If you want to adopt a child in New Jersey, the first step is understanding the requirements. You may need to complete training and obtain a license prior to entering the state's adoption system. Additionally, there may be eligibility criteria that apply to the prospective child. If you decide not to continue working through the process with the state, you may choose instead to become a foster parent or pursue adoption through a licensed private agency.
Within New Jersey's Department of Children and Families, the Foster and Adoptive Family Services branch manages the adoption process. You may find basic information on the process by contacting the FAFS staff. If you decide to continue toward adoption after gathering the initial facts from FAFS, you may have one or more meetings with a Child Protection & Permanency Local Office Resource Family Recruiter. The recruiter may provide details on the circumstances of children in need of adoption and describe the requirements you must meet to get your license.
In order to become approved as a prospective adoptive parent and enter into the state's matching system, you must first submit an application and complete a background check. Then, a Resource Family Worker may help you go through all the steps of the home study process. This usually means completing specialized training, interviews and home visits to ensure a suitable environment for a child. You may need to provide references to obtain an adoption license. Once you have your license, you may enter the matching system and wait for the CP&P department to select you. Upon selection, you may complete pre-placement interviews and then proceed to regular, scheduled visits with the child. If all goes well, you will then complete the adoption process and welcome your child into your family.
This overview of adoption is provided for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.