New Jersey foster and adoption guidelines
Thank you for your interest in becoming a resource parent to children and youth in state care. In New Jersey, the number of youth in foster care continues to be reduced each year due to a focus on services that strengthen and assist families to prevent abuse and neglect, and the prioritization of kinship care when out of home placement is required. This has afforded us the opportunity to reevaluate the capacity of our current pool of resource families and their ability to meet the unique needs of special populations of youth in care.
As of May 2021, the state of New Jersey is only processing inquiries from prospective resource families who are willing and able to provide a loving home to the following children:
- Children and youth with complex behavioral, developmental, and medical needs
- Adolescent youth ages 13-17
- Sibling groups of four or more
- NJ children and youth cleared for adoption
Learn more about adoption and foster care on the New Jersey Department of Children and Families website.
On this page:
- State contact information
- Foster and adoption licensing requirements
- Costs to foster and adopt
- Agency contact and orientation information
- Post-adoption support services
For NJ families interested in becoming a licensed foster/adoptive home, contact Embrella.
For licensed NJ families and families approved and licensed by an adoptive agency in USA, contact Daniel.Sianozecki@dcf.nj.gov.
Becoming a foster or adoptive parent is easier than you think. You must be at least 18 years old and at least 10 years older than any of the children who will be placed with you, able to support yourself and in good physical and emotional health. You can:
- Be married or single
- Be childless or have children
- Work outside the home or stay at home
- Rent or own your house or apartment
During the home study process, 27 hours of PRIDE training is also required to prepare families to become foster or adoptive parents. New Jersey uses the SAFE adoption home study format.
If you adopt or foster through the division, the only cost incurred during a foster or adoptive home study is the cost of medical examinations for each family member.
If you would like to adopt through a licensed private adoption agency serving New Jersey, fees vary. Please ask each agency what their requirements and fees are, and if their home studies are licensed. Many people have completed adoption home studies, but are unable to adopt a child from New Jersey if their home has not been licensed. In situations such as this, it is often necessary to have a second home study completed by the division if they should become interested in adopting a child from New Jersey. Here is a list of approved licensed adoption agencies in New Jersey (186 KB PDF).
If you are an adoptive parent, or if you are interested in becoming an adoptive parent for a special need child, the child you adopt may be eligible for financial assistance through the Adoption Subsidy Program.
Federal adoption tax credit
Beginning in tax year 2003, families adopting a child with special needs from foster care could claim the adoption tax credit without needing to incur or document expenses. Find more information on the North American Council on Adoptable Children website.
For families interested in providing foster care or who are interested in the type of children available for selected home adoption through the division, the first step in the process would be to contact 800-99-ADOPT (1-800-992-3678). Foster and Adoptive Family Services employees answer these calls, send information to the family, and route the inquiry to the appropriate division local offices resource family unit. The resource family units arrange engagements with perspective adoptive and foster families as soon as possible. During the home study process, 27 hours of PRIDE training is also required to prepare families to become foster and adoptive parents. Here is a list of division offices.
Families who are interested in adoption only may be referred to licensed private adoption agencies if they are not interested in the children New Jersey typically places in selected home adoption placements.
See a comprehensive list of post-adoption and guardianship support services and support groups available to families who live in New Jersey.
In 2020, 710 adoptions were finalized statewide. As of December 2020, there are 108 unmatched legally free children and 9 unmatched non-legally free children.