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What is a Home Study?
All families adopting from foster care through the State of Alaska and across the U.S. are required to have a positive, approved home study. This include relative caregivers who are adopting a relative through the Office of Children’s Services. A home study is a comprehensive written assessment of your home by a trained home study writer.
Biographical information, references, interviews with birth children, adoptive children and other families members, background checks, health and income statements are all part of the process. The home study writer will meet the prospective adoptive parent in their home, and talk to family members individually and collectively over two or three visits. Following the interviews, the home study writer will complete a written report with recommendations for placement and possibly additional training. Once the writer has completed the first draft, the family will have an opportunity to review it to correct any errors. Everything written in the home study should be discussed with the pre-adoptive parents. For OCS adoptions, the report is then submitted to the OCS Regional Adoption Specialist for approval. This process can take anywhere from 4 to 9 months to complete.
Generally, pre-adoptive families will be asked to provide the following information:
- personal and family history including siblings, major life events and responses to them
- personal, marriage and family relationships
- motivations to adopt and expectations
- resolution of grief and loss issues, (i.e. infertility)
- parenting philosophy and family environment
- health history
- employment and ability to provide for the child
- references, background checks and recommendations
The home study is not just a way of investigating prospective parents. It is a tool to educate and inform parents of the issues adoptive children and families face. The information in a home study helps social workers and adoption professionals find the right family for a waiting child.
For families who are adopting privately, a list of adoption homestudy writers in Alaska is available through the Alaska Center for Resource Families by request. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.