Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption - New Hampshire

Date: August 2020

Who Must Be Studied

Citation: Admin. Code, HE-C 6448.16

The family assessment involves all adults and children of sufficient understanding in the household.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study

Citation: Admin. Code, HE-C 6448.16

The child-placing agency shall conduct the assessment.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents

Citation: Admin. Code, HE-C 6448.16; 6448.17

The minimum requirements for acceptance of the adoptive parent applicants shall be as follows:

  • Each adoptive parent applicant shall be at least age 18.
  • Each prospective adoptive parent shall confirm their commitment to adopt.
  • Adoptive parent applicants, whether married or single, shall have established a stable and consistent home life in that the applicant has remained in the same home with the same household members for at least 2 years with adequate support systems, such as extended family and friends in the community who are able to assist the family.
  • The applicants shall demonstrate good physical and emotional health, with a reasonable expectation that the good health will continue throughout the minority of the child.
  • Sufficient physical space and accommodations in the home shall exist for the adoptive child.
  • The applicants shall have sufficient income to support the family and the child they wish to adopt.

Preadoptive training shall be completed in its entirety during the family assessment process and prior to approving a family for adoption. Preadoptive training shall consist of at least 8 hours of training that covers the following:

  • The adoption process
  • The impact of early and prenatal trauma on child development
  • Understanding a child's behavior
  • Grief and loss
  • Developmental stages
  • The family unit from which the child entered the adoptive process
  • The impact of adoption on the family and community
  • Race and culture

Elements of a Home Study

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 170-B:18; Admin. Code HE-C 6448.16

The court shall require a background check in all adoption proceedings. The background check shall consist of a fingerprint-based criminal record check of national crime information databases and a central registry check for all prospective adoptive parents and any other adults living in the home.

In regulation: During the application process, the agency shall obtain the following:

  • A signed application
  • A signed medical statement from a licensed physician on each applicant based on an examination given within 1 year of the application
  • A financial statement that includes monthly income, monthly expenses, and assets
  • Information on the applicants' religious preferences, if any
  • A minimum of five personal references provided by persons who have known the applicants for at least 2 years, one of whom is a relative and the remaining four being unrelated to the applicant

The assessment shall include the following:

  • At least three meetings, with at least one meeting in the home
  • Individual and joint meetings, when applicable, with the couple
  • Consideration of the following factors to assess the adoptive parent applicants' compatibility with a child and any problems the adoptive parent applicants might encounter following the adoption, including the following:
    • The applicants' motivation to adopt
    • If applicable, how the applicants have dealt with issues of their infertility
    • The applicants' expectations of the child and preferred child characteristics
    • The applicants' feelings about adoption and how adoption will be explained to the child

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Code, HE-C 6448.16

The adoptive parent applicant shall not have been convicted of child abuse or neglect or any other serious crime that would affect the ability to care for children.

If a founded child abuse or neglect report is on file for any member of the adoptive parent applicant's household, staff of the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), in cooperation with staff from the child-placing agency, shall conduct a complete review of the circumstances surrounding the report. After review, if DCYF determines that the household member poses no further threat to any child, the child-placing agency shall proceed with the application process.

When Studies Must Be Completed

Citation: Admin. Rules, HE-C 6448.15; HE-C 6448.16

The family assessment shall be completed within 120 days of the date that the application and all required documents were received, unless the applicants agree in writing that the child-placing agency may extend the time allowed to complete the family assessment. The caseworker will provide written results to the applicant within 30 days after completing the family assessment.

Approved adoptive families who have waited a year for a placement shall have an annual home visit and family assessment update that includes the following:

  • Any changes to the original family assessment
  • An update of the household members' medical health
  • Updated criminal records checks for all household members
  • Updated child protective services records checks for child abuse or neglect

Postplacement Study Requirements

Citation: Admin. Rules, HE-C 6448.18

Following placement of the child, the caseworker shall do the following:

  • Contact the adoptive family, by phone or in person, within 3 weeks of placement
  • Meet in person with the adoptive family and the child(ren) at least 1 month after placement and once every 2 months until the adoption is finalized or until at least three visits have been completed
  • Conduct at least two of the required meetings in the home of the adoptive family

For foreign adoptions, the caseworker shall do the following:

  • Meet in person with the adoptive family and the child(ren) within 1 month of the placement
  • Complete at least three postplacement visits in total
  • Make additional visits with the family and the child(ren) if required by the foreign country or the child-placing agency responsible for the child

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 170-B:18; Admin. Rules, HE-C 6448.17

Effective January 1, 2021: The court may order an adoption decree without an assessment when one of the adoptee's parent will remain a parent.

In regulation: Preadoptive training shall not be required when the adoptive parent applicant is the stepparent of the child who has lived with the child for at least 6 months.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 170-A:1; Admin. Rules, He-C 6448.18

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 (ICPC).

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 caseworker shall submit postplacement supervisory reports to the DCYF ICPC office for all interstate adoption placements.

Foster to Adopt Placements

Citation: Admin. Rules, HE-C 6448.18

The following shall be required in preparation of the child for adoptive placement:

  • A child shall not be placed for adoption until all legal impediments have been removed.
  • A child may be placed in a legal risk adoption home that has been approved for preadoptive placement when the child's permanent plan is adoption but the child has not been surrendered for adoption or has not been the subject of a completed petition.
  • The child-placing agency shall formally advise preadoptive parents in writing of the nature and extent of any legal or medical risks.
  • A child shall not be placed in an adoptive home until the home has been approved by a licensed child-placing agency or the department.

Links to Resources

State regulations (see Part He-C 6448)