Home studies are essential to the adoption process. A home study assesses a prospective adoptive family’s life and home to determine whether or not they are suitable to recommend as adoptive parents.
This can seem intimidating, and might feel invasive, but home studies exist to protect children, so it is crucial that you be completely open and honest throughout the home study.
Choosing the right professional for your home study can also make a difference on your experience by making it less stressful and more educational, preparing you for adoption.
If you are looking for a home study professional, consider the following:
Who Can Perform a Home Study
Home studies must be executed by social workers licensed in your state, and possibly from a licensed adoption agency. This is the best way to make sure you are complying with the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC).
Cost of Home Study
The cost for a home study can vary depending on the adoptive family’s specific situation. For example, if a family is wanting to adopt internationally, an international home study costs more because the other country’s requirements must be met as well. Be sure to ask prospective home study professionals what the present cost and future costs would be, and don’t let cost deter you from an experienced professional.
How the Home Study is Performed
There are a number of different steps to take during a home study: interviews, background checks, written reports, and post-placement services are some of the parts you will experience during your home study. Your home study professional will be working with you and your family over a large chunk of time. Make sure to ask any questions about how they perform each step of the home study, and choose a professional you feel comfortable working with throughout the process.
Time Home Study Takes
The time it takes for a home study to be performed depends on the professional. If your family views timeliness as a priority, then ask prospective home study professionals if time is a priority for them too. The time frame for different steps can vary between professionals, so ask questions that might be important to you. At what point does the home study time frame start? When can you begin interviews? How long will the background checks take? When will the written report be finished?
Ways you can try to speed up a home study is to be prepared and flexible. Review an adoption home study checklist, and gather any documents that might be required. If the home study professional offers an interview appointment, prioritize it and make yourself available. Some home studies require references, including a physician, so discuss this with prospective references in advance.
Something else to consider if you are pursuing an international adoption is whether the home study professional is familiar with the other country’s requirements and demands, so you know what that country might be looking for in terms of adoptive families.
To ensure you and your family have a positive home study experience, look into different home study professionals and choose who you feel meets your needs and comfort level the most.