Regardless of the type of adoption (private agency, public agency, or intercountry), nearly all families must complete a home study process before adopting a child. There are a few exceptions. For example, stepparents adopting their spouses' children may not need a home study. The primary purpose of a home study is to ensure that each child is placed with a family that can best meet his or her needs. The home study process can help educate prospective adoptive parents about the type of adoption they are pursuing so they can make informed decisions that are best for their family.
This section contains resources about the home study process for different types of adoptions.
- Relative/kinship adoption
- Public agency adoption (foster care)
- Intercountry adoption
- State and local examples
Adoption Homestudy Requirements by State
Adoption Network Law Center (2016)
Explains the home study requirements designed to ensure that a potential adoptive or foster parent is mentally sound, financially stable, healthy and prepared. This resource outlines rules and exceptions to home study requirements for relative adoptions according to specific State laws.
Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption
Casey Foster Family Assessments
Casey Family Programs
Provides free tools for workers and families to help with the foster family assessment process.
Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents
FAQ: Conducting Home Studies for American Citizens Residing Abroad in Incoming/Immigrating Convention Cases
U.S. Department of State
Supplies information on completing home studies for families who live abroad and wish to effect an intercountry adoption.
U.S. Department of State
Outlines the requirements for home studies for Hague Convention and non-Hague Convention countries.
Intercountry Adoption: What Do I Need to Know?
Foster Care Children Licensing Standards (PDF - 361 KB)
North Dakota Department of Human Services (2014)
Provides guidance to child welfare professionals on the development and implementation of home study requirements for prospective foster parents.
State Legislation to Expedite and Streamline the Adoption Process 2008–2013
National Conference of State Legislatures
Offers a chart of State legislation to expedite and streamline the adoption process.
Virginia’s Adoption Home Study Process (PDF - 735 KB)
Commonwealth of Virginia Commission on Youth
Describes the findings of a State-mandated study of the adoption home study process. This resource includes recommendations for future legislation.