Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption - Kentucky

Date: August 2020

Who Must Be Studied

Citation: Admin. Regs. Tit. 922, § 1:010

The study must include the proposed adoptive parent(s) and members of the household.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.473

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services shall conduct the home study for an applicant whose total gross income is equal to or less than 250 percent of the Federal poverty level guidelines unless the applicant submits a written request for the home study to be conducted by a licensed child-placing agency.

A licensed child-placing agency approved to provide adoption services shall conduct the home study for an applicant whose gross total income is more than 250 percent of the Federal poverty level guidelines.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 199.470; 199.475; Admin. Regs. Tit. 922, § 1:350

An adoption petition may be filed by any person who is age 18 or older who is a resident of the State or who has resided in the State for 12 months prior to filing the petition.

Any person who has been a resident of any U.S. Army post, military reservation, or fort within Kentucky for 60 days may file a petition for adoption of a child in any county adjacent to the army post or military reservation.

In regulation: An adoptive parent applicant shall be at least age 21, except an applicant between age 18 and 21 may be approved if the applicant is related to the child under the custodial control of the cabinet, the applicant can meet the needs of the child, and the cabinet determines the placement is in the best interests of the child.

The applicant shall provide proof of the applicant's United States citizenship or legal immigrant status.

A married couple or a single, unmarried person may apply to become an adoptive parent. The decision to adopt a child shall be agreed to by each adult member of the applicant's household.

Each adoptive applicant and adult member of the applicant's family shall submit a health information form, completed by a health professional who is not a member of the applicant's household, based upon health information within the past year, documenting the following:

  • The individual has no illness or condition that would present a health or safety risk to a child placed in the applicant's home, including a communicable disease.
  • There are no known health factors that would interfere with the applicant's ability to become an adoptive parent.

An adoptive parent applicant shall have a source of income that is sufficient to meet the applicant's household expenses, separate from adoption assistance.

Elements of a Home Study

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.473; Admin. Regs. Tit. 922, §§ 1:010; 1:350; 1:490

The purpose of the home study shall be to review the background of the applicant and determine the suitability of the applicant to receive a child, taking into account at all times the best interests of the child for whom the application to adopt has been made.

In regulation: The home study of a proposed adoptive parent shall include the following:

  • A minimum of three personal references, including one from a relative
  • A minimum of two financial references
  • A minimum of one home visit and face-to-face interview with each proposed adoptive parent and members of the parent(s)' household
  • Contact with the proposed adoptive parent's adult child, if the cabinet can locate the adult child

The cabinet shall determine whether the applicant's ability to provide an adoptive home is consistent with the minimum adoptive home requirements established in regulation regarding the home environment, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The physical condition of the home complies with State and local health requirements regarding water and sanitation.
  • The home provides access to indoor and outdoor recreation space, functioning kitchen facilities, and a functioning bathroom.
  • The home is equipped with a working smoke alarm within 10 feet of each bedroom and on each floor of the home.
  • A home with gas heating or appliances is equipped with a working carbon monoxide detector.

An applicant and each adult member of the household shall submit to the following:

  • An in-State criminal records check
  • A child abuse or neglect check for each State of residence during the past 5 years
  • A fingerprint-based criminal records check conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • An address check of the sex offender registry

Prior to approval of an applicant, each adolescent member of the household shall submit to a child abuse or neglect check.

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Regs. Tit. 922, § 1:490

An applicant shall not be approved if a criminal records check reveals that the applicant or adult member of the household has any of the following:

  • A felony conviction involving any of the following:
    • A spouse, a child, sexual violence, or death, as described by 42 U.S.C. § 671(a)(20)
    • Physical abuse, battery, or a drug- or alcohol-related offense within the 5-year period prior to the application
  • A criminal conviction relating to child abuse or neglect
  • A civil judicial determination related to child abuse or neglect

An applicant shall not be approved if any of the following apply:

  • A child abuse or neglect check reveals that the applicant, adolescent member of the household, or adult member of the household has a history of any of the following:
    • Has committed sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child
    • Has been responsible for a child fatality or near fatality related to abuse or neglect
    • Had parental rights terminated involuntarily
  • An address check of the sex offender registry and supporting documentation confirm that a sex offender resides at the applicant's home address.

When Studies Must Be Completed

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.473

Prior to the approval of an application to receive a child, a home study shall be completed. The portion of the home study pertaining to the home and family background shall be valid for 1 year following the date of its completion by an adoption worker.

Postplacement Study Requirements

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.510

Upon filing a petition for the adoption of a minor child, the clerk of the court shall forward two copies of the petition to the cabinet. The cabinet or any person, agency, or institution designated by the cabinet or the court shall, to the extent possible, investigate and report in writing to the court on the following:

  • Whether the contents of the petition are true
  • Whether the proposed adoptive parents are financially able and morally fit to have the care, custody, and training of the child
  • Whether the adoption is to the best interests of the child and the child is suitable for adoption

The report shall be filed with the court as soon as practicable but no later than 90 days from the placement of the child.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.470

No petition for adoption shall be filed unless, prior to the filing of the petition, the adoptee has been placed by a child-placing agency or by the cabinet or the child has been placed with written approval of the secretary. No approval shall be necessary in the case of a child being adopted by a blood relative, including a relative of half-blood; first cousin, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, and a person of a preceding generation as denoted by prefixes of grand, great, or great-great; stepparent; stepsibling; or fictive kin. However, the court in its discretion may order a report in accordance with § 199.510 and a background check.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 199.473; 615.030

When either the custodial parent or parents of the child to be placed or the persons wishing to receive the child reside out-of-State, the requirements of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children shall be met before the cabinet gives approval for the child's placement.

Prior to sending or bringing any child into a receiving State for placement for a possible adoption, the sending agency shall furnish the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State written notice of the intention to place the child in the receiving State. The child shall not be sent to the receiving State until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State notify the sending agency, in writing, to the effect 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

State regulations index