Preparing for a home study

Susan Fernandez March 03 2022

A home study is a process where social workers come to your home and assess whether or not you are fit to be parent. There are many things you can do to prepare for a home study. Before you adopt a child, you will need to go through this process. This article outlines the top things that people should know before they undertake their own home study for adoption.

What is home study mean?

The term "home study" refers to a course of education delivered over the telephone and completed at home. It's like comparing correspondence schools. The key to the success of this type of learning is that parents take the initiative and responsibility for their children's education by working with a tutor. This way, they get all the support they need while still having the freedom to learn at home.

The home studies are usually done in two stages:

  1. The first stage is social study. This is when we get to know you and your family.
  2. The second stage is academic study. In this stage, we will assess your child's readiness for school and what type of educational program would be best suited for him or her.

In terms of their responsibilities, child welfare social workers must assess whether children are safe; have enough to eat, wear, and sleep in; can go to school; aren't being subjected to physical, emotional/verbal, or sexual abuse; and are not neglected.

Your social worker will monitor your family interactions and your home and neighborhood during the visit. This is to ensure that your home provides a secure environment for a kid. He or she will also talk about how to accommodate the youngster, such as the bedroom and security measures. You can take the home study course at any time, but it is usually recommended that you do it after your baby is born so you can assess your baby's development as well. You will also have more time to complete all the assignments if you start studying while your baby is still young.

What does a SAFE home study mean?

The SAFE Assessment is a home study approach meant to assess properties for adoption, foster care, near placement, and reunification readiness. It gives practitioners information-gathering tools that support the home study interview, such as questionnaires and compatibility inventories. Some agencies use the SAFE Assessment to screen all family members—prospective and current—living in the home. This is done to ensure that there are no red flags that would prevent a child from being placed with them or returning home to them.

What is a home study for step-parent adoption?

In stepparent adoptions, a Home Study is an examination of the premises where the kid lives to ensure that they are safe. The Home Study will also investigate the relationship between the stepparent and the child, as well as look into the living situation of all family members. The Home Study for a stepparent adoption is often less in-depth than a Home Study for adoption from birth parents. The social worker will assess whether or not the stepparent is fit for the parent and if the home is safe for the child.

So, what are the benefits of a home study?

  1. A home study provides an individualized education plan for your child.
  2. You can complete it at your own pace.
  3. It's affordable.
  4. The curriculum is tailored to meet the needs of your child.
  5. It helps you become a more informed and involved parent.
  6. You have access to tutor support whenever you need it.
  7. It prepares you for the challenges of parenting.
  8. It provides an opportunity to connect with other parents who are also educating their children at home.

So, if you're considering adopting a child, make sure you do your research and get prepared for the home study! There are many things you can do to get ready, and we've outlined some of the top tips in this article. Good luck!

What is looked at in a home study?

Home studies are tailored to your chosen adoption option, as international and domestic adoptions have varying demands. In essence, the home study is split into two parts: a check on your capacity to be an adoptive parent and a search for suitable surroundings in which to raise a kid.

The assessors – social workers, in most cases – will want to get to know you and your family better, too. This is why it’s important that you are open and honest with them during the home study process. The last thing you want is for any skeletons in the closet to be unearthed when you’re already in the middle of adoption proceedings. It’s also likely that they’ll want to visit your home and see where the child would potentially be living.

Your home study for adoption will ultimately depend on your chosen country, so it’s best to consult with an adoption agency about what to expect. However, there are some general things that are looked at during every home study, such as:

  • Your family’s medical history
  • Your criminal record (if any)
  • The condition of your home and how suitable it is for a child
  • The distance between your home and potential schools/daycare/other places your child may need to go
  • What kind of financial stability do you have

As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to preparing for a home study! But don’t worry – we’ll outline some tips below that should help make the process a little bit easier.

How do I get started on a home study?

If you're concerned about home study, there are a few things you may do to get ready. Do your research. There are dozens of books on home study, and many websites offer great tips, too. Talk with your adoption professional. They will be able to guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

Meet fire safety regulations, because this is one of the most common areas of concern for social workers. You need to check up on your smoke detectors, have a fire escape plan in place, and make sure that everyone living in the home is up to date on emergency procedures. You don't need to be obsessive about it, but a social worker will likely want to see that you keep a reasonably clean home. Remove all firearms from your home. You don't need to get rid of them, but social workers will want to know where they are and that they're inaccessible to children.

