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The Legal Rights of New Jersey Foster Parents Who Care for Minor Relatives

Foster parents have certain legal rights and responsibilities with respect to the children in their care. This can lead to legal disputes.

It is important for New Jersey foster parents to be aware of their rights and to seek the advice of a Somerset County foster care attorney when issues arise regarding these rights. One such dispute has recently lead to the payment of many Kentucky relatives who were fostering minor children without payment from the state.

Why Kentucky Foster Parents Must Now Be Paid for Fostering Minor Relatives

WCPO reports that the Kentucky ruling started with a lawsuit filed in Lexington. A great-aunt was fostering two young relatives, but had been denied foster care payments from the state. The case went to the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal, which held that the state was required to pay relatives for foster care in the same manner as licensed foster families. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services appealed this decision to the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case, meaning that the opinion of the Sixth Circuit will stand, and relatives who foster in Kentucky are now entitled to payments from the state.

But how do New Jersey relatives go about fostering minor children who are related to them? The New Jersey Department of Children and Families refers to placement with family members or friends as kinship care. A kinship care placement requires a thorough home inspection and criminal background checks on all household members aged 18 and older. Within five days of the child’s placement, the family member or friend must obtain an application to become a licensed resource parent. This license in not only a legal requirement - it also entitles the foster parent to a monthly board payment, clothing allowance, health coverage for the child and other support services.

Other Legal Issues Which Can Impact the Legal Rights of New Jersey Foster Relatives

In some cases, a New Jersey foster relative may have to assert the child’s legal right to monthly payments, a clothing allowance, or health coverage. This can be a simple matter of paperwork, or it can be a lengthier process involving hearings before foster care agencies. Foster parents may also have to fight for their rights to authorize emergency medical procedures, sign school forms, or complete other necessary daily tasks for the child.

It is not uncommon for foster relatives to seek an adoption of the child in their care. This is significant action which impacts the legal rights of both the child and his or her biological parents, if they are living. Because of this, the adoption process can be lengthy and contentious. A New Jersey adoption attorney can help foster relatives present the strongest possible case for adoption. An attorney can also help relatives anticipate and prepare for challenges in the process, to make the adoption process as smooth as possible.

If you have questions about adoption or foster care in New Jersey, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. A Somerset County foster care attorney can help foster parents ascertain their legal rights and responsibilities regarding children in their care.

If you are a New Jersey foster parent with questions about legal issues related to your foster children, contact the Somerset County foster care attorneys at Rozin-Golinder Law LLC by calling (732) 810-0034.

Additional Resources: Kentucky must start paying relatives who take in foster kids, by the Associated Press, WCPO Cincinnati, October 11, 2017.

More Blog Entries:How Opioid Addiction is Having an Impact on New Jersey Child Custody Cases, November 28, 2016, New Jersey Family Law Attorney Blog

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