The adoption process

November 2, 2008 5:38:30 AM PST
It's National Adoption Month. Here's a look at the adoption process and the importance of adopting an older child.How to Get Started
The first step is to call Children's Aid and Family Services at 201-226-0300 and ask to speak to one of the Recruitment Specialists. Viewers in New York can call 1-800-345-KIDS. In Connecticut, viewers can call 888-543-4376.

What is the Process

The process involves:
-- Completed application
-- Personal, employment, school and child care references
-- Criminal background and child abuse history check
-- 27 hour P.R.I.D.E. training (The Parenting Resources for Information, Development and Education (PRIDE) program is designed to strengthen the quality of family foster care and adoption ...
-- Internship for 8-12 weeks
-- Home Study
-- Home Inspection

About the Children Available

They are school aged children, predominately African-American.

Fees to Adopt Older Children

No. In fact, due to the special needs of the children, the State of New Jersey offers adoptive families a monthly stipend as well as Medicaid for the adopted child. This continues after the finalization of adoption.

Challenges to Adopting Older Children

Yes, they have special needs due to a history of abuse, neglect, and multiple foster care placements. As a result these children may exhibit emotional, behavioral & educational challenges.

Additional Information

Many children over the age of 8 are in need of permanent, loving homes. Because of the growing acceptance of single parents, fewer and fewer infants are available for adoption. With younger children in foster care, efforts are first made to return children when feasible to their birth parents or to biological relatives. Older children are legally free for adoption; this is the group most in need to care.

How do I adopt a child through Children's Aid and Family Services?

Those seeking to adopt children ages 8 and above should consider the CAFS Older Child Adoption Program. These children are legally free for adoption.

Prospective parents intern at one of our agency's group homes or therapeutic foster homes for 8 weeks. This gives them ample opportunity to acquaint themselves with the children, understand how their living environment is structured. Once a child is identified by a family, prospective parents receive both pre and post placement support from knowledgeable professionals. When a child joins their family, there is a six month period before the adoption can be finalized.

Who are these children in need of adoptive homes?

Most of our children are African American. A smaller number are Hispanic. Because these children have a history of abuse or neglect; most have emotional, behavioral or learning challenges. Do I have to be married to adopt a child?

No. Singles as well as families are welcome to adopt. All applicants go through PRIDE training and the home study process.

Do I have to own your own home?

No. The apartment or home in which you live would need to have enough room to accommodate your family members as well as the number of children you wish to have.

Can I work outside the home?

For children over age 4 who are not considered medically needy, parents must have the flexibility in their work schedules to accommodate medical appointments, visitation (where applicable) and therapy.

Are there age restrictions?

An adoptive/ foster parent must be at least 10 years older than an adoptive child.

What kinds of support can an adoptive/ parent expect in parenting an adoptive child?

The adoptive family will receive a monthly stipend and Medicaid coverage up to the age of 18. Comprehensive adoption counseling services are available without cost to the adoptive family through the Post Adoption Counseling Services (PACS) program.

Will I receive any training regarding adoption?

Prospective parents take a state mandated 27-hour PRIDE training. PRIDE introduces parents to the physical, emotional and educational issues of children needing placement and offers strategies to best deal with those issues. Once a child is placed in your home mandatory post-placement training is scheduled to help you deal with issues that affect the child and your family but also to provide you with the support of other adoptive parents.

If I am interested, what is the first step?

The first step is to call the agency at (201) 226-0300 and ask to speak to the Recruitment Specialist, who will give you additional information about our children, our services and the application process.

What does the home study process involve?

The home study process involves an application in which we gather information about you, your family and others in your home. The application includes a request for personal and medical references. As part of the home study process, a state and federal background check will be done for you and all other adults living in your home. The home study process takes approximately four months.

What fees are involved in the adoption process?

All fees for the home study and adoption process are waived for those adopting an older child.

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