State Senator Barbara Buono says she’s seriously concerned about Governor Chris Christie’s plans to downsize the Division on Women. Buono says she’ll sponsor legislation to ensure that at a minimum the Division’s programs and funding are maintained and preserved in the proposed reorganization.

Buono is currently drafting legislation that would ensure that the existing programs and services are maintained by the Office on Women in the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman will sponsor an Assembly version of the bill.

“The Division on Women has been a pioneering state agency for nearly four decades under the leadership of both parties,” says Buono. “While I understand and appreciate the need for better coordination of state agencies, I cannot allow these programs and the women they serve to disappear in the Governor’s budget.”

The Governor’s plan would move the Division on Women from the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to the DCF and would reduce the status of the Division. Under the new Office on Women, several programmatic lines in the budget have been combined in Christie’s budget proposal.

Buono says, “In 2010, when Governor Christie cut funding for family planning centers, I called on him to preserve this Division as a clearinghouse of information and services for women. Now he is downsizing it and playing keep-away with the details.”