Whether you choose to adopt privately or through an agency, Indiana law requires all prospective parents to complete an adoptive home study, also known as a Family Preparation Assessment. During this process, a licensed caseworker or social worker offers adoption education and training while assessing what type of childcare and home environment your family can provide.
While every adoption agency will have its own approach to conducting home studies, most include certain general elements. In addition to gathering detailed health, financial and legal records, caseworkers will want to spend time getting to know you and your family personally and ensuring that your home meets state child safety standards. To this end, home studies may involve both interviews and home visits.
During the home study process, you will likely have several interviews with your caseworker. In addition to asking questions about your family relationships, educational background, religious affiliation and other personal topics, he or she may discuss what age child or children would best fit into the family and what approach you take to parenting. Additional questions may include:
- How will your work schedule affect your childcare responsibilities?
- Do you and your spouse agree on how to discipline your children?
- How will your extended family feel about an adopted child?
- What type of community do you live in?
- How do you plan to integrate your new child into the family?
State law requires that the adoptive parent homes meet certain basic safety standards. During a Family Preparation Assessment, a social worker may visit your home to ensure that it does not pose any obvious hazards to children. Depending on the age of the child you are adopting, they may check that toxic substances are out of reach, smoke detectors are working properly and firearms are inaccessible, as well as evaluating other potential risks in the household.
Length of home studies
A successful home study may take weeks, months or years depending on the agency, the caseworker and the circumstances of the prospective parents. You may be able to help speed up this important process by preparing paperwork and gathering all the necessary documents as soon as possible.