Anticipating a Home Study

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One of the most frightening and mysterious aspects of adoption or foster care is the home study. The thought of having your life and family scrutinized makes people uneasy. It needn't be so. The homestudy is actually a straightforward process that provides an opportunity for self-awareness. A home-study entails the following:

  • A biographical study which includes educational, employment and social history. This is typically done on paper and submitted prior to any in-person interviews.
  • A criminal background check on anyone over 14 living in the home
  • Medical checkups which usually are simply a matter of stating that the person is in good health and free from communicable diseases. Most states require all family members have a negative TB test. Most require all children in the home to be fully immunized or provide an exception statement.
  • Home visit. This is not a white glove inspection but simply an informal tour of your home to make sure it is a safe place for raising a child. The home should be reasonably tidy with no clear hazards.
  • Family interview. You and your partner or spouse will be interviewed together and separately. The worker will also speak with children in your home, typically in your presence. They are very friendly in their mannerism and the questions will not be upsetting to your children.
  • Family history involving such topics as how you were raised, if there were family issues, your feelings about infertility, your lifestyle, your reasons for wanting to provide foster care or to adopt, your methods of discipline, any pets and their suitability for children, and your suitability for special needs placements.
  • Paperwork submission: If you start now assembling the paperwork you will need, it will certainly make your home study easier. Here are things that are commonly requested.

    These include:

    * marriage certificate * divorce decrees * birth certificates * references from family members and/or friends and/or employers; it is advisable to request permission from these people to use them as references and let them know when paperwork is on it's way. It's helpful, too, to follow up 10 days or two weeks later to ensure they returned the forms. * verification of income * financial statement and/or tax records

    The home-study requires a commitment of time and energy. It also requires some introspection and readying yourself for the big change that is about to occur. It does not have to be a daunting process and can actually be a smooth and easy process if you are well prepared. Good luck!

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