For many hopeful adoptive parents, the home study can be intimidating. However, the home study is a necessary and important step to become certified to adopt in Arizona, and with some preparation, the process will go smoothly.
The home study is essentially a research report on your family’s life and living environment. It includes the collection of important documents and criminal records checks, personal interviews with a social worker, and a home inspection. The process simply helps ensure that the family is ready to add another member and that the adoption would be in the best interests of the child.
The purpose of the home study is to help you complete your family. It may be helpful to think of this as an opportunity to learn more about adoption and parenting, rather than a test to pass or an obstacle to overcome on your way to adoption.
If you are still apprehensive about the home study, here is more information about what to expect throughout the Arizona home study process.
Home Study Process in Arizona
In Arizona, the home study will be completed by an authorized division or agency, and will include the prospective adoptive parent(s) as well as all adult members of their household. There are three main components of the Arizona home study:
- Documentation: Adoptive applicants must submit several important documents, including birth and marriage certificates. Adoptive parents will also need to submit a financial statement and a physician’s statement of physical health. All adult members of the household will need to certify whether they are awaiting trial or have ever been convicted of a crime, and state and federal criminal records checks will be conducted.
- Interviews: This is one of the most important parts of the home study. This is what allows the social worker to truly get to know the prospective parents. The interview will consist mainly of biographical information, such as family dynamics, values, traditions and hobbies, as well as the adoptive parents’ motives, attitudes and knowledge regarding adoption.
- Home Inspection: The social worker conducting the home study will visit the adoptive applicants’ home to ensure it is a safe and viable environment to raise a child. The social worker will look for any potential safety hazards that need to be corrected before placement, such as missing window screens or faulty smoke alarms.
After gathering all of the necessary information, the social worker will compile a home study report, which will include the following elements:
- Social history information
- Financial circumstances
- Religious background
- Physical and mental health status
- Any court actions regarding child abuse, child abandonment, etc.
- Other relevant information in determining the fitness of prospective parents to adopt
The Arizona home study must be completed within 90 days after the application for adoption certification has been accepted. Within 60 days of the completion of the home study report, the adoptive applicants will be notified of whether or not the study was approved.
Arizona Home Study Approval
With the proper preparation, most adoptive families will meet the Arizona home study qualifications. Here are some of the factors that will be considered in determining an adoptive applicant’s fitness to adopt:
- The family’s financial ability to provide for a child
- Significant family events such as divorce, death of a family member or any history of child maltreatment
- The applicant’s age, health, and physical ability to care for a child
- Length and stability of the prospective parents’ marital relationship
- Convictions or pending charges of certain criminal offenses
- Any previous instances in which an adoptive applicant lost care, custody or parental rights to a child
If an adoptive family’s home study is not approved for any reason, they will receive written notice of the decision, as well as an explanation of their right to petition the court for review.
The home study is one step in the legal adoption process that brings you closer to completing your family. For more information about the Arizona home study, certification to adopt or other Arizona adoption laws, contact MyersStrickland today.