Adoption Home Study
The home study process can cause anxiety for persons considering adoption. However, you should be able to confidently move forward once you have an understanding of the basic requirements of a home study. A home study is an independent investigation to verify your suitability as an adoptive parent. Home studies can be completed prior to identification of a prospective adoptive minor and are valid for one year in Florida.
Under Florida law, a home study must include, at a minimum:
- An interview with the intended adoptive parent(s);
- Records checks of the Department of Children and Family Services’ central abuse registry;
- Criminal records checks through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and FBI;
- An assessment of the physical environment of the home;
- A determination of the financial security of the intended adoptive parent(s);
- Counseling and education of the intended adoptive parent(s) on adoptive parenting;
- The provision of information on adoption and the adoption process to the intended adoptive parent(s);
- Education of the adoptive parent(s) on the support services available in the community;
- The provision of the statutory Adoption Disclosure to the intended adoptive parent(s) and a signed acknowledgment of receipt.
- If your home study is favorable, a minor may be placed in your home pending entry of the final judgment of adoption. If an adoptive placement is not made within a year, your home study can be updated easily. A home study is generally not required in adult, stepparent or relative adoptions.
Often questions arise as to what might disqualify a prospective parent from receiving a favorable home study. By law, a minor may not be placed in a home in which there resides a person determined by the court to be a sexual predator, a violent career criminal, or a habitual violent felony offender. Additionally, a minor may not be placed in a home in which there resides a person convicted of child abuse, first or second degree murder, or sexual battery that constitutes a capital, life or first degree felony. Any lesser convictions should be disclosed to your home study professional and discussed on a case-by-case basis.
Please contact Jeanne T. Tate, P.A. (firstname.lastname@example.org or 813-258-3355) with your home study related questions or for referrals of authorized home study agencies and qualified professionals in your area.