Background Checks for Prospective Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Caregivers - New Jersey

Date: September 2018

Who Needs Records Checks

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 30:4C-26.8; 9:3-54.2; 30:4C-86

Background checks are required for the following persons:

  • A prospective family resource parent and members of the prospective parent's household
  • Each prospective adoptive parent and each member of the prospective adoptive parent's household, age 18 or older
  • A prospective kinship legal guardian and any adult residing in the household

Types of Records That Must Be Checked

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 30:4C-26.8; 30:4C-27.7; 30:4C-86

The background check for a resource family parent shall include the following:

  • State and Federal criminal history records checks
  • A child abuse record information check
  • A child abuse record information check from each State in which the prospective resource family parent and any other adult residing in the home has resided in the preceding 5 years

A prospective kinship legal guardian shall undergo the following:

  • A criminal history records background check by the Division of State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • A domestic violence central registry check
  • A child abuse registry records check

Process for Obtaining Records Checks

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 9:3-54.2; 30:4C-26.8; 30:4C-27.7

Each applicant and each adult member of the applicant's household shall submit to the approved agency standard fingerprint cards containing his or her name, address, and fingerprints taken by a State or municipal law enforcement agency. The applicant also must provide written consent for the release of records.

Upon receiving the written consent, the division shall complete an investigation to ascertain if there is a State or Federal record of criminal history for the prospective adoptive or resource family parent or any other adult residing in the prospective parent's home. The investigation shall be conducted by the State police and shall include an examination of its own files and the obtaining of a similar examination by Federal authorities.

Grounds for Disqualification

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 30:4C-26.8; 30:4C-27.9

A person shall be disqualified from being a resource family parent or shall not be eligible to adopt a child if that person or any adult residing in that person's household ever committed a crime which resulted in a conviction for any of the following:

  • A crime against a child, including endangering the welfare of a child, child pornography, child abuse, neglect, or abandonment
  • Murder or manslaughter
  • Aggravated assault in the second or third degree
  • Stalking
  • Kidnapping, criminal restraint, false imprisonment, interference with custody, or criminal coercion
  • Enticing a child into a motor vehicle, structure, or isolated area
  • Sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, or lewdness
  • Robbery in the first degree
  • Burglary in the second degree
  • Domestic violence
  • Endangering the welfare of an incompetent person or an elderly or disabled person
  • Terrorist threats
  • Arson

A person shall be disqualified from being a resource family parent if that person or any adult residing in that person's household was convicted of one of the following crimes and the date of release from confinement occurred during the preceding 5 years:

  • Simple assault
  • Aggravated assault in the fourth degree
  • A drug-related crime
  • Robbery in the second degree
  • Burglary in the third degree

A conviction for one of the offenses listed above has occurred if the person has been convicted under the laws of this State or any other State or jurisdiction for an offense that is substantially equivalent to the offenses listed above.

For the purposes of this section, the term 'date of release from confinement' means the date of termination of court-ordered supervision through probation, parole, or residence in a correctional facility, whichever date occurs last.

If the division determines that an incident of child abuse or neglect by any household member has been substantiated, the application for licensure or renewal shall be denied. An exception may be made when it is determined that a foster child will not be endangered by remaining in the current foster home.