A home study is a type of screening that occurs during adoption or fostering, where a family’s home, lifestyle, and child-care readiness are closely evaluated. Licensed social workers in the state of Texas typically perform them to ensure that placement of the child in your home is in the child’s best interest. Home studies allow the state to assess your home and identify potential areas of difficulty. Social workers will work with you to develop a plan to correct any deficiencies in your home before placing the child permanently with you. They also ensure that the prospective foster parent has the needed personality traits and is a good match for the child and their background.
One of the first steps in the home study process is a background check for all adults aged 18 and older in the home. Fingerprints are taken and are run against an FBI database to ensure you do not have any felony convictions. You will also be asked for a copy of your most recent pay stubs to verify your income and employment and a copy of your tax return. If you were previously married or are currently married, a divorce decree or a certified copy of your marriage certificate will be handy. You may be asked to provide birth certificates if you have other children.
Generally, most home studies include interviews with everyone living there. Honesty is the best policy. If you make false statements to a social worker, they will find out sooner or later and may fail your home study. Many of their questions are autobiographical. They may ask you:
- What was your childhood like?
- How did you meet your spouse?
- What is your relationship with your parents?
- Are there any instances of alcohol or drug abuse?
- Describe your parenting style.
- What are your moral values?
- Why did you decide to adopt?
- What is your life like today?
- Are all members of your family ready for a new sibling?
These are only some of the countless questions a social worker may ask in your interview, so you must reflect on your desire for adoption. You will also be asked about your current financial situation and employment and have your physical and mental health assessed.
In a home study, home visits are mandatory. A social worker will visit your home and assess the quality of your home environment and other children. They will ensure you have a safe, clean house and enough room for the child.
Many stress out about the home study process because they are asked all kinds of personal questions, including their criminal & financial background, education, and medical history. Again, remaining honest about your background is essential, as your worries are most likely insignificant. However, there are a few extreme reasons why you might fail. These include:
- Life-threatening health issues
- Financial Difficulties
- Dishonesty (Anytime during the process – including paperwork)
- Felony Conviction
- Unstable and Unsafe Home
- Issues with other family members.
Getting a home study in Round Rock or the Austin area is relatively simple, and there are dozens of companies that you can choose from simply by doing a google search.
Here is a list of a few local companies that perform home studies for adoption or fostering purposes:
These companies are not affiliated with Izzo & Associates, PLLC, nor do we have a working relationship with them. You must research before hiring a company to perform your home study. Ensure that the company you choose is legally authorized to complete a home study and is also experienced and licensed in Texas.
Regarding adoptions, Izzo & Associates can help you with the entire process and will be with you every step of the way! From the first application to the final hearing, we can assist you with all the legal mumbo jumbo! If there are additional complications, such as the termination of parental rights, we can help guide you in the right direction. For more information on our services, check out our Adoption page.