Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption - Illinois

Date:

Who Must Be Studied

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 402.4

Each applicant and adult member of the applicant's household shall be included in the investigation. In addition, members of the household ages 13 through 17 must authorize a check of the child abuse and neglect registry and the child sex offender registry.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/6

The court shall appoint a child welfare agency approved by the Department of Children and Family Services or a person deemed competent by the court to conduct the investigation. In Cook County, the Court Services Division of the Cook County Department of Public Aid or the Department of Children and Family Services may be appointed if the court determines that no child welfare agency is available or that the petitioner is financially unable to pay for the investigation.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 89, §§ 309.105; 309.130

A person seeking to adopt must meet the following criteria:

  • Have resided in the State of Illinois continuously for a period of at least 6 months immediately preceding the commencement of an adoption proceeding or be a member of the armed forces of the United States who has been domiciled in the State for 90 days
  • Be a reputable person of legal age and of either sex

The child's needs and best interests shall be the primary consideration when selecting an adoptive family for a child. The factors to be considered shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The wishes of the child under age 14 who demonstrates the maturity and cognitive ability to participate in the decision
  • The physical, mental, and emotional needs of the child
  • The child's need for stability and continuity of relationship with parent figures
  • The interaction between the child and the prospective adoptive parent
  • The prospective adoptive parent's ability to meet the physical, mental, and emotional needs of the child
  • The prospective adoptive parent's ability and willingness to support, maintain, and continue to be sensitive to the child's significant relationships with the child's extended family, siblings, and any other significant persons who played an important part in the child's life or to whom the child has established significant emotional ties
  • The prospective adoptive family's willingness to help and support the child in developing a relationship with his or her siblings, including siblings with whom the child does not yet have a relationship, and recognition of the value of preserving family ties between the child and his or her siblings, including the child's need for stability and continuity of relationships with siblings and the importance of sibling contact in the development of the child's identity

Elements of a Home Study

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/6; Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 402.28; 309.110

The study shall investigate accurately, fully, and promptly the character, reputation, health, and general standing in the community of the petitioners; the religious faith of the petitioners and, if ascertainable, of the child sought to be adopted; and whether the petitioners are proper persons to adopt the child and whether the child is a proper subject of adoption. The investigation required shall include a fingerprint-based criminal background check with a review of fingerprints by the Illinois State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The criminal background check shall not be more than 2 years old.

In regulation: An adoptive home shall be licensed as a foster family home before placement of an unrelated child for adoption.

The certification process for a prospective adoptive parent includes completion of the required certification training and an assessment that includes a written home study that incorporates information from the assessment phase and includes a recommendation regarding the types of children the family is able to parent that has been approved by the department or adoption agency supervisor.

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 402, Appx. A

Final approval for licensure shall not be granted if the record check reveals a felony conviction for child abuse or neglect; for spousal abuse; for a crime against children; or for a crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault or homicide, but not including other physical assault or battery; or if there is a felony conviction for physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense committed within the past 5 years.

When Studies Must Be Completed

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/6

The court will order an investigation within 10 days after the filing of a petition for the adoption of a child other than a related child.

Postplacement Study Requirements

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 309.160

Postplacement services are provided to the child and adoptive family from the date of placement of the child in the adoptive home to the date of finalization of the adoption for the purpose of the following:

  • Continuing the activities around the preparation of the child for adoption
  • Ensuring the health and safety of the child
  • Ensuring successful integration of the child in the adoptive home
  • Providing continuing support and placement stabilization in order to minimize the risk of placement disruption
  • Facilitating adoption finalization

The department or adoption agency will continue to assess the child and family after placement has occurred to ensure that all existing and potential needs have been identified and appropriate support services are in place prior to finalization. The services provided by the department or adoption agency will be related to the needs of the adoptive family and the special needs of the adopted child, particularly if the child is older; has medical conditions; has physical, mental, or emotional disabilities; or is of a different ethnic, racial, or cultural background than the adoptive family. The assessment will explore the level of attachment occurring within the adoptive family and will utilize specific activities designed to promote and enhance attachment.

Information relating to the finalization of the adoption is provided to the family, and efforts are directed toward completing all necessary reports required prior to finalization. The department or adoption agency will schedule regular in-person contacts with the family and child following placement until the adoption is finalized.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/6; Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 309.105

An investigation of an adoption petition shall not be made when the petition seeks to adopt a related child or an adult unless the court, in its discretion, shall so order. In such an event, the court may appoint a person deemed competent by the court.

In regulation: The residence requirement shall not apply to an adoption of a related child or to an adoption of a child placed by an agency.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 45, § 15/1

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.

Foster to Adopt Placements

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/15.1; Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 309.130

Any person age 18 or older who has cared for a child for a continuous period of 1 year or more as a foster parent may apply to the child's guardian for the guardian's consent to adopt the child. The guardian shall give preference and first consideration to that application over all other applications for adoption of the child, but the guardian's final decision shall be based on the welfare and best interests of the child. In arriving at this decision, the guardian shall consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The wishes of the child
  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the applicant to adopt the child
  • The child's need for stability and continuity of relationship with parent figures
  • The wishes of the child's parent as expressed in writing prior to that parent's execution of a consent to adoption
  • The child's adjustment to his or her present home, school, and community
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
  • The family ties between the child and the applicant and the value of preserving family ties between the child and the child's relatives, including siblings
  • The background, age, and living arrangements of the applicant
  • The criminal background check report presented to the court as part of the required investigation

The final determination of the propriety of the adoption shall be within the sole discretion of the court.

In regulation: In accordance with the Adoption Act, licensed foster parents who have cared for a child for a continuous period of one year or more shall be given preference and first consideration over all other applicants for the adoption of that child in their home when adoption is the permanency goal, the child is legally free for adoption, and adoption is in the child's best interests.

Links to Resources

Policy Guide 2017.04, Licensing Standards for Child Welfare Agencies--Adoption-Only Homes