Who is not permitted to become a foster parent? (updated March 2022)
Below is the list of automatic disqualifiers to become a licensed resource parent, also called a foster parent. This rule does not apply to biological parents working on reunification. The New Jersey state statute also applies to other potential caregivers. The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) will not license your home if one on the below lists fits your circumstances. In other words, DCPP must rule out your home if any adult household member committed certain crimes in New Jersey or in another state or jurisdiction. DCPP must do a New Jersey state and federal criminal history check on prospective resource parents and all adults residing in their home.
The Federal Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) crimes was made part of New Jersey law under N.J.S.A. 30:4C-26.8. An ASFA-disqualifying crime under N.J.S.A. 30:4C-26.8d applies to all adults residing in the home. Certain crimes are waivable after five years (see the second list below). An administrative law judge will look to this law in determining whether your home is able to be licensed. The law applies up until the point that a child is adopted, meaning if your home was licensed and you or a household member commits any of the crimes in the list, it will most likely impact whether your home will be able to continue holding its license and whether you are able to follow through on an adoption.
N.J.S.A. 30:4C-26.8d rules out and automatically disqualifies if any adult in the home has the following criminal history:
(1) a crime against a child, including endangering the welfare of a child and child pornography pursuant to N.J.S.2C:24-4; or child abuse, neglect, or abandonment pursuant to R.S.9:6-3;
(2) murder pursuant to N.J.S.2C:11-3 or manslaughter pursuant to N.J.S.2C:11-4;
(3) aggravated assault which would constitute a crime of the second or third degree pursuant to subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:12-1;
(4) stalking pursuant to P.L.1992, c.209 (C.2C:12-10);
(5) kidnapping and related offenses including criminal restraint; false imprisonment; interference with custody; criminal coercion; or enticing a child into a motor vehicle, structure, or isolated area pursuant to N.J.S.2C:13-1 through 2C:13-6;
(6) sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, or lewdness pursuant to N.J.S.2C:14-2 through N.J.S.2C:14-4;
(7) robbery which would constitute a crime of the first degree pursuant to N.J.S.2C:15-1;
(8) burglary which would constitute a crime of the second degree pursuant to N.J.S.2C:18-2;
(9) domestic violence pursuant to P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.);
(10) endangering the welfare of an incompetent person pursuant to N.J.S.2C:24-7 or endangering the welfare of an elderly or disabled person pursuant to N.J.S.2C:24-8;
(11) terrorist threats pursuant to N.J.S.2C:12-3;
(12) arson pursuant to N.J.S.2C:17-1, or causing or risking widespread injury or damage which would constitute a crime of the second degree pursuant to N.J.S.2C:17-2; or
(13) an attempt or conspiracy to commit an offense listed in paragraphs (1) through (12) of this subsection.
Automatic disqualifiers are listed below for a home if any adult in the home was convicted of one of the following crimes or was released from incarceration in the last five years under N.J.S.A. 30:4C-26.8e:
(1) simple assault pursuant to subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:12-1;
(2) aggravated assault which would constitute a crime of the fourth degree pursuant to subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:12-1;
(3) a drug-related crime pursuant to P.L.1987, c.106 (C.2C:35-1 et seq.);
(4) robbery which would constitute a crime of the second degree pursuant to N.J.S.2C:15-1;
(5) burglary which would constitute a crime of the third degree pursuant to N.J.S.2C:18-2; or
(6) an attempt or conspiracy to commit an offense listed in paragraphs (1) through (5) of this subsection.