The Adoption Home Study
Home Study 101
Home studies help prepare prospective adoptive parents for the tasks of raising a child who was not born into their family. They also provide assurance to individuals who are responsible for placing a child for adoption that the family is properly equipped to take care of a child. A home study consists of a series of interviews with a social worker, the collection of documents about the family, and a written narrative report.
Home studies are required in most states and, if you are adopting internationally, by the United States Citizen Immigration Service (USCIS) and the country where the child resides.
- The minimum age to adopt is 25 years of age. Couples must be married for 1 year or have been partnered and living together for at least 2 years at the time of the home study application.
- Adoptions Together, a program of Paths for Families, requires that a single parent must be 50 years or younger at the time of application for the adoption of an infant. If part of a couple, the couple’s combined age should not exceed 100. Ages may be older if you are adopting from foster care.
- The prospective parent should be in sufficient health to be expected to raise a child to adulthood.
- Sufficient financial resources are required at the time of home study approval to afford adoption expenses and to provide adequate care for the adopted child. All family members need to be covered by medical insurance. The primary earner must have life insurance to cover one year of salary. The reason for these financial guidelines is to protect both the adopted child and the family from serious financial distress.
Please note that particular countries and other placement services may have additional eligibility guidelines.
Home Study Process
- Application interview begins the process.
- Family completes home study documents, such as clearances, medical reports and financial information.
- Family takes trainings specific to the type of adoption chosen. Three additional interviews for a couple; two additional interviews for a single person.
- Home study report completed within 90 days from the time all documents have been submitted.
**The home study can be expedited and completed within 30 days if there is a compelling need to do so. It can also be updated annually and/or as needed.
Sample Topics Discussed in a Home Study:
- Your Life Story
- Child Care Plans
- Work and Finances
Upon request, we will provide you with the following:
- The number of its adoption placements per year for the prior three calendar years, and the number and percentage of those placements that remain intact, are disrupted, or have been dissolved as of the time the information is provided.
- The number of parents who apply to adopt on a yearly basis, based on data for the prior three calendar years.
- The number of children eligible for adoption and awaiting an adoptive placement referral through Adoptions Together.
Please click here to request this information and we will reply within 1 business day.
Sample Contract and Policies
Example Documentation for Home Study
Forms and instructions will be provided by your caseworker once your application is approved.
- Birth certificates for all persons in home
- Statement of net worth and other supporting financial documentation such as most recent tax return and employment letter
- Three letters of reference
- Medical reports for all persons in home
- State and FBI clearances for all persons 18 and older in the home and for frequent visitors
- Domestic home studies: need CPS clearances for previous states in which each adult lived within the last 5 years
- International home studies: CPS clearances for all states and countries in which each adult has lived from the age 18+
- Certified copy of driving records
- Sanitary Survey (MD), Fire Department inspection (except Baltimore County)
- Home safety checklist
- Child support clearances
- School adjustment report if the child in the home is in school
- Training certificates covering number of hours of training required
- Documentation of pet vaccinations
- Final adoption decree for any previously adopted child in home
- Emergency escape plan
- Marriage and divorce decrees
- Guardianship statement
- Home study agreement
Subsequent Adoption Home Study Fees
Due at confirmation of receipt of all required home study documents. Each new adoption requires a new application to be submitted. As such, the fees listed above do not include the application, technology, and case management fees, which will be invoiced to you upon application approval.
- Subsequent International Home Study for additional child within 3 years of previous home study
- Subsequent International Home Study for additional child 3+ years since previous home study