A foster child’s pathway through the system in NJ can take many different routes. Some may enter and exit the system quickly and without much trouble while others may be involved in care until they become adults. Children have almost no say in how long they remain in the foster care system or which pathway they travel through it – instead they are beholden to the answers to just a few questions.
The most troublesome question for foster parents tends to do with termination of parental rights (TPR). TPR usually proceeds very slowly and for good reason: the court is invested in pushing each child’s case toward permanency – that is, one where the child can live with the same family until they become an adult. Until it is proved otherwise, the court believes that the best permanent solution for a foster child is to return to her biological parents – this is why they are given ample time to recover from the issues that led to them losing custody of their children. The process can feel like an eternity for a foster parent who is heavily invested in the well-being of their child in care, but it is just one more step in a foster child’s pathway through the system in New Jersey.
It is important for foster parents to keep in mind the answers to these three questions so they can prepare themselves and help prepare their children for the next step in their pathway through the system in NJ. With the help and support of a loving resource family like yours, a child’s chances of exiting the foster care system with a positive outlook are dramatically increased.