Want to know what to expect from your Foster Care Home Study? Get all the details plus lots of useful Tips for Foster Parents.
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The home study is probably the most anxiety inducing part of becoming a foster parent. It will help if you know what to expect and how to be prepared for the home study.
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Do I have to have a home study to be a foster parent?
Every foster parent must have a home study completed before the first foster child placement. The home study must be prepared by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and will be presented to the court in a hearing regarding the placement or adoption of a child.
What is a home study?
A home study is a written record of your life that typically includes your personal background, family history, health and financial information, and parenting plan. It will include:
- one or more home visits and interviews from a social worker,
- a physical examination from a healthcare provider,
- collection of written reference letters from your friends and family, and
- a criminal background check.
What is a foster care home study like?
For many parents, the home study portion of becoming a foster parent is quite awkward. The questions asked seem intrusive. However, it is important to make sure that children are placed with loving families who are capable of taking care of them.
How do I prepare for a foster care home study?
Preparing for a home study can be overwhelming, but there are some basic things you can do to make the process easier. These are some preparation steps along with helpful posts and printables:
- Discuss the Home Study with Your Spouse and complete a Pre Home Study Worksheet to make sure you are both on the same page with your goals.
- Begin gathering documents for your home study using this free Home Study Checklist.
- Talk to your friends and family about writing reference letters for your home study.
- Make sure your home is ready for the safety inspection. Use this home safety checklist to help you. Heads up: many agencies will do monthly home safety checks.
- Prepare yourself for the interview. Learn more about the foster care home study questions here and sign up for the FREE Home Study Autobiography Boot Camp below.
- Set up your foster care bedroom space and make sure you meet the requirements. Use this article to guide you.
How much does the foster care home study cost?
The foster care home study is free to potential foster parents. The foster care agency, whether a state agency or a third party agency, will cover the costs of the home study itself and any finger printing and background check required by the state.
What do social workers look for in a home study?
It is the job of the social worker writing the home study to make sure they know you well enough to determine that you would be a good foster parent. They are looking for several things:
- Your understanding of the foster care process
- You are able to provide a safe and nurturing environment for a child
- Your home provides safe and reasonable accommodations for a child
- You possess adequate financial resources to care for the child
- There is nothing in your background history or that of any household member that is a current concern or disqualifies you from providing care
- Whether you need additional support or assistance
How do you fail a home study?
A parent will fail the home study if they do not meet the above criteria for home study approval. Get more detailed information on qualifications for foster parents here.
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