Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption - Nebraska

Date: August 2020

Who Must Be Studied

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 390, § 7-001.06

The applicants, their children, and other persons living in the home shall be included in the study.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 43-107

The study must be completed by the Department of Health and Human Services or a licensed child-placing agency.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 390, § 7-001.06

Applicants for providing adoptive care must meet at least the following requirements:

  • The applicant must be at least age 19. Generally, at least one parent should be within the normal childbearing age for the child to be placed.
  • An applicant must be in such physical and mental condition that it is reasonable to expect him or her to be able to fulfill parenting responsibilities. If there appears to be a health condition that might affect parenting ability, a medical report may be requested.
  • The application of all persons will be considered regardless of race, gender, ethnic group, or religion.
  • The applicant must be able to budget his or her financial resources in such a way that a child placed can be reasonably assured of minimum standards of nutrition, health, shelter, clothing, and other essentials.
  • Applicants must be willing to consider accepting children in the department's custody or likely to enter the department's custody.

Elements of a Home Study

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 43-107; Admin. Code Tit. 390, § 7-001.06

The preplacement or postplacement adoptive home study shall be performed as prescribed in rules and regulations of the department and shall include at a minimum an examination into the facts relating to the petitioner or petitioners as may be relevant to the propriety of such adoption. The rules and regulations shall require an adoptive home study to include a national criminal history records check and a check of the central registry for any history of the petitioner or petitioners of behavior injurious to or that may endanger the health or morals of a child.

In regulation: The department will assess all persons who are interested in becoming adoptive parents. This process includes the following:

  • Home visits
  • Interviews with all the applicants, their children, and other persons living in the home
  • A written home study, using the department's format
  • A self-study completed by the applicants
  • References from three persons
  • Background checks with the Adult Protective Services Central Registry and the Central Registry of Child Protection Cases
  • A criminal records check
  • A medical summary for each family member

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 390, § 7-001.06

A negative medical report may be the basis for denial of an application at any point in the home study process.

The department will consider all the information and take into consideration the needs of the children in the department's custody to determine whether a family should become an adoptive family. The home study will include the recommendation.

When Studies Must Be Completed

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 43-107

For adoption placements occurring on or after January 1, 1994, a preplacement adoptive home study shall be filed with the court prior to the hearing on the adoption petition. The study must have been completed within 1 year before the date on which the adoptee is placed with the petitioner.

Postplacement Study Requirements

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 390, § 6-002.08

Postplacement services are provided before the finalization of adoption. Supervision is provided by having regular family contact, home visits with both parents, visits alone with the child, and contact with other persons living in the home. A minimum of 6 months of postplacement supervision is provided. For a child with special needs, supervision for 1 year is recommended.

The department also will provide family-centered support services to do the following:

  • Assist the family with the integration of the child into the family and the creation of a new family unit
  • Provide assessment of the progress and the need for other services
  • Help the family plan for services the family will desire after finalization

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 43-107

An adoptive home study shall not be required when the petitioner is a stepparent of the adoptee, unless required by the court. An adoptive home study may be waived by the court upon a showing of good cause by the petitioner when the petitioner is a birth grandparent or a stepgrandparent who is married to the birth grandparent at the time of the adoption, if both are adopting the child. For all petitions filed on or after January 1, 1994, the judge shall order the petitioner to request the Nebraska State Patrol to file a national criminal history record information check and to request the department to conduct a check of the central registry for any history of the petitioner of behavior injurious to or that may endanger the health or morals of a child. An adoption decree shall not be issued until such records are on file with the court.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 43-1103; Admin. Code Tit. 390, § 9-001A

Prior to sending a child to a receiving State, the public child-placing agency shall submit a written request for assessment to the receiving State. The sending State and the receiving State may request additional information or documents prior to finalization of an approved placement.

Upon receipt of a request from the public child-placing agency of the sending State, the receiving State shall initiate an assessment of the proposed placement to determine its safety and suitability. If the proposed placement is a placement with a relative, the public child-placing agency of the sending State may request a determination for a provisional placement.

The public child-placing agency in the receiving State shall approve a provisional placement and complete or arrange for the completion of the assessment within the timeframes established by the rules of the Interstate Commission.

In regulation: No child will be placed from Nebraska into another State or from another State into Nebraska until both of the following occur:

  • A home study or adoptive study is completed.
  • Approval to place is granted from the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children administrators in each State.

Foster to Adopt Placements

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 43-107

A foster parent who later petitions the court to adopt his or her foster child shall be exempt from the requirements of a preplacement adoptive home study. The petitioner or petitioners shall have a postplacement adoptive home study completed by the department or a licensed child-placing agency and filed with the court at least 1 week prior to the hearing for adoption.

Links to Resources

Administrative and Policy Memos, see chapter 10