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What is an adoption home study?

The adoption process can result in incredibly positive outcomes. Children can find new families that are stable and loving, and adults with love to give can find a child in need. Although adoption seems to benefit all individuals involved, it is not always an easy process to complete. To ensure the best interests of the child are protected, state laws puts prospective adoptive parents through extensive examination.

One way this is done is through the home study. Under state law, all individuals applying for adoption may need to complete a home study, where the prospective adoptive parents' long-term ability to provide a stable and nurturing home for the child is analyzed. Although a home study includes an actual inspection of the prospective home, it may also include an analysis of whether the adoptive parents can meet a child's specific needs, as well as interviews with all individuals who reside in the home. An individual may even be required to provide references.

What, specifically, is a home study looking for? First of all, whether the home is safe. This means broken windows, rotten floors, and remodeling supplies laying around the house may be deemed inappropriate. Second, a home study will try to determine whether the prospective home can physically accommodate the family once the child is adopted. Third, background checks will be run on individuals residing in the home to determine if there are any potential risks to the child living in that home.

While most families are able to successfully complete the home study process, sometimes trouble arises. When this happens, placement may be denied, bringing the adoption to a screeching halt. It is thus imperative that individuals who find themselves in this position, and those facing other problematic adoption issues, consider seeking counsel from an experienced adoption attorney.

Source: Childwelfare.gov, "Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption," accessed on April 14, 2017

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