A California adoption home study is an overview of a hopeful adoptive family’s life, after which a social worker determines whether or not the family is ready to pursue adoption. It sounds scary, but remember: It’s meant to help you in your goal of growing your family. Your social worker will educate you and help to match with you with birth parents as well as evaluate your fitness to adopt.
Each California adoption home study has three main parts, which are an in-home visit, a documentation phase, and a home inspection. These serve to make sure all family members are safe and dedicated to pursuing adoption as well as ensuring that your family is physically, mentally and financially healthy enough to adopt.
A California adoption home study may seem complicated, but it’s actually completed in a few simple steps:
Complete background checks. In California, you’ll be required to submit fingerprints and obtain criminal records from law enforcement. Having a criminal record doesn’t necessarily ban you from adopting; see “Requirements to Adopt a Child in California.”
Meet with your social worker to determine what you’ll need for the rest of the California adoption home study process.
Prepare all necessary documents to give to your home study provider. (See below for a list of everything you’ll need.)
Have the social worker into your house for the home visit.
Review and confirm all information in the home study document. If there are any mistakes or changes, inform your home study provider immediately.
And that’s it! Just like that, your home study is complete and you’re eligible to pursue adoption opportunities. If you undergo any significant life changes between the time you complete your home study and the time you adopt a child, you will be required to update your home study.
If you’re in the process of beginning your California adoption home study, the documentation phase can be a little overwhelming. It’s the most time-consuming part of the process, and there’s only so much your social worker can do to help you complete it. To help you get ready, we’ve compiled a list of the type of documents you should be preparing:
Drivers Licenses and Proof of Insurance
Green Card, if applicable
Passports, if pursuing international adoption
Health Statements. Naturally, it’s important to ensure that you’re healthy enough to raise a child in your home. You’ll want to have up-to-date checkups, and be prepared to give information about your weight, height, etc. Your mental health is important as well, so be sure to have a statement from a mental health professional clearing you to adopt if you’ve ever struggled with any kind of mental health condition.
Background Checks and Clearances. While you’re waiting for your home visit, you’ll need to obtain both your fingerprints and your background checks from relevant law enforcement agencies.
Financial Information. Prepare items like payment stubs, income statements or tax returns in order to show you can financially provide for a child. This doesn’t mean you have to be wealthy; it just means you’ll need to prove yourself capable of providing your child with everything he or she needs.
References. While you may not necessarily need an adoption reference letter, you should have the names, phone numbers and addresses of three to five people your home study provider could use as references.
Autobiographical Statements. You’ll each need to write stories about yourselves, which will include information about your life from childhood to present. This will help your home study provider to get to know you and understand your desire to adopt.
For your home, you’ll need to make sure you have:
Covered trash can
Locks and screens on all doors and windows
List of emergency phone numbers
Safeguards around any fireplaces or heating equipment
Fences around any pools
A home evacuation plan
For more information about your California adoption home study and what to expect, call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with a social worker or request information here.
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