What Are Home Studies?
Home Studies are required for adoptions, including those by a relative, foster care to adoption, and private adoptions. No matter what type of adoption you decide to move forward with, like all adoptive families in Minnesota, you must first be approved to adopt through a Minnesota-licensed home study provider. Home studies in Minnesota are done to ensure that prospective adoptive parents are prepared for adoption, emotionally, financially, and mentally. The goal is to place children into safe homes with parents that are ready to raise an adopted child.
The home study is one of the longest steps within the adoption process. It often takes several months, so if you wish to adopt, begin your home study sooner rather than later (keeping in mind that the home study is valid for one year).
Every Minnesota home study for adoption will involve two parts:
- Submitting documents
- Participating in an in-home visit and interview with your home study provider
Documents you will need to submit:
- Birth Certificates
- Driver’s Licenses
- Marriage Licenses
- Pet Vaccinations
- Home Deeds
- Health Records
- Financial Records
- Criminal Background Checks (all household members over 13)
- FBI Fingerprinting
- Autobiographical Statements about Your Desire to Adopt
- Letters of Reference
Your In-Home Visit
Your in-home visit is the other part of your home study. A home study professional will ensure that your home has the essential safety measures in place to keep your child safe. This includes things like:
- Working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Electrical outlet covers
- Screened windows
- Working locks on doors and windows
- Gated stairways
- Enclosed fireplaces
- Toxic materials like chemicals, cleaners, and medical stored out of a child’s reach
- And more!
Not Just an Inspection
While the interviews and home inspections are looking for any potential problems moving forward with the adoption process, the real goal is to provide a safe, secure home for the child. They can help you plan how to talk to family members about your plans to adopt. Keep your home study current. It is good for one year, or until there is a substantial change in your life. Examples of significant life changes include marriage, divorce, serious, long-term illness, a change in who is living in your home, career changes, moving to a new home, etc.
“On average, a home study process takes 3 to 6 months to complete.” The home study isn’t only about looking into the suitability of prospective parents. It is also an opportunity to provide training and information about what they can expect during the adoption process and beyond.
Along with background checks, the interview part of the home study is often a source of anxiety for prospective parents. These interviews are meant to help the parents-to-be. Your social worker will develop a relationship with you and get to know your family very well. This will help your worker understand your needs and concerns. They can help you decide what child would fit in well with your family. They can also help you to anticipate potential early parenting struggles and how you will cope with them.
When the Home Study is Complete
Once the Home Study is complete, you will receive a Home Study Report. This is similar to a resume. You will use this Home Study Report to introduce yourself to adoption agencies. It will include a comprehensive overview of who you and your family are. Perfection isn’t required to adopt, but you must be able to provide a safe, loving environment in which a child can grow and flourish. Children available for adoption have often gone through trauma already in their very short lives. The goal is to provide them with families without further trauma.
Having a lawyer that understands family law and the adoption process is essential. The team at White and Associates is here to help. If you are considering adoption, contact us today to learn how we can help.
 “The Adoption Home Study Process.” Child Welfare Information Gateway, Children’s Bureau, Oct. 2015, www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/f_homstu.pdf.