Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption - Louisiana

Date:

Who Must Be Studied

Citation: Admin. Code § 67:V.7315

The home study must include the applicant(s) and all members of the household.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study

Citation: Children's Code Art. 1207; 1229

For a private or agency adoption, the Department of Children and Family Services shall investigate and submit a confidential report of its findings to the court. The department may delegate the performance of this investigation to a licensed private adoption agency, but the department remains responsible for ensuring the accuracy and thoroughness of the resulting report and for the safety and welfare of the child.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents

Citation: Children's Code Art. 1198; 1221; Admin. Code 67:V.7315

A single person who is age 18 or older or a married couple jointly may petition to adopt a child.

In regulation: The adoptive parent must provide verification of the following:

  • Sufficient income to meet the needs of the family
  • Sufficient good health to provide necessary care for a child
  • Completion of agency-approved adoptive parent training

The adoptive home shall be reasonably safe, in good repair, and comparable in appearance to other homes in the community. The home shall have a safe outdoor play area that children may use either on the property or within a reasonable distance of the property. The home shall have sufficient living room space comfortably furnished and accessible to all members of the family.

Adoptive parents shall permit no more than four children to a bedroom, and each child shall have his or her own bed. Children over age 6 may not share a bedroom with a person of the opposite sex unless the children are of the same sibling group. A child shall not share a bedroom with adults, except when the child needs close supervision due to illness.

The home shall have a continuous supply of clean drinking water. The home shall have a minimum of one flush toilet, one wash basin with running water, and one bath or shower with hot and cold water.

The adoptive parents shall ensure the following criteria are met:

  • A working heating and air conditioning system in the home
  • A telephone in the home
  • The safe storage of alcoholic beverages, drugs, poisons, or other harmful materials
  • Restricted access by children to potentially dangerous animals
  • Unloaded firearms and ammunition stored in separate locked places and inaccessible to children
  • The home being equipped with operating smoke alarms and an operating carbon monoxide detector
  • A portable chemical fire extinguisher in the cooking area of the home

Elements of a Home Study

Citation: Admin. Code § 67:V.7315

The agency shall perform a State and national criminal background check on the applicant and any member of the applicant's household. An inquiry of the State central registry for members of the household age 18 and older also shall be conducted. If the applicant or any other adult living in the home resided in another State within the previous 5 years, the agency shall request and obtain information from that State's child abuse and neglect registry.

The applicant must submit three personal references who are not related to the applicant and one reference who is related to the applicant but does not live in the home.

The study also shall include the following:

  • At least two home consultation visits and a third visit that may be a home or office visit
  • Separate face-to-face interviews with each age-appropriate member of the household
  • An interview with an adult child of the applicant, who does not live in the applicant's home, regarding the applicant's parenting history
  • A discussion of the motivation or origin of interest in adoption care
  • History of any previous application for adoption
  • Background and social information, including, but not limited to, the following:
    • Family background, customs, and relationship patterns
    • Marital or nonmarital relationships and how a new child would affect the relationships
    • Children in the family and family interaction patterns and relationships
    • Hobbies, interests, social contacts, contacts with extended family, and involvement in the community
    • The past and present mental and physical health of all applicants and family members
    • Discussion of religious practices and attitudes toward religion
    • Assessment of the attitude of each member of the applicant's household and extended family and significant others toward the placement of a child into the home
    • Discussion of disciplinary beliefs and practices
    • Attitudes and capacities to parent an adopted child

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 46:51.2; 15:587.1(C); Admin. Code § 67:V.7315

No prospective adoptive parent shall be approved for placement of a child until it is determined that the prospective adoptive parent does not have any of the following:

  • A felony conviction for child abuse or neglect; for spousal abuse; for a crime against children, including child pornography; or for a crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but not including other assault or battery
  • A felony conviction for physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense that occurred within the past 5 years
  • A felony conviction for any of the following crimes, unless an assessment of the circumstances of the crime and of the current situation of the prospective adoptive has been conducted and it has been determined that the child would not be at risk if placed in the home:
    • Murder, manslaughter, or feticide
    • Rape or sexual battery
    • Rehoming of a child
    • Criminal neglect of family or abandonment
    • A sexual offense involving a minor or a crime against nature
    • Contributing to the delinquency of a minor
    • Cruelty to juveniles
    • Child desertion
    • Crimes of violence, including, but not limited to, the following:
      • Aggravated assault or battery
      • Kidnapping or stalking
      • Robbery or burglary
      • Illegal use of weapons or terrorism
      • Trafficking of children for sexual purposes or human trafficking
      • Domestic abuse aggravated assault
      • Vehicular homicide while intoxicated
    • A sex offense, including failing to register as sex offender, obscenity, operating a place of prostitution, or voyeurism
    • Sale of minor children
    • Drug-related offenses
    • A similar offense committed in another State or under Federal law

In regulation: No person who is recorded on the State central registry with a valid (justified) finding of abuse or neglect of a child can reside in an adoptive home.

