Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption - American Samoa

Date: August 2020

Who Must Be Studied

Citation: A.S. Code § 45.0420

The petitioner for adoption must be studied to determine their suitability to parent the child.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study

Citation: A.S. Code § 45.0421

A study and written report may be completed by the Department of Health, a child-placing agency, or the Probation Department of the court.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents

Citation: A.S. Code § 45.0411

Any person age 21 or older may petition the court to adopt a child. A minor, upon approval of the court, may petition to adopt a child.

Elements of a Home Study

Citation: A.S. Code §§ 45.0414; 45.0422

The study and report shall assess the following:

  • The physical and mental health, emotional stability, and moral integrity of the petitioner
  • The ability of the petitioner to promote the welfare of the child
  • The petitioner's moral character
  • The petitioner's ability to support and educate the child
  • The suitability of the adoptive home

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: A.S. Code §§ 45.0414; 45.0422

The court may dismiss the adoption petition if it is not satisfied as to the character and suitability of the petitioner or there is reason to believe the person's physical condition would make the person unable to take care of the child.

When Studies Must Be Completed

Citation: A.S. Code §§ 45.0414; 45.0421

In placements by the Department of Health or child-placing agencies, the report of the study shall be filed with the consent to adoption. If a petition is not accompanied by the written consent and report, the court shall order an investigation and report.

Postplacement Study Requirements

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

Citation: A.S. Code § 45.0421

The requirement for an investigation and written report does not apply to stepparent adoptions and those cases in which placement for adoption has been made by the court, by an individual in whom guardianship of the person of the child has been placed by the court, or in accordance with the law of another State or territory.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Foster to Adopt Placements

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Links to Resources

None are available online.