How do I learn more about adopting a child through Children's Aid and Family Services?
If you're interested in adopting a child, contact our recruitment specialist at 201-261-2800. The recruitment specialist is available to answer any questions and will provide additional information about the children in our care, our services and the application process. You may also register for one of our informational sessions by calling our recruitment specialist at 201-261-2800, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the process to become an adoptive parent?
You will attend an orientation and then meet with the recruitment specialist, who will guide you through the application process. This process involves: home study; criminal background and child abuse history checks; Personal, employment; school and child care references; 27-hour state-mandated P.R.I.D.E. training; and home Inspection.
Who are the children in need of adoptive homes?
Most of the children in our care are older, school-aged children with a history of abuse or neglect. Most have emotional, behavioral or learning challenges. The infants and toddlers in our care have been exposed to drugs or alcohol in-utero and may have developmental delays and health issues as a result. Some are medically needy and may have been exposed to HIV, Hepatitis C, or have heart or respiratory problems. However, it has been our experience that given loving, nurturing care and proper medical attention, these children grow and thrive.
Do I have to be married to adopt a child?
No. Singles as well as families are welcome to adopt. All applicants go through PRIDE training and the home study process. PRIDE introduces parents to the physical, emotional and educational issues of children needing placement and offers strategies to best deal with those issues. The home study process involves an application in which we gather information about you, your family and others in your home. The application includes a request for personal and medical references. After the application is received, an agency staff member will be assigned to complete your home study. The home study is a written document about you, your family and your interest in providing foster/ adoptive care. It is completed through a series of interviews with an agency staff member. As part of the home study process, a state and federal background check will be done for you and all other adults living in your home. The home study process takes approximately four months.
Do I have to own my own home?
No. The apartment or home in which you live would need to have enough room to accommodate your family members, as well as the number of children you wish to have. In order to be licensed, your home must meet the criteria established by the Office of Licensing. The agency will send a staff person out to your home to guide you through this process.
Can I work outside the home?
Yes, except if you choose to foster and/or adopt children who are medically needy, aged newborn to 4 years. For these children, we would like at least one parent be a full-time caregiver. For all other children, parents must have the flexibility in their work schedules to accommodate medical appointments, visitation (where applicable) and therapy. Children's Aid and Family Services makes every effort to work with the family's schedule when placing a child but flexibility is a must.
Are there age restrictions?
An adoptive parent must be at least 21 years old and 10 years older than an adoptive child.
What kinds of support can an adoptive parent expect?
Except for parents in our Infant-in-Care Program, the adoptive family will receive a monthly stipend (if the child is determined by the Division of Child Protection and Permancey to be in need of a stipend) and Medicaid coverage for the child, up to the age of 18. Comprehensive adoption counseling services are available without cost to the adoptive family through the Post-Adoption Counseling Services (PACS) program in Bergen, Essex and Passaic Counties.
Will I receive any training regarding adoption?
Prospective parents take a state-mandated 27-hour PRIDE training. PRIDE introduces parents to the physical, emotional and educational issues of children needing placement and offers strategies to best deal with those issues. For Older Child adoption, an eight-week internship occurs at one of the agency's pre-adoptive treatment homes or at an agency group home. Prospective adoptive parents have the opportunity to meet and spend time with the children in our care and talk with the staff about the unique needs of each child. Once a child is placed in your home, mandatory post-placement training is scheduled. This training is designed not only to help you deal with issues that affect the child and your family, but also to provide you with the support of other adoptive parents.
What fees are involved in the adoption process?
All fees for the home study and adoption process are at no cost to the applicant if he or she adopts a New Jersey Waiting Child. Fees for the Infant-in-Care program are assessed on a sliding scale basis.