Bringing Your Adopted Child Home During the COVID Crisis

Bringing Your Adopted Child Home During the Pandemic

Adopting a child during the era of COVID-19 presents many unique challenges. While some of the larger logistical issues like flying to meet a child have become nearly impossible, relatively little time is given to the realities of life once your child comes home. If you’re adopting during these trying times (New Jersey has had over 233,000 cases as of late October), it’s necessary to consider how you’ll safely introduce your child to a new life.

Celebrate at Home

Though it’s natural to want to celebrate bringing a new child into your family, it’s important to remember that social distancing guidelines must still be followed. Celebrations should be small and kept at home. However, this doesn’t mean you need to lower the excitement of the day.

Your child deserves to know how glad you are that he or she is now part of the family. You don’t have to focus on the fact that you’re missing out on doing something bigger. Instead, focus on what you’re able to do now. Put your time and effort into making sure that this celebration is something that makes your child feel like he or she is being welcomed into your home.

Connect at a Distance

One of the most important steps in bringing your adopted child into the fold is introducing him or her to the most important people in your life. Unfortunately, COVID-19 will preclude the possibility of getting them all together at once. Parents are now faced with the issue of trying to introduce children to friends and family members remotely, a process that can feel both frustrating and overwhelming to children who are still attempting to get their bearings in a new environment.

You can and should introduce your children to those who are important to you. Group calls can be a good way to start, but make sure that they’re not too much for your child. You may want to spend time introducing him or her to others more slowly, but don’t expect the child to spend hours on the phone talking to new people. Sometimes, just allowing your child to see a family member who would love to visit but is otherwise unable to do so is enough to help your child feel a little more connected.

Share Your History

This can be a fantastic time to start sharing your family’s history with your child. Since the usual options of going out and bonding might not be possible, you can spend the days together talking about all the things that your child might not yet know. You can, for example, let your child know what your journey was like toward adoption or talk about your favorite things to do when you were his or her age. While quarantine and isolation may not be a preferred way to spend time, it’s a good chance for you to let your child learn about your life.

This is also an ideal time for your child to share his or her history with you. While you may have learned the basics through working with an agency or your New Jersey adoption attorney, there are some things that you can only learn from your child. Your COVID-era adoption might require you to spend less time enjoying new experiences. However, you’ll have ample opportunities to learn more about who your child is.

Start Building New Foundations

Finally, try to look at this time as an opportunity to start building new foundations with your child. Get new meals delivered, watch movies or do crafts. Find time to spend together doing those activities that neither of you has ever done before, even if they must be done in your own home. You may not spend as much time exploring the surrounding area as you might have done before the pandemic, but you can still create fantastic memories with each other.

Adoption may seem more difficult during this era, but it is still an incredibly life-changing experience. If you are ready to adopt despite the difficulties involved with the pandemic, your next step should be to contact a New Jersey adoption attorney. When you’re ready to take your next step, contact the firm of Cofsky & Zeidman. Call (856)429-5005 to reach the main office in Haddonfield, NJ, or (856)845-2555 to reach our office in Woodbury, NJ.

COVID-19 Job Loss and Adoption

Job Loss, COVID-19, and the Adoption Process

Millions of jobs have been lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic, derailing the lives of many and pressing pause on the important life plans of even more. Many pre-adoptive parents have been laid off, some of whom were relatively far along in the adoption process. If you’ve been laid off due to COVID-19, you must understand how your change in circumstances could impact your adoption.

Impacting Household Income

One of the primary ways that COVID-related job loss can impact your adoption is by reducing your annual household income. The good news for most pre-adoptive parents is that while income is a factor, the thresholds set by most agencies are relatively low. The agencies aren’t looking for only the incredibly wealthy but rather for those people who have enough money to pay their bills and to take care of the children that they choose to adopt. As such, you may experience less of an impact from your job loss than you might fear.

