Legislation to create a council on child welfare and social service to develop a statement child poverty reduction plan is advancing through the Senate, according to Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Paulsboro) and Assemblywoman Elease Evans (D-Paterson), the sponsors of the bill, A-1411.
An Association for Children in New Jersey "Kids Count" report suggested that no progress had been made in raising families out of poverty and near-poverty during the past five years. It also found the rates of children living at all levels of poverty have remained static.
"With one-in-four single parent families in New Jersey living below the poverty line, we need to create an action plan to lift people up," said Burzichelli. "Our working families can barely survive on these incomes."
The bill would establish a 25-member New Jersey Council on Child Poverty to "examine the policies, procedures and operations of state and local government agencies and community-based organizations that provide services to children and families living in poverty, develop a 10-year plan to reduce the number of children living in poverty in the State by 50 percent and monitor the implementation of the plan in order to ensure that the goal of the plan is achieved," according to a press release from the Assembly Majority office.
"We must do everything we can to help our working families by ensuring that our state's resources are directed to those New Jerseyans that are most in need of a helping hand," said Evans .
The bill passed the Assembly in February and was recently released by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.