with the Division of Travel and Tourism and the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission, will coordinate economic development and promotional and marketing efforts related to tourism, entertainment, sports, and all related activities. To improve synergies, the NJSEA will now officially be a part of the Department of State (rather than the Department of Community Affairs), where it will not only partner with the Division of Travel and Tourism and the New Jersey Motion Picture Television Commission, but also work in close collaboration with the Business Action Center and the Office of Foreign Investment and Protocol.