With that said, potential adoptive parents may be required to report their change in income to the adoption agency. If the income change is enough that you are no longer able to pay for your costs of living, you might find it difficult to continue with your adoption. In most cases, though, adoption agencies tend to look at your overall ability to pay rather than the difference between what you originally made and what you make now. Households with more than one income tend to be mostly unaffected by a job loss, although those with significant debts may still find themselves dealing with adoption problems.

Household Changes

Losing your job during COVID-19 doesn’t just impact your income—it can also impact your housing situation. If you have to move because of a drop in income, you may find that certain parts of the adoption process are impacted. While adopting a child during COVID-19 is hard enough on its own, having to go back and conduct basic things like home inspections can make the process seem significantly harder. This is, however, an unfortunate necessity if you move.

The good news is that the lost job won’t have much of an impact on your adoption on this front if you are still able to move into a space that is suitable for your child. It’s vital to remember that caseworkers aren’t looking to see that you are living in a mansion. They just want to see that you are living in a safe and suitable place that will help your child develop properly as he or she ages. With that said, any major changes in your status should be discussed with your New Jersey adoption attorney so that you can prepare for any questions that the adoption agency might have.

Causing Processing Delays

At the very least, there is a chance that losing your job is going to impact the speed at which your paperwork goes through. Any changes to your status may cause the adoption agency with which you work to reassess your adoption process, though the good news is that you won’t necessarily find yourself having to start all over just because you’ve found yourself without a job.

Processing delays do, however, play a role in how your adoption plays out. Adopting a child usually requires going through several potential steps, and each step does require completing the step before. If your processing gets held up, you might find it more difficult to move forward with your next step. If you were let go from your job during COVID, you might find that you have to take a few steps back from your current position in the adoption process so that your paperwork can be adjusted.

Losing your job can be difficult no matter the circumstances, and doing so while going through the adoption process is often even worse. If you are currently a pre-adoptive parent who is struggling with how job loss will impact your adoption plans, you don’t have to fight alone. Make sure to contact the office of Cofsky & Zeidman in Haddonfield or Woodbury, New Jersey, by phone at (856) 429-5005 or (856) 845-2555 or through the firm’s contact page to get the help you need from a New Jersey adoption attorney today.

COVID-19 and the Adoption Home Inspection Process

COVID-19 and Pre-Adoptive Home Inspections

When pre-adoptive parents first look into adopting a child, they’ll have to prove their fitness through a home study; these home studies have typically taken about 90 days to complete in the past, but they can take longer if they are disrupted. COVID-19 has proven especially adept at disrupting such routines, and the impacts on home studies aren’t limited to timing. Below are just a few ways COVID-19 has impacted home inspections for prospective adoptive families.

A Larger Caseload

One of the more pressing problems during COVID-19 has been a lack of available caseworkers. Whether individuals are quarantined, stuck in areas that are locked down, or simply at home with children who are engaging in distance learning, there are fewer caseworkers available to conduct home visits than in normal situations. As such, adoptive parents now find themselves waiting longer to get on the docket for visits with the usual wait times conceivably being several times longer than those in the past.

This may not seem like a huge COVID adoption change, but it does impact the timeline of adoption for many who are waiting to become parents. When adoption home inspections are slowed down, virtually everything else in the adoption process follows suit. When getting on the calendar takes more time, potential parents will find themselves stuck in a holding pattern.

Quicker Inspections

For good or for ill, the process of adoption home inspections has gotten quicker once caseworkers are able to get to the homes of prospective parents. Home inspections have never been particularly lengthy, of course, but they’ve generally been followed up by several questions and often even meetings with caseworkers. Today, though, most of those visits are being conducted as quickly as possible.

It’s wise to remember that those who feel like their adoption home inspections were carried out too quickly or inappropriately may need to contact a New Jersey adoption lawyer to challenge the decisions made and to get their applications back on track. Quick inspections might seem more efficient, but the decisions that spring from them aren’t always guaranteed to be as accurate as most would like.

