Make a Change to Legislation
There are many bills introduced into Congress and State Legislatures each year. We have outlined a current resolution relevant to the foster, kinship and adoptive community, how it would affect you and the children in your care, and how to get in touch with your representatives so they can hear your voice.
We will update this page with action alerts regularly, so keep checking in to see how you can Get Involved!
The Current Issue at Hand
Name of bill or resolution: NJ A1357- New Jersey Siblings’ Bill of Rights– PASSED
What it means to you and the children in your care: This bill was drafted by the Department of Children and Families Youth Council, which consists of 24 young New Jersey residents with lived experience in child welfare. This bill provides the following rights for siblings in care.
- To be placed with siblings when possible and in the best interests of all siblings placed together, including placement together in congregate care settings when possible;
- To be placed in the closest proximity possible to other siblings who are not in out-of-home placement or if placement together is not possible, when it is in the best interests of the child;
- To be allowed to participate in the permanency planning decisions of their siblings, as age and developmentally appropriate, and to have their recommendations and wishes in this regard documented in the case record, in the words written or otherwise expressed by the sibling when possible;
- To know or be made aware of expectations for continued contact with their siblings after an adoption or transfer of permanent physical and legal custody to a relative;
- To be promptly informed about changes in sibling placements or circumstances; to be permitted in-person contact with siblings, if in the best interest of both siblings;
- To be provided necessary transportation as reasonable, and to have access to a phone or computer that allows for virtual visits in between or when face-to-face visits are not feasible; to be actively involved in their siblings’ lives, including planning and attending celebrations, birthdays, holidays, graduations, and other meaningful milestones, to the greatest extent possible;
- To not have sibling visits, including phone calls and virtual visits, be denied as a result of behavioral consequences when residing in a resource family home or congregate care setting; and to be provided updated contact information for all siblings, at least annually, including a current telephone number, address, and email address, unless not in the best interests of one or more siblings.
How to Take Action
What you can do to Get Involved: NJ S1034– New Jersey Siblings’ Bill of Rights was introduced to the Assembly Women and Children Committee on 1/11/2022. It was passed by the NJ Senate on 5/26/2022. Now it is currently, pending with the NJ Assembly. You can act by finding and asking your NJ Legislator to vote in favor of this bill.
Visit https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/bill-search/2022/S1034 to learn more and see how you can connect with your legislators. This site also offers tips on how to effectively communicate your story and ask for their support!