How Long Will My Child Be in Foster Care?

Temporary Placement

Foster care, also called foster placement, is a temporary solution when children cannot continue to live safely with their parents. Ideally, children are put in foster placement short-term while permanent placement is found. Unfortunately, New Jersey’s child welfare agency doesn’t always operate in a way that minimizes the time a child will stay in foster placement. What is promised to be a few days to a few months can turn into several months or over a year. This can have a negative impact on a child because children need stability in their home life to thrive.

What Permanency Really Means

Under federal law, if a child has been in foster care for 15 of the last 22 months, the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) must take action to find permanent placement for the child. If your child cannot safely live with you, this means the DCP&P must seek to terminate your parental rights so your child can be adopted. Your child could be in foster care for a few days up to 15 months before the DCP&P must take action to find an adoptive family for your child. In some instances, a child may remain in foster care longer without being adopted if it is in their best interests. This is decided on a case by case basis. But, as a general rule of thumb, your child cannot stay in foster care indefinitely without a permanent placement being sought.

Keeping an Eye on Time

If your child is in foster care, you should speak with an experienced New Jersey child welfare attorney. Cases don’t always go as planned. Small setbacks can mean they aren’t resolved in a timely manner, and it is the child who suffers most when permanent placement is still pending. Bringing a child back home safely is a team effort, and when a team isn’t united, children can stay in foster placement longer than is necessary. An attorney can investigate and remedy any delays in your case, make sure your rights are defended, and that your child is in a stable home.

If your child is in foster care, Williams Law Group, LLC can assist you. The skilled attorneys at Williams Law Group, LLC will help you navigate the child welfare case process while defending your right to be with your child. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.

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