Using Technology

Many adoption home inspections now use new technology to help speed along the pre-adoption home inspection process. Many agencies are beginning to use remote technology to get images of homes, ranging from teleconferencing software to pictures taken on smartphones. While both of these technologies certainly have their issues, they do allow agencies to gather data without having to potentially expose their agents to COVID-19. For many, this kind of technological innovation both removes some of the humanity from the adoption process and puts more power back in the hands of parents.

Remember, the remote sessions can often be conducted without a caseworker in the home. This means that not only do parents get to guide the camera, but they can also answer questions without having to get flustered by the stranger who might be in the room. While conducting these inspections remotely can be a double-edged sword, it is one that often cuts in the favor of the pre-adoptive parents.

Slower Processing

Finally, the adoption process is starting to run into the same kind of issue encountered in businesses and agencies across the world. Adoption home inspections are taking longer to process both because of the aforementioned lack of available caseworkers and because of many agencies bringing on fewer workers to adhere to social distancing regulations.

Slower processing of these inspections will naturally impact the timetable for any other adoption paperwork. Fortunately, many agencies do allow prospective parents to continue moving on with the other paperwork while the home inspection is being approved. Though not quite as problematic in the slowdown of actually assigning the home inspections, it should still be noted that virtually no adoptions can proceed until the home of the prospective parents has been approved via a home inspection.

You must understand how the process of getting your home inspected has changed because of COVID-19 and how it might impact your timeline for adoption. Though there’s little that you can do to speed things along, staying on top of your communications and making your home available can help. If you are struggling with the adoption process or you simply need representation to help you through it, make sure to contact a New Jersey adoption lawyer with the law firm of Cofsky & Zeidman in Haddonfield or Woodbury, New Jersey, either by phone at (856) 429-5005 or (856) 845-2555 or through the contact page.

Keeping Adopted Kids Safe During the Pandemic

Safe at Home: Keeping Adopted Children Safe During the Pandemic

There have been over 6 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States, causing untold hardships for millions around the country. If you’re the parent of an adopted child, you know that the damage done by the illness isn’t confined to those who get sick. If you’re concerned about your child’s well-being, you’ll want to consider taking a few necessary steps to keep your adopted child safe from a COVID outbreak.

Discuss the Illness

The best place to start is always with honesty. Take some time to discuss COVID-19 with your child so that he or she understands the severity of the illness. There is quite a bit of misinformation out there, so it’s up to you as a parent to make sure that your child is on the right path. If you’re not sure of what to believe, make sure to educate yourself well enough to talk to your child. Don’t pull from unreliable sources or your own guesses — if you don’t know what to tell your child, be honest with him or her, and do some of the research together.

Follow the Rules

Once you’ve established the reasons for acting safely, it’s time to start looking at the minimum actions that you can take to stay safe. Try to present the basic health care rules for the pandemic in the same way that your New Jersey adoption lawyer presented the rules you’d need to follow the complete your adoption — clearly, concisely, and with explanations for anything that could be easily misconstrued. COVID safety generally requires wearing a mask when out of the house and maintaining a social distance whenever possible, so make sure that your child knows to follow these rules whenever you are not around.

Take Sensible Precautions

Your next step is to look at the sensible precautions that you and your child can take that go above and beyond the mandated actions. It is generally a good idea to minimize the trips that you take outside of your home, for example, and to avoid those places where you think that social distancing won’t be possible. Make sure that you keep up to date with information about preventing transmission as it becomes available, and always err on the side of caution when deciding where it’s safe for your child to go.

Limit Socializing

One particularly tough part about keeping your child safe during the pandemic is the fact that you’ll have to limit his or her socialization. Try to find alternatives to meeting in person, such as video games and teleconferencing, and make sure to limit the number of people who are around whenever possible. If you choose to let your child socialize, make sure that it is with friends and family who follow the proper health care guidelines and who would clearly communicate with you if and when they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Social opportunities will be limited for the time being, but it’s always better to be safe than to be sorry.

