In a system in which most news is sad news, New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families has a good story to tell about its efforts to get children out of foster care and into permanent homes. In June of 2012, there were only 977 children in the foster system legally free for adoption — a significant drop from 2006 when DCF changed its policies regarding foster children and adoption.
That year, there was a backlog of 2,300 children available for adoption. Since that time, more than 8,000 former foster children have found permanent homes. In 2006, the department reorganized, dedicating more staffers to adoption and created specialized teams to work on possible adoption placements. Caseloads were also reduced to 15 to 18 children per worker.