Since our founding in 1996, Harvest of Hope Family Services Network, Inc. has successfully recruited and trained over 435 families to become licensed foster families. During the month of December last year, we celebrated a significant milestone with the placement of their 1,000th child into those homes and more than 250 foster children were adopted by Harvest of Hope resource families providing a permanent solution for their need of a loving family.
Although a proud moment for us, reality is there is still a need to improve outcomes for children and youth in foster care. In December 2012, Center for the Study of Social Policy reported a staggering number of 7,484 children in 'Out-of-Home Placements' or foster care in the state of New Jersey - an increase from the 2011 report which displayed 7,018 children in 'Out-of-Home Placements. There is still a need to find forever families for our children and youth.
What does it mean to "foster" a child/youth?
An individual, couple or family that takes in child(ren) or youth(s) in the foster care system to provide a nurturing, caring and loving home as well as meet the child(ren) or youths' needs. A foster care placement may be temporarily or permanent depending on the child's circumstances.
What are the Requirements for Becoming A Foster Parent?
- Meet the minimum age qualification of 21-years-old. Potential foster parents may be married, single, widowed or divorced.
- Provide bedroom space for the child in foster care. Each child must have his/her own bed
- Provide sufficient space for the child or youth in foster care personal belongings.
- Complete the NJ Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P formerly known as DYFS) application
- Attend the P.R.I.D.E. Training provided by Harvest of Hope. Both adults in a two-parent household must attend the training program.
- Provide references from: Two personal friends (no family members) and one neighbor, Current employer (for adult applicants in the household employed outside of the home), School/Daycare (for school age children within the household), and Physician (medical reports on all household members.
- Cooperate with Federal and State police checks. Fingerprints will be taken on all adult household members to process the State and Federal Criminal History checks.
- Participate in personal interviews with Harvest of Hope and DCP & P representative. All household members will be interviewed. (Home study)
- Allow a Harvest of Hope and DCP & P representative to visit your home to assess minimum physical housing standards. (Home study)
- Provide sufficient income to meet the needs of the entire family. Foster care board payments are to be used for the child in foster care's expenses only.
- Allow Harvest of Hope and/or DCP & P representative(s) to visit your home monthly after a child or youth is placed and quarterly as long as your home is a licensed foster care home.
What are my optionsLONG TERM FOSTER CARE OPTIONS:
Duration of this option may last months or years – ongoing basis.
Foster–to–Adopt (Adoption via NJ foster care system)
Foster parent(s) may decide to adopt child(ren) after fostering. Foster-to-Adopt costs $0 as the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency covers all the adoption fees.
Respite – Vacation
A Respite foster parent(s) open their homes to children on a short-term basis only. They care for children whose original foster families have a medical emergency, a family emergency or go on vacation and the foster child(ren) are unable to go with them. The payment schedule for foster families who provide respite care is prorated based on time spent in the home. Childcare/aftercare payments care is prorated based on time spent in the home. Childcare/aftercare payments are still available for children in respite placements.
SPRU – Special Response Unit
SPRU Foster homes oversee all types of emergency child placements. They are only obligated to provide care after 5:00 p.m. on weeknights when called and on weekends from 5:00 p.m. Friday to 8:00 a.m. Monday. In certain situations a SPRU home may be called at night. If interested in this program the foster parents would go through the normal process; completion of the application, in addition to required training and home visits.