Keep Yourself Safe

Finally, make sure that you set a good example by keeping yourself safe. If your child is not yet in school or is attending school at home, you will be one of the most likely vectors of transmission that your child encounters. As such, you’ll want to follow all of the rules that you have set forth for your child so that he or she can see a model of what actually needs to be done. Remember, your child is likely going to be watching your every move, so setting the right example is a must.

Know When to Reach Out for Help

Raising a child is never easy, and the pandemic certainly doesn’t help. As an adoptive parent, you’ve made the choice to bring a child into your life, so make sure that you’re doing all that you can to keep him or her safe. If you find yourself wondering whether you have any special responsibilities because of the nature of your relationship with your child or the legal proceedings that you’ve undergone, make sure to reach out to our New Jersey adoption lawyer at Cofsy & Zeidman in Haddonfield, NJ, to get the help you and your child deserve.

COVID-19 Pandemic Update: Embryo Donation

How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Affected Embryo Donation

Stimulated in vitro fertilization can lead to as many as 30 eggs produced by some women. Some patients opt to donate these embryos to other women hoping to get pregnant; this allows for about 2,000 embryo adoptions annually — a number that continues to trend up. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected practically every aspect of our lives, and New Jersey adoption attorneys note that current circumstances may have added new wrinkles to the assisted reproduction process as well.

What Is Embryo Donation?

IVF can result in more embryos than a patient requires. Those embryos can be cryopreserved for use at a later time, but there may be no plans to use them at all. In those scenarios, a patient can opt to donate them to other women as opposed to discarding them or contributing them to science. The average success rate of IVF involving donated embryos is 40%, which is slightly higher than standard IVF. People who are suitable candidates to adopt embryos include

• Couples who are both infertile

• Single women who are infertile

• Patients with genetic disorders

• Women who experience recurrent embryo loss

Are Embryos Screened for Disease?

Absolutely. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has established strict guidelines for tissue donation, and those rules encompass eggs, sperm and embryos. Since embryos are initially intended for private use, there can be cases where the FDA testing was not performed comprehensively or in the required time frame. It is legally required that the recipient be informed of this risk. This is in addition to the detailed medical histories that accompany all embryo donations. Although there is no evidence as of this writing that COVID-19 affects embryos, you also have the right to know whether the donated embryos were created prior to, during or after the pandemic.

Is It Permissible to Donate or Receive Embryos During the Pandemic?

Infertility is classified as a disease, which means that treatments are never deemed elective. It is therefore permissible to donate and receive embryos during the pandemic. Doctors will work with their patients on an individual basis to determine if it is recommended for them. While as many as 80% of fertility clinics in the U.S. ceased operations in April and May of 2020, the majority had reopened and welcomed back furloughed workers by mid-June. Most clinics are now moving forward with donations and IVF treatments.

Embryo Donation Is Often a Remote Process

Embryo donation was a remote process long before the pandemic, and this is a big reason why fertility clinics have adapted so quickly and efficiently. Donors and recipients often do not meet, and most agreements are finalized remotely between the clinics, matchmaking services and attorneys.

How Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Affecting Embryo Donation?

This is not to say the coronavirus has not created problems for the embryo donation process. Many clinics are operating with smaller staffs, which can result in longer wait periods when acquiring approvals, medical records and other documents. If a donor requires a physical exam or lab work, then the process will take longer since many doctors’ offices and labs are managing backlogs. Federal, state and local mandates can affect shipments and cycles, and as of this writing, there exists a backlog of embryo transfers due to the logistical challenges everyone is facing. People just entering the donation process can expect greater delays than those who were already involved in a process disrupted by the pandemic.

