Home Study FAQ

What is a home study, and why is it required?

A home study is a court required assessment that is based on information gathered from a variety of documents, in addition to several face to face meetings. Each state requires prospective adoptive families have an approved home study, as known as a pre-placement assessment, prior to the finalization of an adoption. In NC, agencies are certified to complete these assessments by the Department of Health and Human Services. Many child-placing agencies will not work with an adoptive family until they have an approved home study.

What happens during each visit?

The first visit of the home study process occurs in your home. This will be a chance for your assigned adoption worker to review the submitted paperwork with you to make sure everything is in order and ask any questions if there is missing information. This visit is also when home inspections are completed. However, prior to the home visit, your adoption counselor will send you a list of everything included in this home inspection so there will be no surprises. This is not a cleanliness inspection, but rather a walk-through to confirm the safety of the home. The second meeting will consist of individual interviews. This can take place in the home or at the agency office. Additional meetings can be scheduled as needed.

How long is a home study valid?

In the state of North Carolina, a home study is valid for 18 months.

What do I do if I haven't adopted when my home study expires?

Typically you would require a home study update, which is a shorter version of the original home study process and costs less. It does require resubmission of some of the same forms as the original home study and at least one meeting with your assigned adoption worker. We generally ask families to contact our agency at least three months before their home study is due to expire to start their home study update.

What is post-placement supervision? What does it include?

Post placement supervision refers to visits made by the accredited adoption agency that completed your home study after the placement of a child in your home. The purpose of these visits to assess your family’s adjustment after placement and ensure the child’s well-being needs are met. The number and frequency of visits required vary by state, and your assigned adoption worker will let you know how many visits you will need to finalize your adoption

What documents are required to complete an adoptive home study?

Prior to being contacted about the home study, you will have completed the Private Domestic Adoptions Application. In order to complete the home study assessment, you will need to provide:

  • Family Profile form
  • Birth certificates for all family members
  • Marriage and/or divorce certificates (if applicable)
  • Certified criminal background reports for all adults age 18 and older living in the home for your county of residence for the last two years.
  • FBI and SBI fingerprint clearance
  • Responsible Individuals Listing form (one for each adoptive parent — DSSForm 5268). Return these forms to the office with your home study application.
  • Medical evaluation for each member of the adoptive family living in the home or any other persons living in the home.
  • Income verification: Copy of your most recent pay stubs, a statement from your employer verifying employment and/or tax documents.
  • Five sealed,  notarized letters of reference from individuals who have known you for at least two years.

Do you require training?

LSC believes it is important for prospective adoptive families to be well-informed of the adoption process and unique needs of their child. The education process begins with your first questions and continues throughout the adoption journey, including after the child joins your family. Education also helps families and children achieve greater satisfaction with the overall adoption experience throughout the lifespan. However, because we are not a child-placing agency we do not have specific training requirements. We are, however, able to recommend training resources available so that you can choose the topics that are most relevant to your situation.