Home Study Process
Every adoption journey begins with a home study. As a licensed not-for-profit adoption agency Alliance for Children provides home study services for families working with our agency on their adoption as well as for families working with attorneys and out-of-state agencies on their adoption. We are Hague-Accredited and licensed to provide home study services in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, Arkansas and Rhode Island.
Alliance for Children will coordinate your home study with professionalism and timeliness. Please call our office or request more information.
What is an adoption home study?
The adoption home study is a detailed assessment and written report of your family compiled and prepared by one of our social workers.
- The purpose of the home study is to educate and prepare you for adoption, to gather information about you and your home environment and to evaluate your suitability to parent a child.
- The home study is a guided experience that enables individuals and couples to question, reflect, and learn in preparation for parenting. The home study involves opening your hearts, minds, and home.
What should I expect from a home study and how long should it take?
- A home study involves several meetings and gives you the opportunity to ask all the questions you may have. Our trained and caring professionals respect your confidential responses as they create an accurate portrait of you as future parents.
- There is no set format that adoption agencies use to complete a home study. They are required to meet the regulations of the state in which the adopting family resides as well as the regulations of the program they have chosen. Each agency has its own application, policies and procedures that fit within those guidelines.
- Interviews maybe be held in the agency office and/or in the family's home (called a "home visit") The number of home visits needed will depend on the adopting family's state of residence. This is not a "white glove" inspection, rather it's a way to determine what it would be like for a child to grow up there. If you have children already, or if any other adults live in the home with you, they will be included in the home study in some way.
- A home study generally takes two to three months to complete. This will vary from situation to situation, and depends on how quickly you are able to gather your documents, your availability in scheduling appointments with your social worker, and how many other people applied to the agency at the same time you did. Expedited home study services are available under special circumstances.
What Home Study Paperwork is Needed?
Home Study paperwork is part of every home study process, but the exact paperwork that is needed will depend on the adopting family's state of residence, the type of adoption they are doing, and so on. Here are examples of the type of home study paperwork that will be required:
- A statement of good health of the prospective parent/parents and that of any children already in the home. A separate doctor's letter may be needed if there are health issues in the family.
- A child abuse and criminal clearances for the prospective adoptive parents and any other teens or adults who reside in the home.
- Verification of income, investments, savings, etc.
- Birth, marriage, divorce, naturalization certificates, etc.
- Agency forms and documents
- Personal references
In addition you will be asked to write an autobiography. You will be given guidelines that will help you with the process. The autobiography helps the social worker get to know more about who you are. It also give you a chance to reflect back on your life up until this point, to help you understand more about your values, your views on children and parenthood, education, religion, etc. Your social worker will help guide you through the process and will offer you education on these various topics to help you begin to clarify your own feelings and thoughts.
A home study is designed to prepare you and help you to decide if adoption is right for you. It is not intended to be invasive or lengthy. The various state and national guidelines are established as a way to protect the best interest of children and to help insure that a child will be placed in a warm, loving, caring, safe and healthy home.