TRENTON - A program that had kept as many as 15,000 children busy after school has fallen victim to New Jersey budget cuts and the bad economy.

NJ After 3 plans to close next week. The private, nonprofit agency had long funded afterschool activities around the state.

The New Brunswick-based agency?s state funding had dwindled in recent years, with Gov. Chris Christie cutting the last $3 million from his 2012 budget.

The organization hasn't been able to raise enough money privately to keep the program going. NJ after 3 says afterschool programs will survive whether or not the group helps fund them, but many have cutback hours and enrollment.

Christie said yesterday that the program wasn't meant to rely on state funds. However the governor said, ?Cutting the program may not have been a choice that I would have otherwise made if we weren't confronted with the difficult (economic) times."

AP wire services contributed to this report.