For families seeking to adopt in New Jersey, there is a multi-step process. Adoption is overseen by New Jersey's Foster and Adoptive Family Services, or FAFS. These services are in place to direct those who have questions about potential adoptions to Child Protection & Permanency's (CP & P) local services and chapters. The local CP & P branch will direct families seeking to adopt and walk them through the process. There are also private adoption services available for contact to begin the New Jersey adoption process. For adoptions, there are a number of steps that must be fulfilled before an adoption can truly be finalized. This is in place to protect the children and to ensure that the child will be placed in a safe home for living. Both private and public adoption agencies follow relatively the same process.
The first step in the adoption process is determining whether or not a family is eligible for adoption at all. The local CP & P office will undergo a brief process for screening the home. Potential parents will undergo a training session to prepare them for the adoption process, and parenthood. There will also be home visits, interviews, and a filing with the Office of Licensing.
Selection & Matching
After the adoptive parents have been approved, they will be entered into a matching system. If a child is chosen, representatives for CP & P will meet with the family in their home, without the child, to discuss the child and to try to determine if the child will be a good fit. If applicable, they will learn more about the child's specific needs and the child's history. During this phase, if a child is selected, at times they may have a few preliminary meetings within the environment to determine how comfortable the child is. At this point in this process, adoptive parents will be in contact with a designated caseworker to work through this phase.
When a child has been placed in the adoptive parents' home, the process has still not ended. For a brief period of time, CP & P representatives must supervise the home. This period of time typically lasts about 6 months. They are also there for support for both parents and child during this transitioning period. Children may experience separation anxiety issues, and the family may struggle with the transition. After the 6 month period is up, however, the adoption can move into its final phase.
When an adoption is to be finalized, a majority of the steps are a number of legal filings. The CP & P must file their own consent to adoption, and the adoptive parents will need to attend court to complete their filings. During this phase, it is especially important to have your own family law attorney to help smooth out this process. Finalizing adoption can be stressful, but an attorney can help.
If you or a loved one is seeking adoption, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.