Social service commissioners express optimism over restructuring

TRENTON – Commissioners from three state agencies say Gov. Chris Christie’s restructuring of the state’s social service agencies will streamline the departments’ effectiveness.

“I believe this realignment plan is responsible and forward thinking,” said Commissioner Allison Blake of the Department of Children and Families. “We really believe that this will be a service enhancement.”

Similar comments were echoed by Commissioner Jennifer Velez of the Department of Human Services, and Mary O’Dowd of the Department of Health and Senior Services.

The three commissioners are testifying before the Assembly Budget Committee this afternoon.

 Assembly lawmakers are expected to question the agency officials about the particulars of the governor’s restructuring plan.

 Blake said in her opening statements families were forced to “essentially knock on many doors” to find access to certain services under the state’s old social services structure.

“There will now be one door where families can constantly go,” she said.

Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, (D-32), Secaucus, said prior to the hearing Assembly lawmakers hoped to ensure that social services for New Jersey’s families most in need of assistance would not be interrupted under the new structure.

Social service commissioners express optimism over restructuring