A home study is a document prepared by an agency social worker, which details the adopting families’ personal feelings and values surrounding child rearing, development, and other interpersonal issues. It is a requirement for any adoption. Adoption STAR believes that home studies should be viewed as an educational process to allow the clients and agency to get to know each other and to identify what adoption path the client is most comfortable with.
Though a home study is required by law prior to an adoption placement, Adoption STAR conducts their home studies in a way in which they are not viewed as just a “stamp of approval” to adopt. The home study should include three visits with a social worker, one of which must be in the home of the prospective adoptive family.
Issues that may be explored during an adoption study
- Ability to provide for a child’s physical and emotional needs.
- Feelings about parenting an adopted child and the ability to make a commitment to a child placed in the home.
- Type of child family seeks to adopt.
- Family’s child rearing practices, experiences, and beliefs.
- Information concerning marital relationship, emotional, and financial status, etc.
- Description of the family’s home and community.
New York State, Florida and Ohio Applicants:
Adoption STAR will conduct home studies for prospective clients throughout New York State, Florida, and Ohio. Adoption STAR has qualified staff throughout these states to assist families throughout the home study and adoption process. Adoption STAR is able to conduct home studies for those interested in pursuing a domestic agency adoption, private adoption, international adoption and kinship adoption.
Adoption STAR’s home study often includes educational classes as well as private appointments with a social worker.
Adoption professionals recommend that agencies be involved in preparing the home study, home study update, and post placement process for many reasons.
An agency offers you:
Private individuals are not supervised by any entity. An agency’s fees and policies are reviewed by officials.
- More options
An agency home study can be used for all types of adoptions including public and private agency adoptions, international and domestic adoptions, interstate adoptions, independent adoptions, etc. Many private workers say that their home studies may be used in all types of adoptions, but the reality is that many adoption agencies do not accept home studies conducted by private individuals. Also, interstate adoptions often require an agency conducted home study and an agency home study is required for an International adoption. In addition, some courts prefer agency home studies.
- Possibility of child placement
In New York State private individuals MAY NOT facilitate an adoption. Only an Authorized agency can place children for adoption. When an agency study is obtained, the clients have an increased chance in receiving an agency referral for the adoption of a child.
- Additional resources
Agencies are better equipped to serve their clients with more internal resources, services and referrals. Adoption agencies are often much more than “agencies that practice adoption,” but many offer client services above and beyond adoption. Adoption STAR has several certified social workers on staff, in addition to many experienced and dedicated board members and volunteers.
Agencies use an educational approach when conducting a home study. Adoption STAR has prepared an adoptive parent training curriculum that is utilized during the home study process. This curriculum allows clients to become familiar with various adoption options and issues surrounding adoption. Adoption STAR offers an orientation session, a private consultation appointment, and the training program which is organized into a series of classes, as well as a credit system where the client is able to utilize a number of creative resources to learn more about the adoption process. The classes and credit system are not only educational and an important part of the home study process, but they are fun too!
- Post adoption support
Agencies are equipped to handle post adoption issues that arise after the adoption of a child. Sometimes issues arise, as a child gets older. While a private individual cannot promise to be around later on, chances are the agency you worked with will still be present to help you and your family in the future.
The above are just a few areas that clearly identify why an agency is the preferred place to obtain a home study. Remember, it is not necessary that you limit your search for a child by applying only to one adoption agency. Some of our clients explore private adoption and/or apply to several agencies for possible child placement. What is important is that you are able to utilize Adoption STAR as the agency to conduct your home study for all these adoption options. Adoption STAR advocates that you choose an agency that can best meet your needs, help to educate you, and conduct your home study in a timely fashion!
Out of State Applicants: If you reside outside of the State of New York, Florida and Ohio, you must obtain a home study from your State of residence. We will be happy to receive home studies from other States and ask that the requirements listed here be followed or added to your current study. In addition, we require that home studies be conducted by agencies rather than private individuals.
The following should be included in your home study:
- Name, full address, and telephone number of agency and social worker that conducted study
- Dates of in-person contacts with family
- Date of approval of family
- Description of what type of child you are approved to adopt (age range, types of special needs, etc.)
- If this is a registration for a transracial adoption, the study must address issues on how your family and extended family feel about transracial adoption and what efforts have been made to become more educated on the topic.
- If this is a registration for a special needs adoption, the study must address issues regarding motivation and what community resources your family has identified to support you in raising a child or children with special needs.
- How you feel about open adoption
- A copy of the agency’s license / State Authorization must be included.