Local Representation for Donors and Surrogates

Are you considering embryo donation or embryo adoption? Cofsky & Zeidman, LLC, would like to help. Our law firm is experienced in navigating both the donation and adoption process, and Donald Cofsky is a Charter Member of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys. Initial consultations are provided at no cost and without obligation, and we can assign you to our New Jersey adoption attorney who will work hard to make this process as smooth and rewarding as possible. Contact us online or call our office in Haddonfield, NJ, at (856) 429-5005; Woodbury, NJ, at (856) 845-2555; or Philadelphia, PA, at (215) 563-2150.

Is It Harder to Adopt Via a Surrogate During the Pandemic?

How Has the Pandemic Affected Surrogacy Arrangements?

Each year, about 750 children are born through surrogacy. The surrogate process can be a great way to expand a family, but things may be trickier during the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus has affected several different parts of the surrogate and adoption process.

Starting the Process May Be Slower

If you have not already started the New Jersey surrogate adoption process, you should expect it to take a little longer than usual. The New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Law requires that the surrogate must go through medical and psychological examinations before agreeing to carry a pregnancy. During the pandemic, many elective medical procedures have become unavailable. Doctors may be busy handling emergencies, or they could be spacing out patient appointments to reduce in-office crowding. This means that your desired surrogate will have to schedule her examination appointments months in advance. It is important to be patient and start the process as soon as possible.

Handling the Legal Complexities of Surrogacy May Take Longer

In New Jersey, surrogacy is divided into two categories: gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy. In gestational surrogacy, an embryo is implanted into a surrogate carrier who is not the biological mother of the child. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate carrier is artificially inseminated with the father’s sperm, so she is the biological mother. New Jersey only allows pre-birth agreements in cases of gestational surrogacy. For traditional surrogacy, the surrogate has no duty to surrender the child. Instead, the intended parents must go through typical adoption following the birth of the child.

In both of these cases, parents usually need to go to court. For New Jersey surrogate adoptions, you have to file a petition for adoption, go to preliminary hearings, and then potentially return for a final hearing. With the huge case backlog due to the pandemic, this means that parents going through traditional surrogacy may have to wait months to resolve the situation. For gestational surrogacy, the couple just needs to get a pre-birth order establishing parentage. This helpful document identifies the intended parents as the parent both before and after birth. You typically obtain this order in court, but it is possible to waive court appearances. With most New Jersey family courts so busy, they are encouraging families to seek waivers whenever possible. Typically, your New Jersey adoption lawyer can just file a bit of paperwork, so the COVID delay will be very brief.

You Might Not Be Present at the Birth

Often, surrogacy adoption agreements include discussions of what everyone expects to happen right after the birth. Prospective parents may be looking forward to cutting the cord, skin-to-skin time with the newborn, and other family bonding moments. However, this is not always possible with surrogacy during COVID. Depending on the hospital you go to, only the pregnant woman may be present in the delivery room, and newborns may be isolated for their own safety.

As your New Jersey adoption lawyer will explain, the health of the surrogate and the child is always a priority. If doctors deem it medically necessary for the carrier and child to be isolated for a certain amount of time, you need to respect this decision. Regardless of what your initial agreement was, it may be quite a few weeks before you can bring your baby home. This is understandably frustrating, but it is inevitable in some surrogacy cases. During this difficult time, try to focus on the positives. Despite the disruptions from the pandemic, it’s still possible to finalize your adoption and welcome your new family member eventually.

COVID-19 might be slowing down adoptions, but there is still hope for your family. Have more questions about how the pandemic will affect your adoption via surrogacy plans? The office of Cofsky & Zeidman is here to help New Jersey residents. We have offices in Haddonfield and Woodbury. As experienced New Jersey adoption lawyers, we can guide you through all the complexities of adopting during a pandemic. Our team is happy to provide remote consultations, so go ahead and call us now at 856-429-5005.

