Home Study 101 Part I
Welcome to Home Study 101 Part I! This article is to help give you information as well as help you to better understand what to expect during your home study process. You may be feeling scared, anxious, excited and joyous all at once to take on the responsibilities of one or more children through the gift of foster care or adoption.
First off, you must understand that home study requirements will vary amongst countries, states and agencies. Contact your agency or social worker to find out specifics on the necessities for your home study.
Find an agency
The first steps to take for your home study is to decide what type of adoption you will be doing. Are you interested in foster care, foster-to-adopt, a domestic adoption, a domestic family adoption, an international adoption (not knowing the specific child you want to adopt) or private international adoption (child known). All of these factors will help you decide which agency to use to get your home study completed.
Once you have decided what type of adoption you are interested in, contact an agency to get assigned a caseworker for your home study and schedule an appointment. It is recommended to get referrals from others who have used the agency you would like to use. Also, check out these recommendations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: How to Assess the Reputation of Licensed, Private Adoption Agencies, Finding an Adoption Services Provider.
Looking to get a home study done here in Northwest Ohio? Check these places out!
Foster care home studies: Diversion Foster Care
Domestic or Private International Adoption home studies: Catholic Charities
International Adoption Agency home studies: America World Adoption
And don’t forget to check out your local Job and Family Services for foster care, foster-to-adopt or a family adoption.
Typically, an agency will send you a packet of paperwork in the mail to begin your home study process. There will be a lot of paperwork. It is common for people to feel overwhelmed by all of the information that is needed as an adoption is filled with paperwork. It does seem like a lot at first but remember, someday the paperwork and wait will be over. It will all be worth it as you are growing as a family and changing the life of a child.
The paperwork will generally be for the agency to get to know who you are. They are trying to be sure they are placing a child in a safe, stable home. They are also there to help you through the process and consider the needs of a child you may be bringing into your family. They will ask several questions such as:
- Names of everyone living in your household.
- Do you have other children in the home?
- Have you been convicted of a crime?
- What is your household income?
- What type of child are you seeking to adopt?
- Have you had a home study done previously through them or another agency?
Agencies often require you to submit other personal information such as (note: remember this will vary from agency to agency, this is a general list to give you some ideas check with your agency for more details on what they want you to submit):
- Background checks
- Bank statements and a letter from your bank that you are in good standing
- Previous tax statements
- Vaccination records for pets in the home
- Proof of income and hours through your employer
- Proof of insurance for health and vehicles
- Proof of residency
- Referrals from someone else on your ability to adopt
- Fire inspection (done by your local fire department)
- Physical from your Dr. stating you are in good health (for international adoptions)
- Psychological evaluation (for international adoptions)
After you send in your initial paperwork, your agency will contact you to schedule an appointment to visit your home. Watch for Home Study 101 Part II coming soon where we will discuss in more detail what you need to do to have your home ready for the case worker to visit your house.
Have you had a home study done? Was there paperwork that you were surprised you needed to do? Feel free to comment below to share with others as we learn together to positively change the lives of children.