Volunteer FAQ

  • Volunteers are asked to submit an application to volunteer services at volunteer@cafsnj.org. After our staff reviews your volunteer application and meets with you personally, we will seek out an opportunity that matches your skills, interests, and availability.

    New Volunteers are asked to attend a Volunteer Orientation and submit the following documentation:

    • Reference forms (three references are required)
    • Mantoux Test (Tuberculosis Test) Not required for all volunteer opportunities
    • Fingerprint Form (paid for by DYFS, Division of Youth and Family Services); or Criminal History Record Form
    • Child Abuse Record Consent Form
  • Typically it takes 2-4 weeks, once paperwork is submitted to receive clearance from the state.

  • You must be at least 18 years or older to work directly with our children. Mentors must be, at least 21 years or older. Young volunteers can be sales associates with The Depot gift shop in Midland Park or conduct community drives to meet some fundamental needs for our children. See our Volunteer Opportunities page for more information on ways you can help.

  • Volunteer Service’s offers a variety of rewarding volunteer opportunities based upon the needs of our programs, and typically include:

    • Direct Services (working directly with a child, family, or adult in our care)
    • Corporate Projects
    • Community Drives
    • Special Events
  • We ask that you commit to at least one year depending on the opportunity. Volunteer contact information will remain in our database and we send updates on volunteer opportunities as they become available. Some projects are short term and others may require longer commitments.

  • Once you receive your application, you will be contacted by our Mentor Coordinator to meet and discuss the program. After the training, which is a nine-hour program, you will be matched with the appropriate child. Mentoring does require a longer commitment, so only candidates with longer term availability should apply for this program.

  • Volunteers will be mailed Impact, our agency newsletter. Volunteers will also be notified periodically of new volunteer opportunities, agency events, and other relevant information. Volunteers are always welcome to contact Volunteer Services throughout their volunteer experience. volunteer@cafsnj.org or 201-740-7102.

  • Any volunteer who would like to learn more about adoption and foster care should contact a program recruiter at 201-261-2800.

Adoption FAQ

  • 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 recruitment@cafsnj.org.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • An adoptive parent must be at least 21 years old and 10 years older than an adoptive child.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Children’s Aid and Family Services’ team of professional counselors can provide the guidance to help you make an informed decision, should you wish to create an adoption plan for your baby. To help while you are testing the separation process and considering your decision about adoption, your baby can be temporarily placed with a foster family for short-term care.

    If you do decide to place your child for adoption, every effort will be made to meet your specific requests, including the race and religion of the adoptive family and establishing contact with them. As the birth parent(s), you’ll have a support system in place to help you face the variety of emotional issues surrounding adoption, such as separation and loss, grief and mourning, guilt and depression.

    The agency offers a support group for birth parents in all stages of the adoption process, including those who are considering adoption, have placed their child for adoption, or are in the process of seeking and reuniting with their adopted child.

Foster Care FAQ

  • Foster care is the temporary placement of children and youth with families outside of their own home due to child abuse or neglect. The goal is to provide a safe, stable, nurturing environment.

  • A higher level of care provided to traumatized children who have been wounded by severe abuse and neglect. Therapeutic foster parents are trained to provide a structured environment that supports their learning, social and emotional skills.

  • Our Director of Intake does her best to match a child with a foster family who can best meet the child’s needs. Some foster parents prefer to work with teenage children, while others do better with young children. You, however, will be able to specify the age and gender of the child you prefer.

  • The length of time that a child stays in a foster home varies according to the plans for reunification with the child’s family, placement with relatives, or adoption.

  • In most cases, foster children can share a bedroom with another child of the same sex within a four-year difference of age.

  • In most cases, the goal is to reunify a child with his/her family. In the event that the child cannot return home or be placed with other relatives, foster parents have first consideration as adoptive parents. Many families are interested in both fostering and adopting. They agree with the agency that the needs of the child come first. In most cases, this means that they help prepare children for reunification with their birth family or toward a relative or kinship placement. When termination of parental rights is in the child’s best interest and adoption is the child’s plan, then foster parents who have cared for the child will be given the opportunity to apply for adoption.

  • If you’re interested in fostering a child, contact our recruitment specialist at 201-740-7019. The recruitment specialist is available to answer any questions you may have and will provide additional information about the children in our care, our services, and the application process. You can also register for one of our informational sessions by calling our recruitment specialist at 201-740-7109 or emailing recruitment@cafsnj.org.

  • 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.

  • No. Singles as well as families are welcome to foster a child. All applicants go through a home study process, which 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • All applicant households are expected to have adequate income to maintain their existing household and proof of income will be required. Foster care board payments are to be used for the foster child only.

  • Yes, you must be over the age of 21 and an adoptive/foster parent must be at least 10 years older than an adoptive/foster child.

  • The foster family will receive a monthly stipend, as well as quarterly clothing allowance and Medicaid and dental care coverage for the child up to the age of 18. Other supports include health and developmental assessment by a nurse, who will be one of the primary sources of support; case management that provides comprehensive individualized support to foster parents; referral to support services; and ongoing monthly foster parenting training.