How to Prepare for Your Adoption During COVID-19

Getting Ready for a Domestic Adoption During the COVID Crisis

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a record number of families beginning the adoption process. More people are taking the time to think about what they want for the future and are taking steps towards achieving their adoption goals. However, COVID-19 has changed quite a few things about the domestic adoption process, so it is important to be fully prepared.

Decide Between Private and Foster Care Adoptions

If you are just getting started on the adoption journey, your first step needs to be talking with a New Jersey adoption attorney and examining your options for domestic adoption in New Jersey. You can adopt through the foster system. You can also go with a private adoption where an agency guides you through the process. Before making your choice, call several organizations to see how they are handling adoptions during COVID-19. Some agencies may be easier to work with right now since the government is overloaded.

Get Ready for Your Adoption Assessment and Home Study

In most regions, home studies have become a video call with your social worker. Preparing for an adoption home study often involves cleaning the home, creating a bedroom for the new child, and gathering all relevant documents. For COVID adoption studies, you need to make sure you have a scanner so that you can send important documents. Invest in a quality video camera so that you can show your home clearly. If you are using your child’s future bedroom as a home office, go ahead and clear it before the call so that there will not be concerns about the home’s suitability.

Have Childcare Plans Ready After COVID-19

Most adoption agencies want to confirm that you are prepared to handle a child both during and after the COVID-19 crisis. The biggest way this can affect adoption approval is with child care. Agencies may be wary of parents who just assume that they can continue to work remotely indefinitely. You need to make sure you have a way of giving a child appropriate care even if you have to go back to working on-site.

Address Changes to Your Employment Status

If you are currently unemployed because of COVID-19, it might be tempting to just ignore it and hope that the situation resolves itself. However, most organizations require prospective parents to alert them to any major changes in the parents’ situation. If you have a change in employment or living situation after you are approved for adoption, you need to be up front with the agency.

Make Sure You Have a Way of Travelling to Meet Your Child

If your prospective child is far away from your hometown, you need to think about how COVID-19 will affect travel plans. It is no longer as simple as just flying to pick them up. Instead, with adoption during COVID, you may need to prepare for long drives and find hotels that are still open. Some prospective parents have turned to RVs as a solution. This can help reduce coronavirus exposure because it limits the need for stopping at hotels and restaurants.

File Your Court Petition As Soon As Possible

In any type of domestic adoption, you have to file an official complaint for adoption with the court after about six months. Figuring out the timing for this during the pandemic can be tricky, so you may want to consult with a New Jersey adoption attorney. Right now, there is a big backlog of cases in family courts. Therefore, you should file as soon as you can so that you have less of a wait ahead of you.

With just a little extra planning and preparation, it is still possible to adopt even during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions, Cofsky & Zeidman is here to help. Our Haddonfield team is working from home and setting up remote consultations, so it is easy to get the assistance you need. To get more information, call 856-429-5005 or fill out our online contact form.

Is It More Difficult to Adopt Internationally During the Pandemic?

Pandemic Increases Anxiety for Families Adopting Internationally

Over 4,000 children come to America each year for international adoption. These are children brought over from a wide variety of countries and for many different reasons. For those families who have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of their new child, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new anxiety to the process.

Closed Borders and Travel Restrictions

One of the most frustrating aspects of the pandemic for adopting parents has been the various travel restrictions. Not being able to see their child has been heartbreaking, especially if they were at the end of the adoption process. While virtual visits can be an option for some families, there are parts of the world where even those are not possible.


If the parents have been allowed to travel, there have often been quarantining procedures they must follow. Depending on where they live and where they are traveling, they may have been required to quarantine both before and after their travels. This creates an extra level of stress and could prevent one of the parents from being able to travel because they need to work. Social workers have also not been able to perform home visits, further delaying the adoption process.

Closed Courtrooms

Even if traveling has been allowed and necessary paperwork has been filled out, there has been another major glitch in the process. Most courtrooms around the country were shut down for any type of filings that were not essential. Unfortunately, the courts often do not consider adoption proceedings essential. As many adoptive parents will attest, finalizing the adoption brings a great sense of relief to their family. There is always a fear that there will be an unforeseen glitch and the adoption will not go through.

