Over 200 Children Find Their “Forever” Home in New Jersey during National Adoption Month

Some 220 children from New Jersey’s foster program found their “forever” homes this week when their adoptions were finalized in court procedures throughout the State. (1)

November is recognized as National Adoption Month. In celebration of this, counties throughout the State held a series of activities sponsored in a cooperative effort by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the court system. These activities culminated in the finalization of adoptions held during the week of November 15 with the largest number of adoptions taking place in Essex County where the adoption of 60 foster children were finalized. In the Hunterdon/Somerset/Warren County area, six foster children were legally adopted as part of these proceedings. Private adoptions throughout the State were also honored during this observation. (1)

The adoptions in New Jersey included the placement or reunion of siblings within the same adoptive family, special needs placements, teenage adoptions and adoptions by relatives or next of kin, as well as infant adoptions resulting from the State’s Safe Haven Program. Under the Safe Haven Infant Protection Act, individuals are able to anonymously and legally surrender unwanted infants under 30 days old at any police station or hospital emergency room throughout the state. (1)

In New Jersey the DCF’s Division of Youth and Family Services requires potential foster families and adoptive families to participate in the same licensing process. This practice ensures that there are a sufficient and diverse number of foster homes available; these homes can potentially become the permanent adoptive homes of the children placed there. The practice allows the agency to operate under the premise that the child’s first placement is the most appropriate and hopefully final placement. In New Jersey approximately 90% of adopted children are adopted by their foster families. (2)

National Adoption Month was originated as National Adoption Day 11 years ago by the Alliance for Children’s Rights. Organizations such as the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the Freddie Mac Foundation supported this initiative as a means for raising awareness of children in the nation’s foster care system. Today there are approximately 123,000 children in that system awaiting adoption. (3)

(1) http://www.state.nj.us/dcf/news/press/approved/101112_adoptionday.html

(2) http://www.capemaycountyherald.com/article/government/67879-christie+administration+recognizes+national+adoption+month

(3) http://adoption.about.com/od/celebrationinspiration/a/adoptionday.htm