Home study preparers use a standardized home study process to collect and analyze information and determine the eligibility, capabilities, and suitability of prospective adoptive parents.
NA The organization provides post-placement and/or post-adoption services only.
NA The organization provides child-focused recruitment only.
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The program provides initial and periodic training and ongoing supervision to home study preparers on the use of a defined method and tools for home studies to reinforce the consistent application of process.
The home study process includes:
Interpretation Individuals living in the home share common areas, sleep in the home, and have lived there for more than two weeks. Individuals frequently in the home should include any child care providers.
In-person interviews provide the best opportunity for engagement of the person interviewed and provide additional information through observations and interactions during the interview and are preferred, but have only been specifically required for the prospective adoptive parents. It can sometimes be appropriate to interview other individuals through a videoconference or over the phone. When the agency is unable to complete an interview, it should make a clinical determination if the interview is necessary given the circumstances, other steps that can be taken to obtain relevant information, and document that decision and its efforts in the case record.
People who provide references should be interviewed to validate the reference and can provide additional information or verification of other information collected through the home study process.
While best practice generally requires at least two visits to the home to effectively engage the family in the home study process, make the necessary observations, and effectively collect all the required and necessary information, the agency should conduct additional visits when it deems necessary.
Tribes and local Indian organizations may also be able to provide valuable support in assessing and approving adoptive families for American Indian and Alaska Native children.
Interpretation Home studies including background checks should be updated periodically so that they remain valid in accordance with applicable requirements. Significant changes in circumstances include a change in: residence, employment or financial resources, additional children or adults residing in the home, criminal history, abuse history, medical status, etc. Updates for a significant change in circumstance are best completed as soon as possible, but may be postponed in certain circumstances, for example, if an additional change is expected or the prospective adoptive parents expect a significant amount of time to pass before their home study will be used.
Interpretation The assessment of knowledge and skills relating to discipline techniques should include an assessment of the risk of prospective adoptive parents’ use of interventions that can be harmful to children, especially children with a history of trauma. Some examples of interventions which can be harmful include but are not limited to:
Interpretation The rationale for these determinations and the persons involved in making the determinations should be clearly documented in the record.