There are different types of international adoptions. A child can be born and adopted in their home country, or they can be adopted in a different country. Sometimes, if an adoption has been completed in their home country, they must be readopted into the United States. There is a lot of paperwork required no matter the type of adoption proceeding. For instance, if you have adopted a child in another country, they may need to be readopted into the United States. In this case, you must mail the following forms to the New Jersey Office of Vital Statistics and Registry:


• Report of Adoption form (REG-44)
• Certified copy of the final judgment of adoption from a New Jersey court
• Certified copy of the original birth certificate, as well as a certified English translation
• $2 in the form of a check or money order made out to the Treasurer of the State of New Jersey
• Proof of residency in New Jersey
• A Certificate of Citizenship from the United States Immigration and Naturalization Services


An experienced New Jersey adoption lawyer can help you obtain any of these documents that you may not have. In addition, they can answer any questions you have about which documents to provide. If the child’s adoption was completed in another country, there is a different set of forms required.

An Uncertain Future

As our country and the world move through this pandemic, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. For parents adopting internationally, they have a host of questions and worries about how this will affect the future. Parents who are considering international adoption may turn to domestic adoptions because of all of these obstacles. International adoption rates have been decreasing anyway, so these problems may cause even fewer of those children to be brought into loving homes.

Choose an Experienced Adoption Lawyer

With all of the uncertainty regarding international adoptions, you need an experienced New Jersey adoption lawyer on your side. Donald C. Cofsky has helped over 1,500 families achieve their dreams of adoption. Whether you are working with an agency or not, our firm can guide you through the process. Cofsky & Zeidman has offices in Haddonfield, Woodbury, and Philadelphia. Give our firm a call today, toll-free, at (856) 429-5005 to set up an appointment.

Has COVID-19 Changed Foster Care?

4 Ways COVID-19 Is Affecting Foster Care

Currently, there are more than 400,000 children in foster care, and the pandemic is making it challenging to address the needs of these kids. Families in the foster system need to stay up to date on the ways COVID is affecting foster care. By learning about the changes to the system, you can overcome some of the challenges caused by the virus.

Court Hearings Are Being Delayed

Of course one of the biggest changes to the foster care system during the pandemic is the court process. Most foster families have to spend time in court while parents try to regain their rights or foster parents work to adopt children. Right now, most courts are heavily limiting the load of cases they take. In many locations, they are only working on emergency matters or ongoing cases. There is also a huge backlog of cases to get through from when courts were entirely shut down in spring. This means that many families who are waiting on court decisions will have to wait a while longer. A good New Jersey adoption attorney may be able to help you make an application for an emergency ruling, but in many cases, you should still expect lengthy delays.

More Children May Be Left in Bad Environments

An unfortunate foster care COVID-19 change has been the lack of home visits from social workers. In many areas, social workers are working remotely, so they do not see the environment a child is actually in. Some social workers also report that their local courts are too overwhelmed to proceed with removing children from a bad environment. Some social workers are turning to “hidden foster care,” where they threaten removal unless the parent informally places a child with a more stable relative. This can be a stopgap measure, but it does not provide families with the same protections as official foster care. This may lead to more children in need of homes as the virus calms down. Those already licensed as foster care parents may want to go ahead and start preparing for new additions to their families.

COVID-19 Disrupts the Stability of Some Foster Families

Another big COVID foster care change has been the general instability of the pandemic. Many families have lost jobs, and most schools are closed. For foster care families with several children, this can be overwhelming. Parents all over the nation report struggles with child care, schooling, and making ends meet. During normal times, the foster care system would step in to help, but right now, the system is already overtaxed. Struggling foster care parents should discuss these challenges honestly with their social worker, since there may be some forms of government assistance in place.

