⚫ NJ foster parents providing love, comfort and healing

⚫ Department of Children and Families needs foster parents

⚫ They offer extensive support and guidance for those who qualify

When there’s trouble in a home, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families has been trying to keep children connected to their birth families.

When the home isn’t safe and a child is removed, DCF will attempt to find relatives to serve as a resource family (or foster parents).

Mahnoush Vaziri, the assistant director of the Office of Resource Families at DCF, said despite the fact that they are prioritizing blood relatives, they still need non-relative resource families and caregivers.

Nearly half of the children in out-of-home placement are with relatives.

Family law and adoption concept. Figures and gavel.
designer491 GettyImages

We appreciate what they do

“We really appreciate the time and commitment that they give, giving back to their community and their willingness to provide a safe healing space for children in need," she said.

Vaziri said it’s also very important that resource families are willing to establish a connection with the birth parents and be a support system for the birth family.

She said having caregivers work together makes a big difference in how children react to separation, which is almost always a difficult and challenging circumstance.

How do you become a resource family?

She said any New Jersey resident over the age of 18 can apply, assuming they can provide a safe, stable home and all of their household members are willing to participate in the process.

“It can take a few months. It involves interviews, background checks, we provide training, there’s a home inspection, there’s various components to a home study,” she said.

Vaziri said this may sound daunting to people but “we have our DCF team in their corner to help guide them every step of the way, we have our home study writers, our licensing inspectors, our trainers that are really going to help them navigate the process."

She said resource parents receive financial help in caring for a child depending on what the needs of the youngster are.

School lunch children eating
Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Resource parents are special

She said the most successful resource parents are people who are “really looking to give back to their community, looking to make a difference in a child’s life and also in their families' life.”

A new online platform designed to streamline the resource parent process will soon be completed but to get more information right now you can click here or call 1-877-NJ-FOSTER.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

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