Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption - Georgia

Date:

Who Must Be Studied

Citation: Rules & Regs. r. 290-9-2-.06(3)

The adoptive family must be evaluated in a home study.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study

Citation: Rules & Regs. r. 290-9-2-.06(3)

The home study shall be completed by the adoption agency.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents

Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-3

Any individual may petition to adopt a child if he or she meets the following criteria:

  • Is at least age 25, is married and living with his or her spouse, or is at least age 21 and is a relative of the child
  • Is at least 10 years older than the child, except when the petitioner is a stepparent or relative
  • Is a bona fide resident of this State at the filing of the petition for adoption or is a bona fide resident of the receiving State when the adoptee was born in this State and was placed in compliance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children
  • Is financially, physically, and mentally able to have permanent custody of the child

Elements of a Home Study

Citation: Rules & Regs. r. 290-9-2-.06(3)

The home study shall include at least three visits on separate days. At least one visit shall be in the home, and the applicant and all other family members shall be seen and interviewed. Prospective adoptive parents shall be interviewed together as well as separately.

The study shall include at least the following information concerning the prospective adoptive family:

  • Motivation to adopt
  • Physical description and social background of each family member
  • Evaluation of parenting practices
  • Summary of health history and condition of each family member
  • Informal assessment of the emotional and mental health of each family member
  • Evaluation of the understanding of and adjustment to adoptive parenting
  • Evaluation of the prospective adoptive parent(s)' finances and occupation
  • Description of the home and community, including the following:
    • Whether all firearms in the home are locked away from children
    • Whether smoke alarms are present and functioning on each level in the home
    • Availability of community resources, including accessibility of schools, religious institutions, recreation, and medical facilities
  • Statements regarding the results of a criminal records check and a check of the child abuse and neglect registry
  • Minimum of three character references, as follows:
    • At least one reference must be from an extended family member not residing with the prospective adoptive family.
    • If a prospective adoptive parent(s) has worked with children in the past 5 years, a reference must be obtained from the former employer(s) for that work experience.

Grounds for Withholding Approval

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

When Studies Must Be Completed

Citation: Rules & Regs. r. 290-9-2-.06(3)

The agency shall make a written evaluation, or study, of each prospective adoptive family prior to the placement of a child in the home. If the applicant is approved, the required information shall be kept current, with modifications made as necessary if changes occur, until a placement is made.

A home study may be updated in lieu of completion of an entirely new home study. At a minimum, a home study update must include at least one home visit, the applicant's current employment status, updated medical reports, changes in family composition, and any changes in types of children requested.

When a family is approved for an adoption placement by a Georgia agency and a child has not been placed with the family within 1 year of the date of the approval, there shall be documentation annually of the reason(s) a placement has not been made, and a home study update shall be completed prior to a placement being made.

Postplacement Study Requirements

Citation: Rules & Regs. r. 290-9-2-.06(7)

The agency caseworker shall make at least two home visits after the placement of the child and prior to the filing of the petition for adoption, as follows:

  • The first home visit may be made at any time after the placement of the child.
  • There shall be a minimum of 2 weeks between the required home visits for a child age 12 months or younger.
  • There shall be a minimum of 30 days between the required home visits for a child older than 12 months.

Home visits shall be made with the prospective adoptive family at least once a month prior to the filing of a petition for adoption to verify that the prospective parent(s) are delivering care in a safe and healthy environment to the children in accordance with these rules and regulations and relevant agency policies and procedures. Such visits shall include observation of the child and at least one prospective adoptive parent in the home.

If a petition for adoption is not granted within 90 days after filing, the agency shall make additional home visits at least quarterly until a final order has been entered on the petition.

Documentation of home visits will be maintained in the case files of both the prospective adoptive parents and the child. Documentation of home visits should include, but not be limited to, a summary of the entire family's adjustment to the prospective adoptive placement, any problem or issue that has arisen, and the resolution of the problem or issue.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-3

Any individual may petition to adopt a child if he or she meets the following criteria:

  • Is at least age 21 and is a relative of the child
  • Is at least 10 years older than the child, except when the petitioner is a stepparent or relative
  • Is financially, physically, and mentally able to have permanent custody of the child

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements

Citation: Ann. Code § 39-4-4; Rules & Regs. r. 290-9-2-.06(7)

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

The child shall not be sent into the receiving State until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State notify the sending agency, in writing, that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.

In regulation: In an interstate adoption placement where Georgia is the State of origin, the requirements for services following an adoption placement may be met by fulfilling the requirements of the receiving State.

Foster to Adopt Placements

Citation: Rules & Regs. r. 290-9-2-.06(7)

When foster parent(s) are adopting their foster child, the foster parents may proceed with the filing of the petition prior to any home visits.

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State regulations