The Home Study
I wanted to write a blog post about the Home Study portion of the adoption process because it is one of the most integral parts of the adoption process. State and private adoption agencies want to be assured that the child will be placed into a safe, healthy and nurturing family home. Social workers or other trained professionals in your county typically spend three to six months completing the study with you and your family. Everyone in the prospective family, including other children, are included in the interviews and visits to your home. You will need to answer questions, gather documents, and help the professional understand your reasons for adopting. The professional is trying to gain perspective of who you are and what it is like to be a member of your family.
Every state has different requirements, but here are the requirements for the state of Florida:
Every member in the household over the age of 12 will need a criminal background check, and all are required to be a part of the home study. Applications to adopt will be accepted from married couples and single adults. Couples married less than two years will be given particularly careful evaluation. Be prepared to describe your neighborhood, community, and schools your child will attend. You may need to be required to submit to a physical exam. Be prepared to discuss any medical conditions you may have and how they will or will not affect your ability to care for your child.
Preliminary Home Study
The preliminary home study must be made to determine the suitability of the intended adoptive parents and may be completed prior to identification of a prospective adoptive child. At a minimum, the study includes:
-an interview with the intended adoptive parents
-criminal records and central abuse registry checks
-an assessment of the physical environment of the home
-a determination of the financial security of the intended adoptive parents
-documentation of counseling and education of the intended adoptive parents on adoptive parenting
-a minimum of five written references, at least two from non-relatives. References must be obtained from people who have had the opportunity to observe the applicant(s) in situations that may give some indication of their capacity of parenthood or they possess knowledge or documentation of applicant(s) capacity for parenthood
Careful observation, screening, and evaluation will take place with the child and adoptive applicants to select families who will be able to meet the physical, emotional, social, educational, and financial needs of a child while also safeguarding the child from further loss and separation from primary caregivers. The following criteria must be considered:
-the child’s choice if the child is developmentally able to participate in the decision
-the ability and willingness of the adoptive family to adopt some of all of a sibling group
-the commitment of the applicants to value, respect, appreciate and educate the child regarding his or her racial and ethnic heritage
-the adoptive family’s childrearing experience
Other qualifications include:
-the adoptive family must have income and resources to ensure financial stability and security to meet expenses incurred in adequate care of the family
-the adoptive family’s housing and neighborhoods must provide adequate space and the living conditions necessary to promote the health and safety of the family
-the physical, mental, and emotional health of the prospective adoptive household members must not jeopardize the safety and permanency of the child’s placement and will be considered in determining the best interests of the child
-when adoptive families have children by birth or adoption, the anticipated impact of a new child on the family must be considered
-working adoptive parents must be willing and able to arrange to be with the child during the transition period
Finalization of Adoption
There is a legal responsibility to provide services until the finalization of an adoption, which takes place no less than 90 days from the date the child was placed in the physical custody of the adoptive parents. The first home visit must be made within one week after placement. There shall be a minimum of three supervisory visits in placements that are non-problematic. For problematic visits, more frequent additional visits may be required.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below!