background shadows

NJ DCF Logo with reverse copy 


New Jersey Department of Children and Families Policy Manual




Child Protection and Permanency

Effective Date:




Out of Home Placement



General Placement Considerations









Photographing Children in Out-of-Home Placement




This issuance establishes the policies and procedures of photographing and fingerprinting children in out-of-home placement.





·         Title 30, N.J.S.A. 30:4C-3.7.




A)    Out-of-Home Placement


Out-of-home placement includes resource family homes, kinship, group homes, shelters, residential facilities, and independent living placement. These placements shall be authorized by one of the following:


·         Court order

·         Emergency (Dodd) removal

·         Residential Placement Agreement (CP&P Form 25-59)

·         Independent Living Agreement (CP&P Form 10-8)


B)   Photographing Children in Out-of-Home Placement


The assigned Worker shall ensure that each child entering out-of-home placement is photographed within 30 days. The Worker shall photograph the child preferably on the initial day of placement. If the Worker determines that photographing the child on the initial day of placement has the potential to cause trauma due to the child’s emotional state, the Worker shall determine the most appropriate time to photograph the child within the 30-day timeframe.


Note: If a child has a current photograph on file, there is no need to take another photograph on the day of placement.


C)   Frequency of Photographs


The Worker shall ensure that each child in out-of-home placement is photographed every two years after the initial photograph entering placement. Photographs shall be taken in accordance with DCF’s Interim Policy on Processing of Photos of Resource Family Children and Investigations.


Note: The Worker shall photograph any child in out-of-home placement age 0 to 5 years old once every six months. A youth age 6 to 17 shall be photographed once a year.


D)   Social Media


In the event taking a photograph of the child is not possible, the Worker shall consult with his or her Supervisor regarding securing a photograph from social media. The Supervisor shall consult with the Social Media consultant from the local office to determine the feasibility of securing a photo. See Use of Social Media for Official Purposes.


E)   Retaining Hardcopies of Photographic Images


Any historic hard copy photos shall continue to be safeguarded in the child’s record and only destroyed upon destruction of the record.






Taking the Photograph

1.    The Worker uses his or her state-issued electronic device to take the photograph of the child.

2.    The Worker ensures that appropriate lighting is available to secure the photograph.

3.    The Worker ensures that the child does not have on a hat, sunglasses, or anything that obscures his or her features.

Note: Hats may be worn for religious purposes.

4.    The Worker ensures that the child is comfortable taking the photograph. The child can smile and pose as long as he or she is facing forward, and nothing is obscuring his or her face.

5.    The Worker ensures that the photograph is taken from the waist to the head.

6.    The Worker ensures that the photograph is clear. If the photograph is not clear, the Worker takes another photograph.

7.    The Worker informs his or her Supervisor of the completion of the photograph. Also – any barriers or problems in taking the photograph.

8.    The Worker shows his or her Supervisor the photograph.

9.    Once the photograph is approved and uploaded into NJ SPIRIT, the Worker deletes the photograph from his or her state-issued electronic device.

10. The Worker documents taking the photograph on the Contact Activity note in NJ SPIRIT.


Note: If the Worker does not feel comfortable photographing a child or young adult, the Worker consults with his or her Supervisor.




Reviewing the Case

1.    The Supervisor reviews the photograph in NJ SPIRIT for suitability.

2.    If the photograph is not suitable, the Supervisor instructs the Worker to re-photograph the child within the given timeframe.

3.    If the photograph is suitable, the Supervisor instructs the Worker to upload the photograph of the child in NJ SPIRIT person management window.