Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption - Idaho

Date: August 2020

Who Must Be Studied

Citation: Ann. Code § 16-1506

The investigation must include the prospective adoptive family and all of its members.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study

Citation: Ann. Code § 16-1506

The social investigation may be performed by any individual who meets the requirements of the law.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents

Citation: Ann. Code § 16-1502

The person adopting a child must be at least 15 years older than the adoptee or age 25 or older.

Elements of a Home Study

Citation: Admin. Code §§, 762;

Each adoptive applicant must provide a medical statement, signed by a qualified medical professional, within the 12-month period prior to the application for adoption indicating that the applicant's physical and mental health will not adversely affect either the health or quality of care of the adopted child.

Adoption home studies must include an assessment of the following:

  • Verification that the adopting person is at least 15 years older than the child or age 25 or older, except in stepparent adoptions
  • Verification that the family has resided and maintained a dwelling within the State of Idaho for at least 6 consecutive months
  • The adequacy of the family's house, property, and neighborhood
  • The applicant's educational background, employment, family income, and financial resources
  • Previous criminal convictions and history of child abuse and neglect
  • Family history and verification of marriages and divorces
  • The names and ages of all biological and adopted children
  • The religious and cultural practices of the family
  • For an Indian child, the prevailing social and cultural standards of the Indian community in which the parent or extended family resides or maintains social and cultural ties
  • Individual and family functioning
  • Activities, interests, and hobbies
  • Child care and parenting skills, including methods of discipline used in the home
  • Reasons for applying for adoption
  • The family's prior and current experiences with and attitudes toward adoption
  • Type of child preferred by the family
  • Emotional stability and maturity
  • The family's attitude about an adopted child's birth family
  • Training needs of the applicant

All persons applying to the department or petitioning the court to be an adoptive parent and all adults in the home, except stepparents applying for adoption of a stepchild, are required to complete a fingerprint-based criminal history and background check.

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Code §§;

Following an initial interview, an applicant who does not appear to meet the department's requirements may be denied a full home study.

An applicant will not be approved as an adoptive parent when the person discloses or the criminal history and background check reveals a conviction for a disqualifying crime on his or her record for any of the crimes listed in regulation.

When Studies Must Be Completed

Citation: Ann. Code § 16-1506; Admin. Code §§, 764, 771

A thorough home study must be completed prior to the placement of any child in the home of prospective adoptive parents. Once initiated, all studies shall be completed within 60 days.

In regulation: The home study must be completed prior to placement of any child for adoption in that home.

Upon application by a potential adoptive family, the family services worker will conduct the preplacement adoptive home study and issue the verification of positive recommendation where appropriate. The home study must be completed prior to placement of any child for adoption in that home.

An adoptive home study must be updated on an annual basis. A current home study is defined as a home study completed within the previous 12 months.

Postplacement Study Requirements

Citation: Admin. Code §§;

Following the adoptive placement, a period of support and supervision by the department lasting at least 6 months must be completed prior to the finalization of the adoption. In situations where a foster family has a significant relationship with a child and the child has been placed in their home for at least the past 6 months, the supervisory period may be reduced to a minimum of 3 months. The family services worker will make scheduled visits to the home at least monthly during this period to assist the child and the family in their adjustment to each other and will update the child's permanent record by means of monthly progress reports.

Progress reports must be made at intervals not to exceed 30 days. These reports will include the family services worker's observation of each child and the prospective adopting parent(s), with emphasis on the following:

  • The special needs or circumstances of each child at the time of placement
  • Services provided to each child and the family during the report period
  • Services to be provided to each child and the family
  • General appearance and adjustment of each child, including eating, sleep patterns, responsiveness, and bonding
  • Adjustment of each child to all of the following that apply: school, day care, and day treatment programs
  • Health and developmental progress
  • Whether each child has been accepted for coverage on the family's medical insurance, when coverage begins, and whether there will be any limitations or exclusions
  • The family's adjustment to adoptive placement
  • Adoption assistance negotiations
  • Changes in family situation or circumstances
  • Areas of concern during the report period as addressed by each child and the adoptive parent(s)

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 16-1502; 16-1506

Age restrictions or requirements do not apply when the adopting parent is a spouse of a natural parent.

When the prospective adoptive parent is married to the birth parent or is the grandparent of the adoptee, the social investigation shall be completed with regard to the prospective adoptive parent only upon order of the court.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements

Citation: Ann. Code § 16-2102; Admin. Code §

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: When necessary to encourage all possible positive contacts with family, including extended family, placement with family members or others who are outside the State of Idaho will be considered. On very rare occasions, the department may contract with an out-of-State residential facility if it best serves the needs of the child and is at a comparable cost to facilities within Idaho. When out-of-State placement is considered in the permanency planning for a child, such placement will be coordinated with the respective interstate compact administrator according to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. Placements must comply with all State and Federal laws.

Foster to Adopt Placements

Citation: Admin. Code §

The procedure and requirements are the same for all adoptive applicants. This includes foster parents who want to be considered as adoptive parents for a child who has a plan of adoption. These requirements include compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act, the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act of 1994, and the Interethnic Adoption Provisions of 1996.

Links to Resources

About Adoption Through Foster Care (webpage) (Idaho Department of Health and Welfare)

State regulations