Interested in becoming a foster parent in New Jersey? Here are six key guidelines and foster parent requirements that will help you understand your readiness to take on this important role in a child’s life.
Your age: According to New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families, the government agency that oversees foster placements within the state, a prospective foster parent must be a minimum of 18 years old. There is no maximum age to being a foster parent, as long as you are in good health. The Department of Children and Families cannot preclude you based only on age, gender, orientation, religion or gender expression.
You must be able to provide a safe and secure home for the child: It may go without saying, but you have to be prepared to give a foster child a safe environment. Your home, whether an apartment or a house, must meet basic safety and living standards.
You must attend training: The Department of Children and Families will provide you with training before you take a child into your home, to ensure that you are fully prepared to take on the responsibility.
Everyone in your home must get fully involved: As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child…,” and in that same spirit, it takes the entire family to commit to caring for a foster child in need. Everyone participates and all family members must agree to take part in this commitment, including agreeing to undergo background checks.
You have to see it through: Of course, it’s not easy to be a foster parent. But, you must be willing to promise to see your commitment through even through some rough times. These kids need to have someone to rely upon until they are returned to their natural families, which may take weeks, months or even longer.
You must work as part of a team: When you become a foster parent, you work with a team of supportive professionals focused on helping the child, such as trained social workers, teachers, doctors, therapists and the New Jersey Courts. You may even have to work with the child’s birth family.
If this sounds like a commitment you are ready, willing and able to make to a child who needs a stable, loving and happy environment, learn more. There are additional resources about becoming a foster parent avaiable from the Department of Children & Families, where you will find information on further steps to becoming a foster parent.
If you have questions about your legal rights and responsibilities as a potential or current foster parent here in New Jersey? We can help you. Please call us at 888-888-0919 to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced and compassionate family law attorneys.