What is a Home Study?
A Home study is….
A home study is an essential part of your preparation for adoption. It’s not just a simple visit – it’s a comprehensive evaluation that showcases your parenting abilities and provides valuable education to create a family profile. During the home study process, a social worker will meet with you and your partner individually and together, getting to know you on a personal level while providing counseling and training for adoption. The services and support will involve at least three meetings to take place with the Social Worker. If there are others living with you, they will also be interviewed and become part of the family profile evaluated as well.
The home study is more than just a report on your physical environment. It’s an opportunity for you to share your unique history, values, and personality. The social worker will interview you about your desire to adopt, learn about your childhood, education, finances, work history and childcare experiences. The report will highlight the training you have undergone to prepare for the adoption, and most importantly, it describes resources available to support you during the process.
Think of the home study as a snapshot of your life – a documented journey that outlines the events and experiences that have shaped you and your family. While it may seem intimidating at first, it can be a wonderful chance for you and your partner to learn even more about each other and educate yourselves about the path of an adoption process.
So, embrace the home study! It is your gateway to offering a loving home being wonderful parents you have always dreamed of being.
What does it include?
The home study focuses on various aspects, such as the person, the family background, the significant people in your life, your marriage, family relationships, your motivation to adopt and the environment around you. It also includes your expectations for the child, and how you plan to integrate the child into your family.
Additionally, the home study examines your family environment, the physical and health history of the applicants, and important details about your education, employment, and finances. This includes information about insurance coverage and any childcare plans you may have. A statement describing the counseling and training provided to the prospective adoptive parents is also included. References and criminal background clearances are an important inclusion in the process.
Finally, a summary with Social Worker’s recommendation that includes the characteristics of the children for whom the prospective adoptive parent(s) would be qualified to care (specifically whether they are willing and able to care for a child with special needs.)
While this process may initially feel overwhelming, it is important to know that your social worker will be there to guide you every step of the way, making it a simplified and supportive experience and getting to know the potential adoptive parents better.
How long does it take?
On average, the home study process takes around 4 to 6 months to complete. The length of the home study process can depend on a few factors and are greatly influenced by your motivation as prospective adoptive parents. The quicker you are able to complete training, paperwork and obtain copies of important documents for your social worker, the quicker the turnaround time.
Rest assured, our team is here to support and guide you through the process. You can trust that we will work diligently to ensure a smooth and timely home study experience for you and your family.
Why is it important?
Not only does a home study determine if your family meets the adoption requirements, it will also help assess the type of child you are best suited to parent. This comprehensive evaluation plays a vital role in immigration, verifying that you meet the necessary criteria to adopt a child. The home study also gives the Foreign Country a picture of your family for the referral matching process.
Keep in mind, the importance of a home study doesn’t end there. Once the child finds their place in your loving home and adapts to a new life, a home study is essential for completing the re-adoption process.
Frequently asked questions:
How do I get started?
If you reside in Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Texas, Utah, or Washington, one of our professional social workers can help complete your home study. Contact our main office and one of our staff members would be able to guide you to the right Social Worker to get started. CHI can provide home studies to families living in these states that are adopting from another agency.
What does a home study cost?
Typically, a home study can range from $1,000 to $3,500, depending on the state. It’s important to carefully review what this fee covers. Keep in mind that some agencies may not include post-adoption reports in the home study fee, meaning there could be an extra cost for this. CHI’s policy is to collect a deposit for all post adoption report fees. Should you not go through with the adoption, you may receive a refund for the post-adoption report fee. However, please note that the home study fee itself is non-refundable.
How long is the home study good for?
The validity depends on the State the family resides in but typically will need to be updated annually. Additionally, as part of your adoption process your approved home study is sent to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. If approved to adopt abroad, your immigration approval will be valid for up to 18 months before an updated home study needs to be submitted again for a renewed approval.
What would keep me from having an approved home study?
The simple answer is – dishonesty in any form. Throughout the process, we thoroughly review references, conduct background checks for criminal and child abuse history. While our social workers are diligent in their component of fact-checking, we rely on the trust between your family and our home study social workers. If there are inconsistencies between what you’ve shared and other sources, we take it seriously and it raises red flags. We prioritize the safety and well-being of children above all else.
At CHI, we understand the significance of this process. With our exceptional domestic and international home study and post-adoption/placement services, our dedicated staff is here to guide and support you every step of the way.
Reach out to us today for more information and let us help you bring your forever family together.