A home study is required in almost all adoption cases. It is one of the first steps in the adoption process—a prerequisite to identifying a prospective adoptee. This process gives adoption entities an inside look into your suitability as a parent and the child-safe environment of your home.
The results of your home study will be valid for one year—from the date of completion. You will receive a copy of your home study results.
Under Florida law, your home study must include the following:
- Interview: This is conducted with all adult members of the household.
- Background check: This is an examination of any criminal records, as well as any incidents reported to the central abuse registry. It conducted for anyone in the household, aged 12 and older.
- Home environment assessment: The agency will look for evidence that your home will provide a safe and nurturing environment for a child.
- Financial security evaluation: The agency will verify that you have the means to support a child.
- Proof of completion of adoptive parent training: All parents who adopt through the Florida Department of Children and Families are required to attend pre-adoptive training.
Additionally, prospective adoptive parents must submit five written references—two from non-relatives—in support of their application as suitable adoptive parents.
Reasons for refusal
Home studies in Florida will not be approved if:
- Anyone in the household has a history of sexual abuse, physical abuse or murder;
- A prospective adoptive parent suffers from a chronic, severe medical condition that could impair their ability to provide for a child or
- A prospective parent is (or was) a foster parent with a documented history of care concerns.
However, if a home study is unsuccessful for any other reason, the adoption entity may petition the court to evaluate the suitability of the potential adoptive home.
Going through the adoption process can create a mix of excitement and anxiety. Having an experienced adoption attorney on your side can help guide you through the process—and alleviate unnecessary stress.