When Studies Must Be Completed

Citation: Admin. Code § 67:V.7321

The home study must be completed prior to adoptive placement of a child in the home. If more than a year has passed since the family was certified for adoption, the agency shall complete an update, including updated background checks, prior to the placement of a child in the home.

Postplacement Study Requirements

Citation: Admin. Code § 67:V.7321

The provider placing a child in an adoptive placement shall retain custody and remain responsible for the child until a final decree has been granted.

The provider shall conduct in-home, face-to-face supervisory visits as follows:

  • The first visit shall occur with the child and one adoptive parent within 7 calendar days of the child's placement.
  • The second visit shall occur the following month.
  • Subsequent visits shall occur with one adoptive parent at least once every other month, as follows:
    • The provider shall observe the infant in the home during the monthly visit.
    • The provider shall conduct a private supervisory visit with the child age 1 and older every other month, with at least a segment of the visit occurring in the adoptive home.
  • A visit with both adoptive parents and child shall occur within 30 days prior to the final decree.

Documentation of the contact shall include assessments of the adjustment of the child and adoptive parent, attachment and bonding, the health of the child, and any changes since last the contact.

At least three of the supervisory visits prior to finalization (including the visit prior to the final decree) shall include both adoptive parents and all other members of the household. Observations made during the visits shall be used in making recommendations for finalization of the adoption. If problems are identified, the provider shall assist the family directly and/or refer the family to a resource to address the concerns.

Child-placing agency staff shall be available to provide the child and adoptive parent(s) assistance, consultation, and emotional support with situations and problems encountered in permanent placement through finalization. The child-placing agency shall provide 24-hour crisis intervention to the adoptive family through finalization.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

Citation: Children's Code Art. 1243; 1243.2; 1252; Admin. Code § 67:V.7315

A stepparent, stepgrandparent, great-grandparent, grandparent, or collaterals within the 12th degree may petition to adopt a child if all of the following elements are met:

  • The petitioner is related to the child by blood, adoption, or affinity through the mother of the child or through a father who is filiated to the child in accordance with the civil code.
  • The petitioner is a single person older than age 18 or a married person whose spouse is a joint petitioner.
  • The petitioner has had legal or physical custody of the child for at least 6 months prior to filing the petition for adoption.

Upon the filing of a petition, the court immediately shall order the following:

  • That the local sheriff, State police, or Louisiana Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information conduct a fingerprint-based records check for all Federal and State arrests and convictions for each of the prospective adoptive parents
  • That the department conduct a records check for validated complaints of child abuse or neglect in this or any other State in which either of the prospective adoptive parents has been domiciled since becoming an adult

The department shall not investigate the proposed intrafamily adoption except upon order of the court. If the court orders an investigation, it may request any information that it deems relevant and require that the department submit a confidential report of its findings to the court.

In regulation: Adoption by a relative shall be considered under the following conditions:

  • The relative is interested in adopting the child.
  • An assessment indicates that adoption is in the best interests of the child.
  • The child and relative have formed affectionate and healthy ties.
  • The relative meets certification standards for adoptive homes.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements

Citation: Children's Code Art. 1610; Admin. Code § 67:V.7317

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: The agency shall send written notice to the administrator of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children on forms provided by the authorized agency before placing into or receiving a child from another State. No interstate placement shall occur without prior approval from the compact administrator from the receiving State.

Foster to Adopt Placements

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 46:286.13; Admin. Code § 67:V.7315

Foster parents have the right for first consideration as a placement option for a child previously placed in their home and for a child placed in their home who becomes available for adoption, if relative placement is not available.

In regulation: Adoption of a child by foster parent(s) shall be considered under the following conditions:

  • The foster parent(s) are interested in adopting the child.
  • An assessment indicates that foster parent adoption is the most desirable permanent plan for the child.
  • The child has lived with the foster family for a period of time and the child and family have formed affectionate and healthy ties.
  • Removal and placement would be likely to cause lasting emotional damage to the child.
  • The foster parent(s) meet certification standards for adoptive homes.

Links to Resources

The Foster Parent Handbook for the Foster and Adoptive Families of Louisiana (PDF - 714 KB)