In last week’s blog, we looked at the question “What is the purpose of the home study?” This week we will look briefly at the home study process.
The home study process is broken down into several different steps:
1) Fill a pre-application for services and contracting with an agency for services with payment of fees required.
2) You will need to compile a number of required documents such as health reports, financial reports, proof of health and life insurance coverage, criminal and child abuse clearances, autobiographies, and references. Once you have submitted these documents to the agency and they have been reviewed and accepted by the clinical supervisor you will move to the next step.
3) Social Worker Interviews- A social worker will be assigned to your family to interview you several times so they can get to know and understand your family. They will get to know what ages and needs of children would best fit in your family. This process is a time of self-reflection where you will discuss your approach to parenting, how you handle stress, crisis, and loss. During these interviews, you will also receive education on important issues common in adoption. The social worker will complete a home inspection visit during one of their interviews to assess the suitability of your home to provide a safe, nurturing environment to a child.
4) Completion of adoption training- Prior to the home study completion, each parent will need to have completed adoption education apart from the meetings with a social worker. The minimum number of hours required prior to completion of the home study is 10 hours for each adoptive parent.
5) Once the social worker has completed his/her interviews and the family has completed all documents and education, the social worker will write a home study report that reflects their findings and recommendations for the family. This report is used to introduce your family to adoption agencies or other adoption authorities in other countries to assist them in matching a child to you.
6) Once a social worker has submitted the draft of your home study to your agency, it goes through another clinical review by staff as well as by the placing agency you are working with. Once it has been accepted, the family is given an opportunity to review before it is finalized.
7) Once a home study has approved you to adopt the waiting begins to have a child matched with your family. Home studies are valid for differing time frames depending on the state you live in. In North Carolina it is valid for 18 months, SC home studies are valid for 12 months and Virginia home studies are valid for 3 years following.
Coming next week: Common Questions About the Home Study