Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption - Texas

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Who Must Be Studied

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 40, § 745.9057

The applicants, their families, and any persons, including children, residing in the applicants' home shall be included in the study.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study

Citation: Fam. Code §§ 107.152; 107.153; 107.154

The court may appoint the Department of Family and Protective Services to conduct the adoption evaluation only if the department is the managing conservator of the child who is the subject of the adoption petition. Otherwise, the court may appoint a qualified individual, a qualified private entity, or a domestic relations office to conduct the adoption evaluation.

To be qualified to conduct an adoption evaluation, a person must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a degree from an accredited college or university in a human services field of study and a license to practice in this State as a social worker, professional counselor, marriage and family therapist, or psychologist and have either of the following qualifications:
    • Have 1 year of full-time experience working at a child-placing agency conducting child-placing activities
    • Be practicing under the direct supervision of a person qualified to conduct adoption evaluations
  • Be employed by a domestic relations office, provided that the person conducts adoption evaluations relating only to families ordered to participate in adoption evaluations conducted by the domestic relations office
  • Be qualified as a child custody evaluator under § 107.104

In addition to the other qualifications prescribed above, an individual must complete at least 8 hours of family violence dynamics training provided by a family violence service provider to be qualified to conduct an adoption evaluation under this subchapter.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 40, § 745.9057

All adoptive applicants must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be age 21 or older
  • Be financially able to provide for their family and the adoptee
  • Be healthy enough to assume parenting responsibilities
  • Be able to accept and parent an adopted child
  • Be willing to respect and encourage the adoptee's religious affiliation, if any

Elements of a Home Study

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 40, §§ 735.307; 735.311; 735.313; 735.325

The preplacement evaluation must include at least the following:

  • Individual interviews with each adoptive parent, each child age 4 or older who is living in the home, and any other person who is living in the home
  • Joint interviews with the adoptive parents and family members who are living in the home
  • Interviews with the following individuals:
    • Every adult child or minor child age 12 or older of each adoptive parent not living in the home
    • A family member not living in the home
    • Neighbors, school personnel, clergy, or any community member unrelated to the adoptive parents

The evaluator must visit the home at least once. All members of the household must be present for the visit.

The evaluator must determine the following concerning the adoptive home:

  • Whether there any potential safety or health issues
  • Whether the home is clean, safe, and free of obvious fire and other hazards
  • Whether the home is equipped with smoke detectors
  • Whether the home has sufficient space to accommodate the members of the household and the adoptive child

The report must contain the following:

  • Results of State and Federal criminal background checks and central registry check and an assessment of whether the results should bar placement of the child with the adoptive parents
  • Assessments of the adoptive parents and their family's interaction with each other and the relationship between the child and each adoptive parent, if a relationship currently exists
  • An assessment of the child's physical, intellectual, social, and psychological functioning
  • An assessment of basic care and safety issues, including the safety of the physical environment of the adoptive home
  • An assessment of the adoptive parents' individual strengths and weaknesses
  • Conclusions and recommendations to the court as to whether the adoptive parents' home will meet the child's needs

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 40, §§ 745.661; 745.669; 745.671

Approval may be denied if the person has committed any of the misdemeanor or felony offenses listed on the chart Foster or Adoptive Homes: Criminal History Requirements, including the following:

  • Offenses against the person or family, including the following:
    • Murder or manslaughter
    • Trafficking of persons
    • Severe sexual abuse of a minor
    • Family violence
    • Unregulated custody transfer of an adopted child
  • Indecency with a child
  • Stalking
  • Criminal solicitation of a minor
  • Any offense committed in the past 5 years, including the following:
    • Those under the Texas Controlled Substances Act
    • Intoxication and alcoholic beverage offenses
  • Any other felony under the Texas Penal Code or similar offense under the law of another State or Federal law committed within the past 10 years
  • Deferred adjudications covering an offense listed above if the person has not completed probation successfully

An applicant will not be approved if he or she is required to register as a sex offender in Texas or any other State or territory.

Approval also may be denied if a check of the child abuse central registry reveals that the person has any sustained finding of child sexual abuse, labor trafficking, sex trafficking, physical abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, neglectful supervision, or medical neglect.

When Studies Must Be Completed

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 40, §§ 735.301; 735.319

The preplacement portion of an adoption evaluation is usually conducted before the child begins living in the home of the adoptive parents. If the child that does not begin living with the adoptive parents within 6 months after the completion of the preplacement evaluation, the evaluation must be updated within 30 days before the child begins living in the home.

Postplacement Study Requirements

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 40 §§ 735.401; 735.403; 735.405; 735.409; 735.411

The evaluator must conduct interviews for the postplacement evaluation after the child has resided in the adoptive parents' home for at least 5 months, unless otherwise directed by the court. The interviews must include at least one of the following:

  • An individual interview with each adoptive parent; each child age 4 or older living full- or part-time in the home, including the child placed for adoption; or any other person living full- or part-time in the home
  • A joint interview with the adoptive parents
  • A family group interview with family members living in the home

Each interview must focus on the adjustment of the family and the adoptive child. In addition, the evaluator must visit the home at least once. All members of the household, including the child, must be present for at least one home visit.

The postplacement evaluation report must contain the following:

Any previously incomplete report regarding the adoptive parents and the child that was required for the preplacement evaluation, including any updates relating to the following:

  • The child's current physical, mental, and emotional status, including any special needs
  • The child's legal status
  • Any new information regarding the adoptive parents
  • A summary of the adjustment of the adoptive parents, other family members, other persons living in the home, and the child during the last 5 to 6 months
  • An assessment of how the adoptive parents have responded to any special needs of the child
  • An updated assessment of basic care and safety issues, including the physical safety of the environment of the adoptive home and how the child has responded to living in the adoptive home
  • An updated assessment of the adoptive parents' individual strengths and weaknesses
  • Conclusions and recommendations to the court as to whether the adoption should be finalized

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements

Citation: Fam. Code § 162.102

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

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Links to Resources

State regulations, title 40, chapter 735

State regulations, title 40, § 745.9057(a)

State regulations, title 40, § 745.671(a)