Frequently Asked Questions: Adoption In New Jersey

  1. Do you have to be married to adopt?
    You can be single, married, separated or divorced.
  2. Do you have to be a certain age to adopt?
    You must reach age 18 before the adoption is finalized and you must be at least ten years older than the child you wish to adopt.
  3. Do you have to own your own home?
    You may own your own home or rent a house or an apartment. You must have sufficient room in your home for the children whom you hope to adopt.
  4. Do you have to be wealthy?
    No. You must be able to adequately provide for your family’s needs.
  5. Does the child need his/her own bedroom?
    The child does not need his/her own bedroom but must have his/her own bed and enough space for his/her personal belongings.
  6. Is it expensive to adopt?
    There is no charge by the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) to adopt. Payment of legal fees is one of the benefits offered through adoption subsidy, so many families adopting children through DYFS will have that cost covered for them.
  7. Do you have to be a U.S. citizen to adopt?
    No, but you must have legally entered the United States.
  8. How long will it take?
    That depends on a number of factors, such as: the type of child (age, sex, race, health, etc.) in which you are interested; the number and type of children in need of adoption placement; and how quickly you can provide references, medical reports, et cetera. The more open you are to any child, the more quickly you will be considered.
  9. Can I receive assistance to adopt?
    You must reach age 18 before the adoption is finalized and you must be at least ten years older than the child you wish to adopt.
  10. If I am interested in a child featured on the NJ ADOPT or Heart Gallery Web site, what should I do?
    If you are a New Jersey resident, please call 1-800-99-ADOPT, or go to the Contact Us link of the NJ ADOPT Web site and complete the Request for Information form. The information will be provided to Foster and Adoptive Family Services, and a staff member from that organization will contact you to discuss your interest.

Out-of-state residents should e-mail the coordinator of the New Jersey Adoption Resource Exchange. Include in your message the name and birth date of the child in whom you are interested, along with your name, address and telephone number. If you already have an approved home study in your home state, please also include your caseworker’s name and the name and telephone number of the agency with which you are working. The Exchange Coordinator will contact you to provide additional information and advise you of the next steps.

FACT SHEET: Adoption in New Jersey

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.

  • DCF's Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) is the agency in New Jersey charged with provider child protection, permanency and welfare services to children and families. DYFS investigates all allegations of child abuse and neglect.
  • When an allegation of abuse or neglect is substantiated, DYFS will work with a family to resolve problems within the family so that a child can grow up safely in the care of his or her birth family. When this is not possible within a reasonable period of time, adoption may become the goal for these children.
  • In 2006, nearly 1400 children in foster care were adopted through DYFS. The vast majority of these children are adopted by their foster families, however, there are many children who are available to be adopted but do not have a plan to be adopted by a foster or pre-adoptive home. 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.
  • DYFS helps families through the process of becoming licensed foster or adoptive parents, which involves getting references, background checks, training, interviews and home inspections.
  • Families who adopt children who are difficult to place or have special needs are eligible to receive monthly subsidies, medical coverage and assistance with child care and other services.

For more information about adoption, please contact 1–800–99-ADOPT or visit