Selecting a Home Study Provider
Deciding to adopt is a big decision and sometimes the many requirements can be confusing or overwhelming to the adoptive families. While many adoption situations allow families to select adoption services a la carte, there are a few things to think about, especially related to the Home Study process.
If your selected adoption placing agency offers home study services where you live, we recommend utilizing their home study services, even if it means spending a little more. WHY? Because that agency knows exactly what should be contained within that home study and the number of home visits required and already has a relationship with the other organizations, countries or entities involved in your specific adoption. IF you choose to have an independent contractor or certified adoption professional complete your home study, be aware…
- your adoption program or international country may not accept those home studies International agency will never accept a CAP home study
- the placing adoption agency has to review your home study and if prepared outside of their agency, there will likely be a validation fee
- if the independent home study service doesn’t meet all of your placing agencies preparation criteria, such as training, it’s likely you’ll still have to take the training
- it could lengthen your adoption process due to the coordination between independent home study provideragency and agency
- an independent home study Provider agency may not be fully aware of specific program requirements and not complete your document according to agency/state/country specific requirements
What is a home study?
A home study is a report completed by a social worker which outlines an adoptive family’s health, medical history, criminal history family history and dynamics and criminal backgrounds. The items covered within the home study is dictated by your state and/or your international country. Everyone living in the home at time of home study will be part of the process. The process includes paperwork, collection of documents and home visits. Many families become nervous during this process, but don’t. The home study is the perfect time to collect additional parenting tools and/or address any of the details requests from the international country.
Who requires the home study to be completed?
States require families considering adoption to have a completed home study regardless of how they plan to adopt (with an agency, private or through an attorney). Families adopting internationally also have the requirement from the country. Make sure you read the fine print and your adoption paperwork. Many of the international countries specify what type of social worker is required to complete the home study (A licensed social worker, independent contractor, agency social worker).
When shopping around for a home study provider, the cost of the home study service varies and I often receive different information.
Make sure that you connect with your adoption placing agency to clarify what requirements the professional needs to meet. For example, some independent home study providers conduct a basic home study and one home visit. Many adoption programs/countries require the home study to include more than one visit, training and certain topics within your home study to have more information. When adopting from foster care, the placing social worker will want to see that the family has been trained and prepared beyond just completing a home study.