The home study is one of the most important parts of the adoption process. Part of the purpose of the home study is to determine whether you are fit to bring an adopted child into your home and raise him or her.
However, the home study serves other purposes as well. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, the home study helps to match you with a child who fits well with your family. It also gives you the opportunity to learn more about being a parent and prepare for the eventual adoption of your child.
The home study is a process that involves multiple steps. Here is a brief outline of what it entails.
1. Home visit
The home visit may be what you think of first when you think about a home study, but it is really only one step in the process. The purpose of the home visit is to ensure that the home is safe, structurally sound and able to accommodate all members of the family, including the adopted child.
2. Criminal background check
New Jersey law requires criminal background checks with fingerprinting not only for you and your spouse or partner but for any other adults living in your home. A history of criminal conviction does not necessarily disqualify you from adopting a child. However, the agency will consider the nature of the crime and its seriousness, as well as how long ago it occurred, when making the decision.
The purpose of the interviews is to assess your personal qualities and parenting abilities in the interest of matching you with a child who will be compatible.
The interviews involve all members of your household, not just you and your fellow applicant. If there are other children in your household, they will also undergo interviews.