Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption - Oregon

Date: August 2020

Who Must Be Studied

Citation: Admin. Rules § 413-120-0450

The adoptive applicant and other persons in the household who are age 18 and older will be included in the investigation and study.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 109.304

The home study and placement report are completed by the Department of Human Services, a licensed adoption agency, or other public agency.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents

Citation: Admin. Rules §§ 413-120-0220; 413-120-0246

The adoptive applicant must be at least age 21 unless one of the following applies:

  • The child welfare program manager or a designee has approved a relative adoptive applicant between age 18 through 20
  • The child is an Indian child, and the adoptive applicant is a member of the child's extended family, another member of the Indian child's Tribe, or another Indian family

To be approved to adopt a child in the legal custody of the department, an individual must complete the following:

  • Have an adoption home study recommending the applicant as a potential adoptive resource
  • Meet the department's standards for adoptive homes by demonstrating the knowledge, skills, and ability to meet, without agency oversight, the current and lifelong needs of the child for all the following:
    • Physical and emotional safety and well-being
    • Developing and maintaining connections to the child's family
    • Continuity and familiarity
    • Appropriate social, educational, developmental, emotional, and physical support
    • Integration into the family
    • Stability and permanency
    • Maintaining his or her identity, cultural, religious, and spiritual heritage
  • Provide evidence of successful completion of a training program approved by the department unless the adoption program manager has approved an alternate training program

Elements of a Home Study

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 109.309; Admin. Rules § 413-200-0314

In a proceeding for the adoption of a minor child, a current home study must be approved by either the department or a licensed adoption agency for the purpose of demonstrating that the petitioner meets the minimum standards for adoptive homes as set forth in the department's administrative rules.

In regulation: To become a certified adoptive resource, the applicant must do the following:

  • Allow the department to conduct an in-home safety assessment of the applicant's home
  • Allow the department to have face-to-face contact with all members of the applicant's household
  • Provide personal, family, and social history information
  • Provide information about any current or previous licenses, certifications, or applications for relative care, foster care, child care, or adoption
  • Allow the department, at its discretion, to gather information regarding the criminal offender information records of any child not in the care or custody of the department who lives in the household if there is reason to believe that child may pose a risk to children placed in the home

In addition, the applicant and each adult member of the applicant's household must have face-to-face contact with a department certifier and must provide the following:

  • Information regarding criminal involvement, including arrests and convictions regarding any member of the household
  • Information regarding any previous allegations of child abuse and neglect
  • Consent to criminal records and child abuse and neglect background checks

Upon request, the applicant must authorize the department to contact and obtain information from an individual or organization in order to complete a thorough background check of the applicant and, if applicable, authorize the department to disclose that information as necessary during the certification process.

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Rules §§ 413-120-0225; 413-120-0450

The department may deny an application at any time when one or more of the following applies:

  • Information regarding the applicant is sufficient to determine the applicant cannot meet adoption home standards.
  • An applicant's license or certificate to provide services to children, the elderly, or individuals with disabilities has previously been or is currently being denied, revoked, or suspended.
  • The applicant falsifies or omits information.
  • The applicant does not respond to requests for information within the timelines established by the department.
  • The applicant does not submit the required application information.

A conviction for any crime or a false statement about a conviction for any crime may disqualify an applicant from being approved as an adoptive parent.

The department may not approve an adoption application, and no exception may be granted, if the applicant has been convicted in Oregon or any other jurisdiction of a felony that involves the following:

  • Violence, including rape, sexual assault, and homicide, but not including other physical assault or battery
  • Intentional starvation or torture
  • Abuse or neglect of a child
  • Spousal abuse
  • Aiding, abetting, attempting, soliciting, or conspiring to cause the death of a child
  • Sodomy or sexual abuse
  • A child as the victim, including child pornography
  • Other crimes listed in regulation, including the following:
    • Murder or manslaughter
    • Felony assault if the victim is a child or spouse
    • Kidnapping
    • Rape, incest, sodomy, or sexual abuse
    • Child neglect or abandonment
    • Criminal nonsupport
    • Burglary or robbery if the crime involves violence

The department may not approve an adoption application, and no exception may be granted, if the applicant has been convicted of a felony within the preceding 5 years that involves physical assault or battery or a drug-related offense.

When Studies Must Be Completed

Citation: Admin. Rules § 413-120-0246

The adoption home study recommending the applicant as a potential adoptive resource must have been written, amended, or updated within the 12 months prior to the adoption placement selection.

Postplacement Study Requirements

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 109.304; Admin. Rules § 413-120-0860

A placement report is a written report created after the petition for adoption has been filed that includes the department's or the agency's recommendation to the court concerning whether the court should grant the petition for adoption based upon the department's or the agency's evaluation of the following:

  • The status and adjustment of the child
  • The status and adjustment of the child's prospective adoptive parent

In regulation: Postplacement supervision must include the following:

  • Monthly face-to-face contact with the child
  • Assessment of the child's safety and well-being
  • Providing services and support to assist the adoptive parent in meeting the requirements described in regulation
  • Providing support to the adoptive parent in the process of the completion and submission of the adoption assistance application, when applicable
  • Documentation from the supervising worker that includes the supervision reports and a recommendation regarding finalization of the adoption

When it becomes known to the department that there are significant changes to the adoptive parent's situation, including changes in the family structure, the department may require an updated adoption home study prior to making a determination to proceed with finalization of the adoption.

The standard supervision period for an adoptive placement is a minimum of 6 consecutive months and can include the time the adoptive parent was the child's substitute caregiver. When the child's caseworker and the adoption worker agree that it is in the child's best interests to proceed with finalization before the standard 6-month period, the child's caseworker or adoption worker must request approval from their supervisor and the adoption program manager.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 109.309

The department, upon request by the petitioner, may waive the home study requirement in an adoption proceeding in which one of the child's biological parents or adoptive parents retains parental rights or when a relative who qualifies under the department's administrative rules for a waiver of the home study requirement is the prospective adoptive parent.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 417.200

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. Rules § 413-120-0541

A foster parent may request consideration as a current caregiver for a child in the legal custody of the department when the requirements of all the following sections are met:

  • Adoption is the child's identified permanency or concurrent permanency plan, and the department determines it is in the best interests of the child to proceed with identifying potential adoptive resources.
  • The child has been in the physical custody of the foster parent for the most recent 12 consecutive months.
  • The foster parent is willing to be considered as the adoptive resource for the child's siblings currently in substitute care who also have adoption as an identified permanency or concurrent permanency plan.
  • The caseworker and the caseworker's supervisor have complied with the requirements of both of the following:
    • Reviewed the department's diligent efforts to identify, contact, and place a child with relatives and to place siblings together
    • Have confirmed there are no pending department actions regarding the following:
      • Identifying a child's relatives or a sibling's current guardian, relative, current caregiver, or adoptive resource with whom the sibling is currently living
      • Assessing a relative who has expressed an interest in caring for the child and needs to be or is currently being assessed as a permanency resource

Links to Resources

State regulations (select chapter 413, division 120)