DCF’s Division of Youth and Family Services

The Department of Children and Families is the state child welfare agency focused on strengthening families and achieving safety, well-being and permanency for all New Jersey’s children. DCF, staffed by approximately 7,000 employees, encompasses the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), as well as the Divisions of Child Behavioral Health Services and Prevention and Community Partnerships, specialized education services, the state child welfare training academy, and a centralized child abuse/neglect hotline (1-877-NJ ABUSE).

DYFS is New Jersey's child protection and child welfare agency within the Department of Children and Families. Its mission is to ensure the safety, permanency and well-being of children and to support families. DYFS is responsible for investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect and, if necessary, arranging for the child's protection and the family's treatment.

If a child has been harmed or is at risk of harm, DYFS may ask the county family court to place the child in foster care. Foster homes are provided by caring individuals who have completed an extensive training and certification program. Learn more about becoming a foster parent (www.njfoster.org or 1-877-NJ FOSTER). If the family court determines a child cannot be safely returned home from foster care, DYFS will begin adoption planning. Learn more about adopting a child (www.njadopt.org or 1-800-99 ADOPT). In 2006, nearly 1400 children were adopted through DYFS.

Please CONTACT DYFS at 1-800-99 ADOPT if you are interested in one of the children featured on this site.

Many children long for a forever family because they are not able to be reunited with their birth parents. Being an adoptive parent can change a child’s life forever, as well as bring new joy and fulfillment to your family.

Children who are placed for adoption by the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) are all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds. The majority of the longest waiting children are African American children, teens and sibling groups. Many have special needs, such as physical or emotional disabilities or exposure to drugs or alcohol. People who adopt children with special needs are eligible to receive an adoption subsidy, including a monthly maintenance payment, medical coverage and assistance with legal fees for the adoption finalization.