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Every adoptive family is required by law in all 50 states to complete an adoption home study before placement. A home study gathers information about an adoptive family, such as: their motivation to adopt, their social history, and their parenting plans. In some cases, home studies may include some type of education about adoption.
The home study is a written report that is developed over the course of several meetings, at least one of which takes place in the adoptive couple's home. At the home visit, the social worker performing the home study can assess the home for the living conditions and safety of a child. No two home studies are alike, although each state has some guidelines on what must be covered in a home study, each agency has their own way of compiling the information.
Some home studies are completed by working only with the adoptive family, while other agencies may have some group classes at the beginning or the end of the process. All home studies, regardless of individual agency guidelines, will require medical records, a criminal background check, background information on each of the adoptive parents, and a safety assessment of the home.