Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption - Pennsylvania

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Who Must Be Studied

Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 6344

The study investigation shall include the prospective adoptive parents and any individual over age 18 residing in the home.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study

Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 2530

The home study shall be conducted by a local public child care agency, an adoption agency, or a licensed social worker designated by the court to perform such study. A preplacement report shall be prepared by the agency or person conducting the home study.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents

Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 2312

Any individual may become an adopting parent.

Elements of a Home Study

Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, §§ 2530; 6344

The preplacement report shall set forth all pertinent information relating to the fitness of the adoptive parents as parents. The report shall be based upon a study of the home environment; family life; parenting skills; age; physical and mental health; social, cultural, and religious background; facilities and resources of the adoptive parents; and their ability to manage their resources.

In the course of an investigation, the prospective adoptive parents and any individual older than age 18 residing in the home must submit the following information:

  • A report of criminal history record information from the State police
  • A certification from the department as to whether the applicant is named in the central register as the perpetrator of a founded or indicated report of child abuse
  • A fingerprint-based check of Federal criminal history record information

If a prospective adoptive parent or any individual over age 18 years has resided outside the State at any time within the previous 5 years, the person must submit a certification as to whether the person is named as a perpetrator of child abuse obtained within the past year from the Statewide central registry in each State in which the person has resided within the previous 5-year period.

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 6344

A prospective adoptive parent may not be approved if any of the following apply to the prospective adoptive parent or an individual age 14 or older who resides for at least 30 days in a calendar year with the prospective adoptive parent:

  • The person is named in the central register as the perpetrator of a founded report of child abuse committed within the 5-year period immediately preceding verification or is named in the central register as the perpetrator of a founded report for a school employee committed within the 5-year period immediately preceding verification.
  • The person has been found guilty at any time of an offense listed in § 6344(c)(2), including criminal homicide, aggravated assault, kidnapping, rape, sexual assault, incest, endangering the welfare of children, prostitution, or sexual abuse of children.
  • The person has been found guilty of a drug-related offense within the past 5 years.

When Studies Must Be Completed

Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, §§ 2530; 2531

Before a child may be placed with a prospective adoptive parent, a home study containing a favorable recommendation must have been completed within 3 years and been supplemented within 1 year prior to placement.

The preplacement report must be included with a report of intention to adopt that must be filed with the court.

Postplacement Study Requirements

Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, §§ 2533; 2535

Within 6 months after filing the report of intention to adopt, the intermediary that arranged the adoption placement of the child shall make a written report to the court in which the petition for adoption will be filed. The report shall include the following:

  • The name and address of the intermediary
  • The name, sex, racial background, age, date and place of birth, and religious affiliation of the child
  • The date of the placement of the child with the adoptive parents
  • A statement that medical history information was obtained and, if not obtained, a statement of the reason

When a report of intention to adopt has been filed, the court shall order an investigation to be made and a report filed by a local public child care agency, a voluntary child care agency, or an appropriate person designated by the court. In lieu of the investigation, the court may accept an investigation made by the agency that placed the child, and the report of investigation in such cases may be incorporated into the report of the intermediary.

The investigation shall cover all pertinent information regarding the child's eligibility for adoption and the suitability of the placement, including the physical, mental, and emotional needs and welfare of the child and the child's and adoptive parents' age; sex; health; and racial, ethnic, and religious background.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 2531

The report of intention to adopt shall not be required when the child is the child, grandchild, stepchild, brother or sister of the whole or half blood, or niece or nephew by blood, marriage, or adoption of the person receiving or retaining custody or physical care.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 62, § 761

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: Ann. Stat. Tit. 11, § 2624

A resource family parent or parents shall be given an interview with the appropriate county or private agency when all of the following occur:

  • The county or private agency that placed the child with that resource family has changed the child's goal from foster care to adoption.
  • The resource family parent is interested in becoming an adoptive resource for that child.
  • The child has resided with that resource family for 6 months or more.

In addition to information obtained from interviews of other prospective adoptive families, the interviewing agency shall convey information obtained from the interview with the resource family parent to the county agency responsible for making the determination as to adoptive placement of the child. When more than one adoptive resource is available for the placement of a child, the county agency shall document its reasons for placing the child with the selected adoptive parents in the child's case record.

No resource parent who meets the conditions set forth above shall be denied consideration as an adoptive parent solely because of the inability to access that individual as a resource family parent in the future.

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