Foster Parents May Be Eligible for Extra Assistance

The good news is that the government has not forgotten foster care families altogether. Most regions have authorized at least some form of COVID-19 foster care payments. This can provide a few hundred extra dollars each month to ensure the needs of the family are met. There may also be other government stimulus programs designed to help struggling foster parents. However, you do not always get these funds automatically. It may be worthwhile to do some research and find out which grants are available to you. This can cover some of the associated costs of foster care as you work to recover from the pandemic.

Successfully managing all the challenges of foster care is hard at any time, so it is always important to have an experienced family lawyer on your side. Cofsky & Zeidman’s services are especially helpful during the COVID-19 crisis. Our firm can assist you with foster care hearings, adoption filings, and more. We are working remotely, so you can get legal assistance without compromising your safety. To schedule your consultation with a New Jersey adoption attorney, call us today. Reach our Haddonfield, NJ, office at (856) 429-5005, our Woodbury, NJ, office at (856) 845-2555, or our Philadelphia, PA, office at (215) 563-2150.

During the COVID-19 Shutdown, More Families Are Seeking to Adopt

With a Slower Process, Families Still Seek to Adopt

While more families are seeking to adopt during the COVID-19 shutdown, delays have made the process more frustrating for some. Your loving home is still desired, although the process may take longer. When issues are resolved, you can file papers in New Jersey with the Office of Vital Statistics and Registry.

The Process Has Been Slowed Down

Although some people have been wary of bringing new people into a home right now, those who have already been looking to adopt are facing delays. Typical adoptions used to take between six and nine months. That process is now taking longer during the pandemic.

Home studies, court hearings and the ability to maintain stable homes have all been affected by the shutdown. As far as international adoptions, the process has slowed because of:

  • Border closings
  • Curfews
  • Social distancing
  • Travel restrictions

Courage, dedication and collaboration are needed within the community as the new normal begins to take place. Those waiting for a child need to find the information they require and, in the meantime, be patient. As things begin to open up, the process of bringing a new child into the home will once more become easier to complete.

Whether you are bringing in a young one from China or nearby Pennsylvania, your love and care are still needed in providing a permanent home to a child. Right now, your patience is needed as well, and being steadfast will get you through uncertain times during which delays are the norm.

Even with the pandemic, you can begin your plans for adopting if you have not already done so. Online resources can help you and give you more information. Initial interviews may be done online, and foster care training can also be done virtually.

Children in Foster Care Have Been Impacted

While kids in foster care await permanent, loving homes, the current environment has had a negative impact. The isolation of social distancing along with a higher risk for contracting the virus has consequences. Many of these children have already been moved from one place to another and may get disheartened by the current situation. That’s why foster homes are an additional area of need.

Although caseworkers used to meet face to face with clients, technology has been used for foster care training and to provide information to people interested in foster care. Prospective parents are now turning to social media during the stay-at-home order. The pandemic itself has made the need to find more foster families stronger, and with online resources this can easily be a reality.

As the stay-at-home order is lifted, more children will need to be protected from abusive environments, where tensions and rising violence in the home were magnified by the close quarters during quarantine. The hope is that these children will find loving homes after the pandemic. This will be a period in which your love is greatly needed.

Families might know of local problems that have arisen during the shutdown right in their communities. There could be a variety of issues due to the virus including sick family members or limited resources. Trauma, stress and anxiety may have been triggered by the pandemic, and now, more than ever, children will need a stable and loving home in which to thrive when life gets back to normal or the “new normal.” If you are thinking about expanding your family during this time, consultations with a New Jersey adoption attorney may be a wise course to take.

Contact Cofsky & Zeidman to reach a New Jersey adoption attorney for help. We are located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, and can be reached by phone at (856) 429-5005 or by email. Donald Cofsky can answer all your questions about the law and bringing a new family member into your loving home during the COVID-19 shutdown and as things begin to open up again.