The home study is a crucial step in the process of becoming a foster parent or adopting a child. Every state and adoption agency has different laws and regulations over what is involved in the home study process. When we became foster parents through the state department of children’s services, our home study process involved our caseworker interviewing our references, interviewing my husband and myself, going over our health physicals, and doing a home inspection. These are reasons why the home study is not as scary as you might think.
- The purpose of the home study is to protect children, not to find dirt on you. Children in foster care have most likely experienced abuse, trauma, and neglect. Rules are in place to ensure these children are placed in safe, loving homes.
- Your caseworkers will ask you for a list of references to interview. This is one way your caseworker can get to know you and your past and determine what are your strengths and weaknesses in parenting. The purpose of identifying weaknesses is to put additional services in place to make sure that the fostering and adoption process has the highest rate of success possible.
- The home inspection can identify possible safety hazards in the home. Accidents are the number one cause of deaths in children, and the most common are accidental drownings. The caseworker will work with you in determining safety nets to put in place in the home, such as putting a fence around pools to keep children physically safe.
- Interviews with all of the adults in the home will ensure that there are no red flags. For example, a person who appears to have severe mental or physical disabilities that would limit him or her from being a present and able parent can be identified.
- All of the information gathered during the home study process is sealed in a file and is kept confidential. This information cannot be accessed by individuals other than the social workers and agency who will be approving your home. This is not public information. This information will not be given to your children or your children’s biological family.