View Full Version : Adoption and foster care in New Jersey

Mystic Blossom
09-12-2009, 06:42 AM
Hey guys. This one's pretty specific. I have a character who was adopted by a family in New Jersey, and I want to know about how long she would have been living with them before they adopted her. Is five years realistic, or would it be less? She's a teenager. Thanks!

09-14-2009, 04:44 AM
well, you could look up DYFS pronounced (Die-fus) which is the Department of Youth and Family Services there. It is the equivalent of ACS here in NYC. Generally speaking, it depends on the how the birth parents work to get the child. There is a law in effect called the ASFA law. It is a safe families act that requires foster care agencies to file a termination on parental rights after the child has been in care for 12 months. Every child comes into foster care with a goal for permanency (ie what's going to happen to this kid after foster care). The initial goal is return to parent. If the tpr (termination of parental rights) is filed in court, then the goal is return to parent/adoption. Children ages 14 and over have the option of independent living if they don't want to be adopted. Once the tpr is finalized usually by 15months, then the goal is adoption or independent living.
As for your story, yes she could be living with a family for five years. The ASFA law was signed into effect in 2002 but has only been enforced since 2007. What can extend the process past 12 - 15 months is court. The judge could be reassigned or there is not enough information presented in court, or the birth parents don't show up at court. So your take of five years is very realistic. I work with kids who've been in care longer than five years. If you have any more questions, feel free to pm me. :)

Mystic Blossom
09-14-2009, 05:46 AM
Well, in this scenario, the parents are gone completely, so they don't show up to contend the adoption. Thanks very much for your info!

09-16-2009, 09:28 PM
No problem. :) Glad to help. Another scenario maybe that the child is from another country and needs legal papers in order to be adopted. Maybe the paperwork is hard to obtain, which is usually the case in terms of coming from another country. But, that could be another possibility.

09-17-2009, 05:13 PM
Well, in this scenario, the parents are gone completely, so they don't show up to contend the adoption. Thanks very much for your info!

You could have another family member challenge the adoption.

Or the foster parents could have p*ssed off the wrong DYFS worker, who could then put them through the ringer with more evaluations, family counciling, etc.

the addster
09-17-2009, 05:39 PM
Five years would not be a long wait to be adopted from foster care. These things are generally more in the hands of the judges than social workers. There are actually incentives to social workers in many states to get kids adopted from foster care.

There are some fairly standard procedures that are followed when a child is placed in foster care. If the child's parents die, and they have no relatives interested in taking the child, they could be eligible for adoption immediately. If the family she was with were approved foster parents, it would be a fairly quick process if they decided to adopt. Not that they would make that decision quickly, necessarily.

If the parents were just missing for some reason, and the child was a teenager, they might never become available for adoption before they aged out of the system. This is a very likely scenario.

There is a trend toward adopting children who have been in foster care, in some states, shortly before or just after they age out. The problem of terminating parental rights is passed and it's handled more like an adult adoption. This makes them a permanent part of the family and support through their college years.

Many kids just age out of foster care without ever being adopted , even if they stay with their foster families.

Look at the New Jersey DFSS site or New Jersey Adopt Us Kids for some state specific info.