Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption - Nevada

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Who Must Be Studied

Citation: Admin. Code §§ 127.235; 127.395

The applicants for adoption and any member of the applicants' household who is age 18 and older must be included in the study.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study

Citation: Admin. Code §§ 127.235; 127.395

The study may be conducted by either a child-placing agency or an agency that provides child welfare services.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents

Citation: Admin. Code §§ 127.239; 127.240; 127.415; 127.420

The agency shall select an adoptive home for a child based on the ability of the members of that home to meet the needs of that child. To be approved as a prospective adoptive parent, the applicant must demonstrate his or her capacity to be a parent and to meet the needs of an adopted child, including his or her ability to do the following:

  • Provide the child with conditions and opportunities to promote his or her healthy personality growth and development of his or her potential
  • Assume responsibility for the safety, care, support, education, and character development of the child
  • Offer a reasonably happy and secure family life with love, understanding, guidance, and companionship

Elements of a Home Study

Citation: Admin. Code §§ 127.235; 127.395

A person who wishes to have his or her home studied for the purpose of adoption must do the following:

  • Make a written application
  • Submit a copy of his or her fingerprints
  • Sign a release of information
  • Cooperate with the agency by providing other information as necessary to evaluate the home

Upon receiving an application, the agency shall evaluate the applicant to determine his or her suitability for becoming an adoptive parent. Such an evaluation must include the following:

  • An interview and assessment of the applicant(s)
  • An assessment that must include, without limitation, an inquiry into any factor that the caseworker determines is necessary to assess the ability of the applicant to meet the needs of the adoptee
  • A visit to and assessment of the home of the applicant, including a fire and safety inspection
  • A request for and review of any reports and investigations regarding the abuse or neglect of a child by the applicant or any member of the applicant's household who is age 18 or older
  • A request for and review of any information concerning the applicant and any member of the applicant's household who is age 18 or older maintained by local law enforcement agencies
  • A request for and review of any State and Federal records of criminal history regarding the applicant and any member of the applicant's household who is age 18 or older
  • The receipt and review of at least five satisfactory references from persons who have known the applicant for no less than 2 years, with no more than two of the references being from family members
  • A medical examination of the applicant and each member of his or her household
  • Verification of the marital status of the applicant, including the review of any applicable records regarding marriage, divorce, and the death of a spouse

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Code §§ 127.240; 127.420

An application to adopt must be denied if any of the following apply:

  • The applicant has submitted false information or has withheld relevant information.
  • The applicant refuses or fails to provide information requested by the agency.
  • Two persons who are applying to adopt a child jointly are not legally married to each other.
  • The marriage of two persons legally married to each other who are applying to adopt a child jointly is determined by the agency to be unstable.
  • The applicant is married and his or her spouse has not joined in the application.
  • The applicant's housing is inadequate to accommodate an additional child.
  • The applicant has not demonstrated financial responsibility.
  • The applicant has not adequately prepared to provide ongoing physical and emotional care to the child.
  • The agency has, based on its evaluation of the applicant, concerns relating to the applicant's moral character, mental stability, or motivation for adopting a child.
  • The applicant or a member of the applicant's household who is age 18 or older has been convicted, arrested, or has charges pending for a crime involving harm to a child.
  • The applicant or a member of the applicant's household who is age 18 or older has charges pending for a felony conviction or has been arrested and is awaiting final disposition of possible or pending charges involving the following:
    • Child abuse or neglect
    • Spousal abuse
    • Any crime against children, including child pornography
    • Any crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but not including other physical assault or battery
    • Physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense that was committed within the past 5 years
  • The agency has concerns and reasonable doubts, based on any other relevant information, about the safety or well-being of the child, if the child is placed with the applicant.

When Studies Must Be Completed

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 127.280; Admin. Code §§ 127.238; 127.410

A child may not be placed in the home of prospective adoptive parents before the home study investigation has been completed.

In regulation: The home study must be updated annually until a child has been placed with the applicant or the applicant requests removal of his or her name from the waiting list.

An updated study of a prospective adoptive home must include the following:

  • All the changes that have occurred since the previous study
  • A request for and review of any reports and investigations regarding the abuse or neglect of a child by the applicant or any member of the applicant's household who is age 18 or older
  • A request for and review of any information concerning the applicant or any member of the applicant's household who is age 18 or older maintained by local law enforcement agencies

Postplacement Study Requirements

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 127.120; Admin. Code §§ 127.256; 127.455

After an adoption petition is filed, the agency shall make an investigation and report to the court. The report must contain a specific recommendation for or against approval of the petition, a statement of whether the child is known to be an Indian child, and any other information regarding the child or proposed home that the court requires.

In regulation: After the placement of the child in an adoptive home, the agency shall do the following:

  • In the case of a child with special needs, make at least one supervisory visit to the adoptive home as follows:
    • Per week during the month following the initial placement
    • Per month until the adoption becomes final
  • For a child with no special needs, make at least one supervisory visit per month until the adoption becomes final
  • Document all contacts with the prospective adoptive family, child, and other persons who know or have contact with the child
  • Provide consultation with or referral to such community resources as necessary to meet the child's needs
  • Assist the prospective adoptive parent(s) to develop any skills related to parenting that may be needed to meet the specific needs of the adoptee

If the agency has concerns regarding the placement of a child, the agency may contact teachers, babysitters, counselors, providers of medical care, government agencies, and any other persons who know or have contact with the child for the purpose of ensuring that the specific needs of the child are being met.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 127.120

If one petitioner or the spouse of a petitioner is related to the child within the third degree of consanguinity, the court may, in its discretion, waive the investigation by the agency. A copy of the order waiving the investigation must be sent to the nearest office of the agency by the petitioners within 7 days after the order is issued.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 127.330

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: Admin. Code § 127.450

If the foster parent of a child who is currently living with that foster parent is chosen as the adoptive parent of that child, the agency that provides child welfare services shall do the following before the child's permanent placement in that home and in addition to meeting the applicable requirements of this chapter and any other applicable laws:

  • Review the licensing records of the foster parents
  • Update the study of the prospective adoptive home
  • Request and review any reports and investigations regarding the abuse or neglect of a child by the applicant or any member of the prospective adoptive family and household who is age 18 or older and any records of criminal history of such persons
  • Determine whether the adoptive family is eligible for financial or other assistance

Links to Resources

Guide to Adoption in Nevada (Nevada Department of Health & Human Services, Division of Child & Family Services)

State regulations