Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption - Arizona

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Who Must Be Studied

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-105

The prospective adoptive parents and any adult members of the adoptive parents' household must be included in the study.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-105

The study and report are completed by an officer of the court, an agency, the Department of Child Safety, or an entity contracted by the department.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-103

Pursuant to rules adopted by the department, the department or adoption agency shall place a child in an adoptive home that best meets the safety, social, emotional, physical, and mental health needs of the child. Other relevant factors for consideration, in no order of preference, shall include the following:

  • The marital status and the length and stability of the marital relationship of the prospective adoptive parents
  • The prospective adoptive family's ability to meet the child's safety, social, emotional, physical, and mental health needs and the ability to financially provide for the child
  • The availability of relatives, the child's current or former foster parents, or other significant persons to provide support to the prospective adoptive family and child

Elements of a Home Study

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 8-105; 8-112

The application for certification shall include a financial statement and a physician's statement of the applicant's physical health.

A prospective adoptive parent and each other adult member of the household must have a valid fingerprint clearance card issued pursuant to § 41-1758.07. The prospective adoptive parent and each adult member of the household must certify whether that person is awaiting trial on or has ever been convicted of any of the criminal offenses listed in § 41-1758.07(B)-(C). An officer of the court may obtain State and Federal criminal records checks. The department may exchange this fingerprint data with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The investigation and report to the court shall consider all relevant and material facts dealing with the prospective adoptive parents' fitness to adopt children and shall include the following:

  • A complete social history
  • The applicant's financial condition, moral fitness, religious background, and physical and mental health conditions
  • Any court action for or adjudication of child abuse, abandonment of children, dependency or termination of parent-child relationship
  • All other facts bearing on the issue of the fitness of the prospective adoptive parents

A social study shall be submitted to the court 10 days before the hearing on the petition to adopt. The social study shall include the following:

  • The child's adjustment to the adoptive parents' home
  • The prospective adoptive parents' suitability to adopt
  • The existing and proposed arrangements regarding the child's custody
  • State and Federal criminal records checks and a central registry records check
  • Any other information that is pertinent to the adoption proceedings

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 41-1758.07

A person is precluded from receiving a level I fingerprint clearance card if the person is subject to registration as a sex offender or is awaiting trial or been convicted of committing or attempting, soliciting, facilitating, or conspiring to commit one or more of the following offenses:

  • Homicide
  • Sexual assault or sexual abuse
  • Sexual exploitation or commercial sexual exploitation of a minor or vulnerable adult
  • Child sex trafficking
  • Child abuse or felony child neglect
  • Incest or sexual conduct with a minor
  • Molestation of a child or a vulnerable adult
  • Dangerous crimes against children, as defined in § 13-705
  • Exploitation of minors involving drug offenses
  • Taking a child for the purpose of prostitution
  • Production, publication, sale, possession, and presentation of obscene items
  • Furnishing harmful items to minors
  • Furnishing harmful items to minors by internet activity
  • Obscene or indecent telephone communications to minors for commercial purposes
  • Luring a minor for sexual exploitation
  • Transporting persons for the purpose of prostitution, polygamy, and concubinage
  • Felony contributing to the delinquency of a minor
  • Unlawful sale or purchase of children
  • Child bigamy
  • Felony domestic violence
  • Felony assault committed within the previous 5 years
  • Felony drug or alcohol-related offenses committed within the previous 5 years
  • Felony indecent exposure or public sexual indecency
  • Terrorism
  • Any offense involving a violent crime, as defined in § 13-901.03
  • Trafficking of persons for forced labor or services

When Studies Must Be Completed

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-105

Before any prospective adoptive parent may petition to adopt a child, the person shall be certified by the court as acceptable to adopt children. A certificate shall be issued only after an investigation. The investigation and report to the court must be completed within 90 days after the application for certification has been accepted.

Within 60 days after receiving the investigation report, the court shall certify the applicant as acceptable or unacceptable to adopt children based on the investigation report and recommendations of the report. A certification remains in effect for 18 months from the date of its issuance and may be extended for additional 1-year periods if after review the court finds that there have been no material changes in circumstances that would adversely affect the acceptability of the applicant to adopt.

Postplacement Study Requirements

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

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 8-105; 8-112

The requirements for a certification study do not apply in the following situations:

  • The prospective adoptive parent is the spouse of the birth or legal parent of the child to be adopted or is an uncle, aunt, adult sibling, grandparent, or great-grandparent of the child by whole or half-blood or by marriage or adoption.
  • The birth or legal parent is deceased, but at the time of death, the parent had legal and physical custody of the child to be adopted and the child had resided primarily with the spouse of the birth or legal parent during the 24 months before the death of the parent.
  • The grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, uncle, great-uncle, great-aunt, or adult sibling is deceased, but at the time of death that person had legal and physical custody of the child to be adopted, and the child had resided primarily with the spouse of the grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, uncle, great-uncle, great-aunt, or adult sibling during the 24 months before the death of the grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, uncle, great-uncle, great-aunt, or adult sibling.
  • The applicant is the child's foster parent who is petitioning to adopt the child, and the department recommends the adoption of the child by the foster parent applicant.

The social study may consist only of the results of the State and Federal criminal records checks and the central registry records check if either of the following is true:

  • The prospective adoptive parent is the child's stepparent who has been legally married to the child's birth or legal parent for at least 6 months, and the child has resided with the stepparent and parent for at least 6 months.
  • The prospective adoptive parent is the child's adult sibling, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or great-grandparent, and the child has resided with the prospective adoptive parent for at least 1 year.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-548

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

Foster to Adopt Placements

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-112

If the child being considered for adoption has resided with the prospective adoptive parent for at least 6 months and the prospective adoptive parent is a foster parent who is licensed by this State, the social study may consist only of the following:

  • The results of a central registry records check
  • A review of any material changes in circumstances that have occurred since the previous license renewal that affect the prospective adoptive parent(s)' ability to adopt the child

Links to Resources

Arizona Department of Child Safety, Fostering and Adopting in Arizona