Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption - Indiana

Date: August 2020

Who Must Be Studied

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-19-7-1

All adult members of the prospective adoptive family must be studied.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-19-8-5

The study shall be completed by either a licensed child-placing agency or the local Office of Family and Children.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-19-2-2; 31-19-2-3

A resident of Indiana may adopt a child. A hard-to-place child may be adopted by a nonresident.

Elements of a Home Study

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-19-8-6; 31-9-2-22.5

The report required must address the suitability of the proposed home for the child. The report may not contain any information concerning the financial condition of the adoptive parents. The results of a criminal history check must accompany the report.

A criminal history check shall include the following:

  • An inspection by the State police department of juvenile history data concerning a person who is at least age 14 who is residing in the applicant's household
  • A fingerprint-based criminal history background check of both national and State records databases concerning a person who is at least age 18 residing in the home
  • A check for substantiated reports of child abuse or neglect reported in any jurisdiction where a household member has resided within the previous 5 years
  • Conduct a check of the national sex offender registry maintained by the U.S. Department of Justice for all persons who are at least age 14
  • Conduct a check of local criminal records in every jurisdiction in which a person who is at least age 18 has resided within the previous 5 years, unless the Department of Child Services or a court grants an exception to conducting this check

Grounds for Withholding Approval

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

When Studies Must Be Completed

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-19-8-5

When a petition for adoption is made to the court, the court shall refer the case to the appropriate agency for an investigation. No more than 60 days from the date of the referral, the agency shall submit to the court a written report of the investigation and a recommendation as to the advisability of the adoption.

Postplacement Study Requirements

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-19-8-1; 31-19-8-2

Before an adoption may be granted in Indiana, the adoptive family must complete a period of postplacement supervision. The supervision will be provided by either a licensed child-placing agency for a child who has not been adjudicated to be a child in need of services or by the Department of Child Services if the child is the subject of an open child in need of services action. The length of the period of supervision is within the sole discretion of the court hearing the petition for adoption. The requirement for postplacement supervision does not apply to an adoption by a stepparent or grandparent of the child.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-19-8-5

A court hearing a petition for adoption of a child may waive the investigation and report if one of the petitioners is a stepparent or grandparent of the child and the court waives the period of supervision.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-28-4-1

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, brought, or caused to be sent or brought into the receiving State until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State notifies 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

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

Links to Resources

Indiana Child Welfare Policy Manual, Chapter 10, Adoption (Indiana Department of Child Services)