While starting the adoption process, prospective adoptive parents commonly have questions about the initial home study. Criminal and child abuse background checks are part of the home study process. One question our office receives is whether a past criminal conviction will result in the prospective adoptive parents being denied a home study under Florida law.
Certain crimes are disqualifying under Florida Law. Florida Statutes §63.092 specifically provides that a minor may not be placed in a home where a resident has been determined by a court to be: a sexual predator; a violent career criminal, or a habitual violent felony offender. Or, where a resident has been convicted of child abuse; first or second-degree murder; or a sexual battery that constitutes a capital, life, or first-degree felony. Florida Statutes §39.0138 also provides that a child may not be placed with a person, if the person has been convicted of any felony within the following categories: child abuse, abandonment, or neglect; domestic violence child pornography or other felony in which a child was a victim of the offense; or homicide, sexual battery, or other felony involving violence (other than felony assault or felony battery when an adult was the victim of the assault or battery, or resisting arrest with violence).Adoptive Parents will also be disqualified for convictions, within the previous 5 years, for felonies within the following categories: assault; battery; drug-related offense; or resisting arrest with violence. Convictions in these categories that are over 5 years old should not be disqualifying.
When completing a home study, Adoptive Parents should be open about any past criminal history. In most cases, the history will not rise to the level of the crimes listed above and will not result in a denial of the home study. Jeanne T. Tate, P.A. is available to answer your questions about your home study and adoption planning.