Understanding Foster Care Adoption in New Jersey
Foster care adoption is a wonderful and rewarding way to make a difference in a child’s life. A child is placed in foster care, either with temporary foster parents or in a group home, when their birth parents are unable to care for them and it is unsafe or impossible for them to return to their home. This can be due to child abuse or neglect, incarceration, financial troubles, or many other reasons. In many cases, a foster child can eventually be reunited with their parents, but sometimes this is not possible, in which case the child will be eligible for adoption. Adopting a foster child gives them a stable and permanent home with people that care about them.
What are the Requirements for Foster Care Adoption in NJ?
As with all other types of adoption in New Jersey, foster care adoptions require that the prospective parent be:
- At least eighteen years of age
- At least ten years older than the child they intend to adopt
- Capable of supporting themselves and the child
- In good physical and emotional health
An adoptive parent can be married or unmarried, with children or without children, and of any sexual orientation or gender identity.
A prospective parent begins by making an inquiry with Foster and Adoptive Family Services, who provide them basic information about adopting from foster care and will discuss what types of children they are interested in adopting (for example whether they are able to care for siblings or children with special needs.) From there, the prospective parent starts the adoption process, which includes meetings with Child Protection and Permanency, 27 hours of training, home studies, and background checks. For a detailed breakdown of the NJ child adoption process, see our Child Adoption page.
Is Foster Care Adoption Right for Me?
While the adoption process is a long one, the rewards of being a positive influence on a child’s life and providing them with a safe and happy home are great. If you are not ready to adopt permanently, learn about becoming a foster parent in NJ.
Not every child in foster care will be eligible to be adopted by a foster parent. Foster care is designed to be temporary and it is the public policy of the state of NJ to reunite a child with its natural parent or parents if possible. As such, foster care adoption can be a lengthy and frustrating process if there is resistance to the adoption by the biological parent or parents.
For help getting started with the foster care adoption process, contact us today.