Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption - Alaska

Date: August 2020

Who Must Be Studied

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 7, § 56.660

An agency shall conduct a home study for all applicants in the family being considered as an adoptive home.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study

Citation: Alaska Stat. § 25.23.100

The investigation of the petitioner shall be made by the Department of Health and Social Services or any other qualified agency or person designated by the court.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents

Citation: Alaska Stat. § 25.23.020; Admin. Code Tit. 7, § 56.650

Any husband and wife together or unmarried adult may adopt a child.

In regulation: The application for adoption must include evidence that the applicant has completed any orientation or training required by the agency.

Elements of a Home Study

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 7, § 56.660

The home study must include at least the following:

  • One face-to-face interview with all individuals living in the home
  • One onsite home visit
  • An assessment of the capabilities, willingness, and readiness of the prospective adoptive parent to properly parent a child not born to the parent
  • A State and Federal criminal history record check for each adult member of the household
  • At least three positive written references on the applicant, at least two of which are from persons unrelated to the applicant

The agency shall obtain all available information about each adoptive applicant regarding the following:

  • Motivation and level of preparedness for adoption
  • Current residence and the suitability of the family to provide a safe and healthy living environment for a child
  • Physical, mental, and emotional health status of all persons living in the home
  • The quality of marital and family relationships
  • The attitude of the extended family and friends regarding adoption
  • The applicant's feelings about his or her childhood and parents, including any history of abuse or neglect
  • Values, feelings, and practices in regard to parenting, child discipline, and care
  • Sensitivity to different socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic groups in relation to the family's ability to properly parent an adoptive child and to maintain the cultural or ethnic identity of the child
  • Behavior, background, special needs status, or other characteristics of a potential adoptive child that the family can and cannot accept and why as well as a discussion of the prospective adoptive parent(s)' preparation, willingness, and ability to provide proper care for such a child
  • Financial status and ability to support a child, including income, financial resources, debts, expenses, employment history, insurance coverage, and the family's ability to address possible ongoing needs of the child

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 7, §§ 56.660; 56.210

Except when placing a child under emergency conditions, an adoptive home may not be approved if a person in the home has a disqualification as described in later in this section. In an emergency placement, an agency shall complete required clearances on persons in the home as soon as possible following the placement. However, the agency shall review the Alaska Sexual Offender Registry before placement of a child and conduct a check of local court records before placement or on the first day that the court is open following the placement of a child.

A person may not be approved as an adoptive parent if any of the following apply:

  • The person has a record of having committed a barrier crime.
  • The person's name appears on the child abuse central registry or a sex offender registry.
  • The person has a physical or behavioral health problem that poses a significant risk to the health, safety, or well-being of children.
  • The person was the subject of a prior adverse licensing action.

When Studies Must Be Completed

Citation: Alaska Stat. § 25.23.100; Admin. Code Tit. 7, § 56.660

A written report of the investigation shall be filed with the court by the investigator before the petition is heard as long as the report is filed within 30 days of the designation by the court of the department, agency, or person to make the investigation.

In regulation: If a child has not been placed with the adoptive applicants within 1 year of the time the home study is completed, the home study must be made up-to-date within the 30-day period before a child is placed in the home. The written update must include the following:

  • A review and any required updating of each category of information in the adoptive home study
  • Documentation of at least one additional visit within the past 6 months to the home when all individuals living in the home were present

Postplacement Study Requirements

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 7, § 56.620

During the postplacement period, the agency shall document any changes in the adoptive family in health, financial condition, or composition that may affect the child.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

Citation: Alaska Stat. § 25.23.100

Unless directed by the court, an investigation and report are not required in cases in which a stepparent is the petitioner or the adoptee is within the fourth degree of lineal or collateral consanguinity to the petitioner.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements

Citation: Alaska Stat. § 47.70.010

Placement of children in or from another State for possible adoption are subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

Foster to Adopt Placements

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Links to Resources

State regulation