What rights do foster youth have?
As a foster youth, you have the right to live safe, healthy, and connected. It’s CP&P’s job to ensure that, when you are in an out of home placement, you are in a safe environment, that you are physically and mentally healthy, and that you are connected to services during your time in care. To ensure your rights while in placement, there is a Foster Youth Bill of Rights. This should be presented to you starting at the age of 12, and each year after while you are in placement. To learn more about your rights as a foster youth, you can access the Foster Youth Bill of Rights by clicking on the hyper link.
The “Siblings’ Bill of Rights,” was signed into law by Governor Murphy in January 2023. This bill was developed by the NJ DCF Youth Council who recognized the importance of siblings and remaining involved in the lives of their siblings throughout foster care system.
Specifically, the bill affords the following provisions for youth in foster care:
- to have access to phone calls and virtual visits in between face-to-face visits with their siblings, and
- to be placed in the closest proximity possible to other siblings who are not in out-of-home placement.
- If placement together is not possible, when it is in the best interests of the child:
- the recommendations and wishes of each sibling who participates in the permanency planning decision will be documented in their case records and provided to the court;
- DCF workers will communicate expectations for continued contact with the child’s siblings after adoption or transfer of custody (subject to the approval of the adoptive parents or caregiver);
- Youth in placement will have the following rights:
- to be promptly informed about changes in sibling placements or permanency goals;
- to be actively involved in the lives of their siblings, including birthdays, holidays, and other milestones;
- to not be denied sibling visits as a result of behavioral consequences when residing in a resource family home or congregate care setting; and
- to be provided updated contact information for all siblings at least annually (unless not in the best interests of one or more siblings).
The Office of Advocacy
The DCF Office of Advocacy assists the Department in its mission to keep New Jersey families safe, healthy and connected by providing information and responding to the concerns of parents, youth, foster parents and others involved with DCF services.
The Office of Advocacy gathers feedback/concerns and identifies issues and trends to help DCF work in collaboration with its partner agencies to improve services to children and families. The office does this through their interaction with the Office of Performance Management and Accountability, governmental leaders and agencies, partners, families and the community.
To reach the office of advocacy you can email the office anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org OR you can call us at 1-877-543-7864 Mon - Fri between 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Staff in this office work directly with liaisons in each DCF Division and Office to ensure the timely resolution of constituent issues and concerns. Your voice matters if there’s something you feel should be addressed do not hesitate to reach out.
Advocates for Children of New Jersey
Advocates for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ) works with local, state and federal leaders to identify and implement changes that will benefit New Jersey’s children.
This organization is strictly non-partisan and accepts no government funding for advocacy.
This website provides a multiple number of resources for anyone needing parenting support. ACNJ has had many accomplishments as an organization helping out those parents in need. ACNJ has advocated for many and continues to do so.