Another safety issue is when you check fences and gates to make sure they're locked and that there is no way for a child to wander off.

Get organized. Make sure you have an ample supply of baby wipes, diapers, and other necessary items on hand before your home study begins. Label all of your child's clothing with their name and put everything away in its proper place. This will not only save you time during the home study, but it will also help keep your house neat and tidy.

Consider pets at your house, because animal allergies are a common problem. If you have any pets, be prepared to discuss them with your social worker and explain how you handle pet dander. Check your windows and screens to make sure they're in good condition and won't easily break.

Be prepared for a home study interview. In most cases, the social worker will want to meet with each member of the household. Be ready to answer questions about your family history, your parenting philosophies, and why you want to adopt. The social worker will also want to see your home and take a look around your backyard.

Below is a list of the most common documents required for a home study:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates (if applicable)
  • Driver's licenses
  • Homeownership papers or rental agreements
  • Proof of employment and income
  • Health insurance information
  • Names and ages of all current household members
  • Childhood photos of all household members
  • School transcripts and records for all household members
  • Immunization records

Prepare yourself for a home study interview

The social worker will find the interview to be one of the most important parts of the home study. You will want to be prepared for questions about your family, your home, and your parenting skills. You should also be prepared to discuss why you are interested in adoption and what you feel are the benefits of adoption.

The social worker will likely ask about your family's medical history and any criminal convictions. They will also want to know about your home, including the size of your home, how many bedrooms it has, and whether you have a fenced-in yard. They may also ask about your job and income.

You should also think about how you plan to parent an adopted child. The social worker will want to know if you plan on telling the child they are adopted, how many contacts you plan to have with the child's birth family, and how you plan to handle any medical needs the child may have. Being prepared for a home study interview can help make the process go more smoothly. By being prepared, you will be able to answer the social worker's questions confidently and show them that you are ready to become a parent.

Some of the most practical questions include:

  • How is your job security?
  • Do you have any firearms in the home and, if so, are they safely stored?
  • What is your childproofing strategy?
  • Do you have pets and, if so, do any family members have pet allergies?
  • Are all windows and doors secure and screened in?
  • Can you provide school transcripts for all household members as well as birth certificates and marriage certificates (if applicable)?
  • What is your vaccination record like?
  • How much free time do you have each week to devote to a child/children?
  • Can you provide letters of reference from friends and family?

What are the causes of your failed home study?

A home study will be unsuccessful if a social worker discovers that an illegal individual is residing inside the house at any time throughout the adoption procedure. While it's true that you might have known someone with a criminal record who has adopted, past offenses may result in a failed home study.

Substance abuse and child neglect are also common reasons for a home study to fail. If the social worker has any suspicion that you or your partner might be using drugs, or that you aren't able to adequately care for your children, the home study will be terminated.

If you're currently in the process of adopting a child, it's important to be aware of these potential causes of failure so that you can take steps to correct them before it's too late. By being proactive and addressing any issues head-on, you'll give yourself the best chance possible of completing your adoption successfully.

Why did you fail to be adopted?

If you have lied to the social worker about something serious, such as a criminal record or a drug addiction. Your references were not very good or negative. A bad reference might not guarantee your rejection outright, but it could put things in motion. You have a severe or life-threatening medical condition. Your home was too small or not child-proofed. There were no bedrooms for the child. You live in an unsafe neighborhood.

The social worker thought you were too young or too old to raise a child. You smoked cigarettes around the child. You had pets that the social worker felt posed a threat to the child's safety. Your home study failed because of one or more of these factors, but don't worry - there are things you can do to correct them and increase your chances of being successfully adopted! If you're currently in the process of adopting a child, it's important to be aware of potential causes of failure so that you can take steps to correct them before it's too late.


No one is perfect, and there are bound to be a few things that could cause your home study to fail. But don't give up hope! There are many families out there who have successfully adopted children despite having a failed home study in the past. By addressing any issues head-on and being honest with the social worker, you increase your chances of being successfully adopted.