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What Is A Home Study?

A home study is a basic overview of your life and is required in every adoption to ensure you can provide a safe and stable home for a child.  A home study including criminal background checks, your finances, health statement from your doctor and even an autobiography. Your home will also be reviewed to make sure to make sure there are not safety concerns.

After they evaluate everything your provider will let you know the things that need to be completed, or fixed to move forward on your home study.

Don’t Worry! It’s not a test. Use the following information to be proactive and prepare now for what will need to be completed.  With an approved home study, you are one step closer to becoming a family!

Every state is different and may or may not require the same documents and procedures for your home study.  It is important that you contact your state provider to verify the information that you will need for your adoption home study.

A Four-Part Process

  • Written

    Includes autobiographies, references, medical reports, financial statements, child abuse and criminal clearances and other written materials.

  • Social Work

    Includes a series of visits in the applicants’ home to discuss a variety of issues from the applicants’ backgrounds to their motivations to adopt and their understanding of adoption and parenting

  • Education

    Includes training and/or classes related adoption and parenting issues.

  • Approval

    The end result of this process is a written document completed by a licensed agency giving a summary of the applicants’ family life. This document indicates approval of the applicants for adoption. In most states it must be updated annually.

Who Can Conduct A Home Study?

Depending on which state you live in and which state are adopting from, a home study can be conducted by one or all of the following:

  • A licensed adoption agency
  • A licensed social worker
  • A qualified licensed individual that is appointed by the court
  • A licensed therapist or counselor

*As a best practice, AFMC recommends that you choose a home study provider who will be able to complete your review to meet all 50 state’s requirements.

Home Study Laws Are Different In Every State!

Rule of Thumb: Always Consult A Professional

The rules and laws regarding home study certificates and providers will vary from state to state and can change without notice or warning.

To avoid any major setbacks in your adoption journey, you should always consult an adoption attorney to make sure your home study will be approved under the specific state’s law from which the prospective adopted child resides.

Some states require the home study to be conducted by a licensed adoption agency, and not just by a licensed individual. Not doing your research ahead of time can lead to difficulties or a failed adoption when adopting from out of state.

As a best practice, AFMC recommends that you choose a home study provider who will be able to complete your review to meet all 50 state’s requirements.

Adoption Home Study Documents

You will be required to turn in your home study documents during your first home study visit.

Home study documents may include:

  • Adoptive parents’ autobiographies
  • Financial information
  • Disciplinary statement
  • Copy of birth certificate of each member of the family
  • Copy of marriage license
  • Copy of divorces decrees(s) if applicable
  • Military discharge(s) (if applicable)
  • Income tax return
  • Employment verifications (letter from employer or most recent pay stub) or non-working spouse statement (if applicable)
  • Physician health statements (provider will provide correct forms)
  • Copies of driver’s licenses
  • Reference letters (provider will provide correct forms)
  • Pet vaccination records
  • Proof of insurance: home, health, auto, life
  • Passport(s)
  • Green card(s)

Additional documents your state or agency may require for your home study.

Depending on the agency that you choose as your home study provider or the state regulations, you may also need to complete:

  • A parenting class
  • A foster care licensing program
  • CPR training
  • First aid training