Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption - Colorado

Date: August 2020

Who Must Be Studied

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-207

The petitioners for adoption and any adults residing in the petitioners' home must be included in the home study.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-207

Home study reports shall be completed by the county department of human or social services, a designated qualified individual, or a child-placing agency approved by the State Department of Human Services.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents

Citation: 12 Colo. Code Regs. 2509-6, § 7.500.351

The county department will accept applications for the adoption of children only from persons who meet the requirements of the Colorado statute and who have expressed an interest in the placement of a child who might be available at the time of the application.

The county department shall require verification of an individual's lawful presence in the United States in order to approve an application for a child's adoption.

Elements of a Home Study

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-207; 12 Colo. Code Regs. 2509-6, § 7.500.2

The home study shall include, but not be limited to, 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
  • Confirmation that the petitioner has participated in adoption counseling if the court deems it appropriate
  • The suitability of the adoption of this child by this petitioner
  • A fingerprint-based criminal history records check for any prospective adoptive parent and any adult residing in the home
  • A check for any substantiated reports of child abuse or neglect in each State in which the prospective adoptive parent or adult household member has resided in for the past 5 years

In regulation: The family assessment shall include separate and joint interviews with the applicant(s), all adults residing in the home (both related and nonrelated to the applicant), all children residing in the home, and any individual that is considering a second parent adoption of the child(ren) regarding the following:

  • Social history and background
  • Personal characteristics of the family
  • Marital and domestic partner relationship
  • The motivation for child placement
  • The applicants' interest, preparation, and willingness to care for a child with special needs
  • Extended family relationships
  • Physical and social environment, including cleanliness; orderliness and maintenance; safety; furnishings; play area, equipment, and clothing; finances; support system; and household pets
  • Parenting abilities and style
  • Specialized parenting knowledge, including understanding of the effects of abuse or neglect, sexual abuse, and separation and loss; birth sibling relationships; child background information; and birth parent issues
  • Adoption issues, including infertility, telling the child about adoption, openness in adoption, and adoptive parent status

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-207; 12 Colo. Code Regs. 2509-6, § 7.500.312

A person shall not be allowed to adopt a child if there is a record of any of the following:

  • A felony conviction that involves child abuse, as described in § 18-6-401; a crime of violence, as defined in § 15-1.3-406; or a felony offense involving unlawful sexual behavior, as defined in § 16-22-102
  • A felony conviction that occurred less than 5 years prior to the adoption application that involved physical assault or battery or a drug-related offense
  • A felony conviction that occurred less than 10 years prior to the adoption application that involved domestic violence, as defined in § 18-6-800.3

In regulation: The application may be denied if the applicant has been convicted of unlawful use of a controlled substance, as specified in § 18-18-404; unlawful distribution, manufacturing, dispensing, sale, or possession of a controlled substance, as specified in § 18-18-405; or unlawful offenses relating to marijuana or marijuana concentrate, as specified in § 18-18-406.

When Studies Must Be Completed

Citation: 12 Colo. Code Regs. 2509-6, §§ 7.500.2; 7.500.351

The home study must be completed within 90 working days from receiving the completed background checks.

If a child has not been placed in the adoptive home within 1 year of the date of the approval of the adoption assessment, the assessment shall be reevaluated if the home is to remain active for consideration of a child and annually thereafter until a placement is made or the case is closed. Reevaluation shall consist of at least the following:

  • A statement every 2 years from a licensed doctor regarding the current physical condition of the applicants and others living in the home
  • Documentation of any changes in the home and family, such as finances; employment; housing; illnesses; pregnancy; and current information, where applicable, on growth, development, and activities of children in the home
  • Changes, if any, in the kind of child desired, the reason for the change, and the family's capacity to provide for the child currently requested
  • Determination of the appropriateness to continue approval of the home

Postplacement Study Requirements

Citation: 12 Colo. Code Regs. 2509-6, § 7.500.2

The county department placing the child for adoption will be responsible for postplacement supervision until the adoption is finalized, unless otherwise negotiated in the placement agreement between the county and the child-placing agency.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-209

A home study is not required to be filed with an adoption petition in the case of stepparent adoptions, kinship adoptions, or custodial adoptions and in cases in which placement for adoption has been made by the court.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements

Citation: 12 Colo. Code Regs. 2509-4, §§ 7.304.63; 7.307.52

All out-of-State placements for kinship, foster, group, or residential care must comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), § 7.307.

County departments must follow Federal guidelines and shall not place children out of State who are in care under a placement contract (voluntary placements). Such placements can only be made by a parent or guardian.

When Colorado is the receiving State of an ICPC request for placement, all such requests, except for nonpublic adoptive placement requests, shall be sent by the sending State to the Colorado deputy compact administrator, who shall forward the request packet to the correct county department or licensed child-placing agency.

The county department staff or licensed child-placing agency staff assigned to ICPC cases shall complete a home study within 60 calendar days of receipt of the request from the sending State.

Foster to Adopt Placements

Citation: 12 Colo. Code Regs. 2509-6, § 7.500.351

The single assessment completed on a foster family for foster care will be accepted for adoption. The worker will check the adoption box on the single application form and, if appropriate, write a brief update.

Links to Resources

Adoption (webpage) (Colorado Department of Human Services)