Foster parents play an important role in providing a secure and safe home for children and youth in care—which is not always an easy task. Are up for the challenge? If you are ready and committed to becoming a foster parent in New Jersey, here are the steps you must follow:
Call 1-877-FOSTER or email the Division of Children & Families: Your first step is to reach out the Division of Children & Families and let them know that you are interested in becoming a foster family. A representative will be in touch with some basic questions regarding you, your family and your interest in becoming a foster parent.
Read all information sent to you: After you speak with a representative of the Division, you will be sent a packet of information from Foster and Adoptive Family Services. That packet will contain information about the Division of Child Protection & Permanency, the children served and why foster parents are so important. Be sure to read and familiarize yourself with all the information provided to you.
Attend an orientation: Going to an orientation is a great opportunity to learn more about the specific issues related to foster parenting and your future responsibilities to your foster child or children. Sessions are held throughout New Jersey and the Division will sign you up to attend one at your convenience.
Complete a home study with a Resource Family Support Worker: Of course, the home that you wish to provide to a foster child must be safe and provide the basic living necessities. Before you can become an approved foster parent, the Division must conduct a home study to be sure that your home is adequate. It does not matter if you live in a sprawling house or rent an apartment, as long as your residence is appropriate for your future foster child. Through this process you and the Division get to know as much about each other as possible.
Attend Pre-Service Training: All potential foster (or resource) families must go through training known as PRIDE training. The PRIDE program, according to the Division website,”is designed to strengthen the quality of family foster care and adoption services by providing a standardized, consistent, structured framework for the competency-based recruitment, preparation, and selection of foster and adoptive parents. This program offers a competency-based, integrated approach to recruitment, family assessment, and pre-service training.”
The training helps families learn and also practice the knowledge and skills that they learn and will use as new foster parents.
For more information about the foster parenting process, please visit the Division of Children & Families website.
If you need advice regarding your legal options or responsibilities as a foster or adoptive parent, we can help. Please call us at 888-888-0919, or contact us via email, to schedule your initial consultation with one of our skilled and experienced family law attorneys.