what is a home study?
A home study is a process that results in a report. The purpose of a home study is twofold:
It is designed to inform prospective parents about the adoption process.
It provides valuable information about the adoptive applicant to those who are responsible for the welfare of the child.
All home studies require the following:
A completed AFT service application with attachments
Successful completion of all state and/or federal and/or international clearances. These include criminal record check and FBI check (in some cases), medical clearance, proof of financial status, proof of identity, and references.
A minimum of two visits with our social workers. One visit is usually at our offices and one is at your home. For an additional fee, we can conduct both visits in your home.
Types of home studies:
The most common kinds of home studies are described below. If your specific adoption differs from these, please call us and we will be happy to see how we can help.
Domestic Private Adoption Home Studies:
You are planning to work with an attorney and/or birth mother in the private placement of a child. AFT will complete all state required clearances, interviews and paperwork for the home study, which is acceptable for your adoption regardless of where in the United States the final adoption petition is filed.
Home studies are valid for one year, after which, an update may be available through AFT. Update fees are nominal. If there has been any change in circumstances since the first home study, a home visit would be required and an additional fee would be assessed.
We will be happy to work with your child placing agency or attorney in the completion of your home study report.
International Adoption Home Studies:
You are planning to adopt a child internationally using mainland-based agency. Your AFT home study will be acceptable in most countries. (Note that currently we cannot conduct home studies for China or S. Korea. Please check with us if you are planning to adopt from one of those two countries). Check with your adoption agency before applying for the home study.
Home studies are valid for one year,* after which, an update may be available through AFT. Update fees are less than initial HS fees. If there has been any change in circumstances since the first home study, a home visit is required and an additional fee would be assessed.
*Note that within the body of your home study are various clearance dates. These dates correlate to the expiration date of that clearance form. In come cases, an expired clearance document (date) in the body your a "valid" home study (a HS less than 12 months old), might require you to update the clearance and for AFT to update your report for a fee.
Once we have completed your home study, we will forward copies to you, your placing agent, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Your placing agency will assist in completing all required USCIS documentation. Please note that your USCIS approval is valid for 18 months, and your USCIS fingerprint clearance is valid for 15 months.
Some countries may require that home study reports and other required documents be less than one year or six months old at the time of submission. AFT will work with your placing agent to ensure the highest quality service.
foster care adoptions:
If you are planning to adopt a child from AdoptUSKids.org or a state-supported child welfare division handling foster youth, we welcome you and will happily serve as your support agency. We can complete your home study, coordinate with the case worker in your intended child's sending state, and can provide pre-adoptive foster training as needed. A Fostered to Adopt HS is similar to a standard HS. AFT would work to ensure the report met all necessary criteria. Note that in most cases your child's sending state would reimburse you for the cost of the home study.