Making the decision to become a foster parent is a life-changing step that deeply impacts both you as parents and the youth for whom you provide a secure home.
Neither the decision to foster nor the consistent act is simple, but there are numerous supports and resources that can help you throughout this generous and generative process. If you are ready to become a foster parent in New Jersey, read on to learn the legal steps.
The Steps to Becoming a Foster Parent
The first step to becoming a New Jersey foster parent is to contact the Division of Children and Families. The State of New Jersey Division of Children and Families is responsible for all placements and will initiate the process by asking you some questions about yourself personally, your family, and your interest in becoming a foster family. The Division of Children and Families can be reached at 877-FOSTER. Upon completing the initial interview with a representative, you will receive information via mail from New Jersey Foster and Adoptive Family Services. In addition to additional information about the process and importance of fostering, the packet will contain information about the Division of Child Protection and Permanency and its service to New Jersey youth. In order to ensure that you are ready to fully support a foster child, be sure to familiarize yourself with all information received from the Division of Children and Families, and prepare questions before your next information meeting.
Foster Parent Orientation through the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency
There are multiple orientations set up throughout the month, and the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency will set you up to participate in one at your convenience. During the orientation, you will have an opportunity to meet with other foster families to learn about their experience. You will also have the opportunity to explore more deeply your commitment — in order to be selected as a foster family, you must be willing to see it through, until the child is returned to their natural home. This could be a process of weeks, months, or even years. If you have doubts about your long-term capacity to support a foster child, speak to a representative of the Division of Children and Families at the orientation.
Home Study with a Resource Family Support Worker
Upon completing the orientation and deciding to continue with the fostering process, you will be set up to undergo a home study with a resource family support worker, whose role it is to ensure that your family home is safe and prepared for the best interests of the foster youth. The resource family support worker will make sure that you have adequate space to house another and that all of the basic necessities are available. They will also make sure that everyone in your home is on board with fostering and is willing to complete a background check. Unless all members of the family are willing to foster, youth will not be placed into the home. This is because the coherent intention is essential for the wellbeing of the child, and it takes a village to raise one.
What´s the PRIDE training?
All foster families are required to go through PRIDE training provided by the Division of Children and Families, which orients potential families to issues that may arise during the course of foster care. According to its website, PRIDE training provides a structured and standardized framework for the proper recruitment, selection, and training of its foster families. Those participating in the training can expect to be equipped with numerous skills and necessary information to successfully navigate the rewarding experience of fostering. The training also introduces families to a network of people and resources invested in making sure they feel supported in order to provide the best possible care for youth in need of home and family.
Working with a team of Social Workers, Therapists, Doctors, and Educators to best support the child
Once you’ve gone through the steps to becoming a foster parent, be prepared to work as a team! There are many professionals involved in ensuring the well-being of foster youth, including social workers, therapists, doctors, and educators; additionally, you may be asked to meet with the child’s birth family.
Contact an Experienced Foster Parent and Adoption Attorney Today
You can learn more about the fostering process and contact the appropriate representative at the New Jersey Division of Children and Families website.
At The Law Offices of Jacobs Berger, our attorneys are experienced in guiding the proceedings of our clients Florham Park, Tewksbury, Randolph, Morristown, and across Morris County NJ in all matters of entering into a foster family commitment.