The Home Study Process
The home study, a requirement in every state, is the first step in the adoption process. In Colorado, the home study is an assessment of the family. A cooperative process, the home study is handled by a caseworker who interviews those who want to adopt and licenses the home when approved.
The home study is composed of three joint interviews by the caseworker with the couple and three individual interviews. The caseworker asks questions pertaining to employment, education, family history, and much more.
The interview process spanned over 2-3 months, is also the time where CBI, FBI, and TRAILS clearances are completed. Background checks are a requirement of the home study. For every state the couple/individual has lived in the past five years, a background check is required.
While background checks are being completed, the couple has to gather other information to give to the caseworker. This includes proof of medical insurance, car insurance, and financial information.
Another requirement of the home study process is CORE training, a Colorado state law requirement. Thirteen topics are mandated for training for prospective parents, all completed within 16 hours. CORE training is completed on a Saturday and Sunday of the same weekend, 8 hours each day. You can find out how to get started at Adoption Choices of Colorado.
What kind of questions are asked during the home study?
The caseworker visits your home and asks questions ranging from your favorite leisurely activities to specific and personal questions like, what is your motivation to adopt? Is your community suitable for a child? What kind of safety features do you have in mind for your child?
The home study is designed to look at each issue, whether positive or negative of the prospective parents. This includes asking each individual their educational background, home life growing up, interests as a child themselves, traumatic experiences as a child themselves, and much more. More than just asking personal questions, the caseworker asks how these individuals handled these past experiences and how they can respond to issues.
Not only are the prospective parents interviewed, but anyone else living in the household (such as another child/neighbor/etc.) is obligated to be interviewed by the caseworker. Anyone over the age of eighteen who is living in the home must have background checks including CBI, FBI, and TRAILS clearances.
Are there legal questions/ issues discussed during the home study?
As a prospective parent, the legal responsibility of adopting a child is a significant portion discussed during the home study. The caseworker talks about the duty of ongoing disclosure as a parent. Another important part to note is if anything changes during the home study process, including moving to another town, or anything significant, an addendum will have to be completed to adjust the home study.
What happens after I am approved for the home study and now have the child in my home?
Once you are approved of the home study, matched with a birth mother, and the birth mother relinquishes her rights and the child is born, you have the responsibility of completing post-placement reports with the caseworker. Post-placement reports occur two weeks after the birth, three months after the birth, and six months after the birth. These reports include how you are caring for the child, how the child is adjusting, and much more.
Post-placement reports, once approved and signed by the caseworker, will be given to the judge recommending that the adoption be finalized.
How can I get started with the home study process?