Home Study Services for Families
If you are going to adopt a baby and live in the United States, an adoption home study will need to be conducted. Ensuring that children are placed in a secure, loving, and safe environment is the purpose of the home study and must be completed before a child can be placed with adoptive parents.
The home study is a big step for adoptive parents in the adoption process. It is a living document that is completed by a licensed social worker and gives a picture of your live right now. It is meant to confirm you are able to care for and parent a child. The home study addresses many aspects of your lives. There will be a background check, employment verification, financial verification, a visit to the home, and a medical report. The social worker will look into your marital and family relationships, motivation for adoption, parenting style, educational background, and more. It may feel like your whole lives are on display, just remember the social worker is responsible for recommending that a child can safely be placed in your home, and that is a responsibility they take very seriously as they should.
Lifetime Adoption is licensed by the State of Florida to complete home studies for the purpose of adoption within all counties of Florida. In other states, we will provide you with trusted referrals to complete your home study and provide post-placement services.
Home Study Education
Every state has its own laws and requirements regarding the home study. In Florida, for example, there is a mandatory 21 hours of training on parenting skills, safety, first aid skills, and other adoption topics. Lifetime Adoption offers webinars approved by the Florida Department of Children and Families and available to all adoptive parents on our membership site. We also offer one-on-one training and specific webinars to address specific adoption scenarios. We have webinars to help you navigate special situations including a child who is drug-exposed, special needs, or of a race that is different than yours (transracial adoption).
Whether a certain number of education hours are mandatory in your state or not, these educational webinars are recommended for all. Your social worker conducting your home study can also provide some course recommendations for you.
Some families find the home visit unnerving, but it is not meant to cause anxiety. This is a meeting scheduled in advance, and the goal is to ensure your home is safe, and you have the space to welcome a child or children into your home. You want your home to be presentable, of course, but the social worker wants to see how you really live, so don’t go crazy trying to make everything perfect. The important things to consider are safety issues such as making sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working, you have a first aid kit, if you have a pool it has a fence, and any other safety measures you feel are appropriate.
The social worker will take time to interview you and anyone else that lives in your home. This is a great time to interact with your home study provider. You will receive guidance and support and have an opportunity to ask any questions that may be on your mind. This home study should not be painful, it should be informative and helpful.
Home Study Updates
A home study will need to be updated annually until you have adopted. It will also need to be updated if you move, get a new job, or have a significant change in your life. Communication is key, so continue to work with your adoption coordinator and social worker as needed throughout your adoption journey.
Once completed, a home study is valid with any attorney or agency throughout the United States for a domestic adoption.
If your state requires it, a social worker will visit you within one week of placement and will continue monthly or quarterly until the adoption is finalized. The post-placement visits are performed to check in on the child’s development and make sure that everyone is doing well. This is an excellent time to ask the social worker any questions you might have and request any resources you may need. The home study provider will then provide a written recommendation to the adoption attorney, which will be sent to the court for review, and then the adoption can be finalized.
If you have any questions about an adoption home study or if you would like to receive more information, please call 1-727-493-0933 or complete the form below. We look forward to serving you!
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.
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Called To Adoption
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is a Licensed Florida Child
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