How to Gather Foster Care Home Study Reference Letters
Do you need to gather reference letters for your foster care home study? Use these steps and free printable to gather the foster care home study reference letters you will need quickly and efficiently.
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Every home study for foster care or adoption will require reference letters. Different states and agencies will have varying requirements on how many letters are needed and who those reference letters can be from. Use the steps below to gather your letters efficiently.
Steps to Gather Foster Care Home Study Reference Letters
List Potential Referrals
Make a list of people you know who would write a reference letter for you. This list obviously needs to include people who would be supportive of you being a foster or adoptive parent. The people on the list should also be able to produce a well written letter. Remember, this person is representing you in the eyes of the social worker who is completing your home study.
This needs to be a person who has known you for a reasonable period of time. Some agencies will require that one or all letters be from someone who has known you for several years.
Give a Heads Up
As a courtesy, you should call ahead to the people you will be requesting letters from. Ask them a few questions:
- Do you mind writing a referral letter for me?
- Do you have the time to do it? (Remind them of the due date of the letter)
- Verify how long you have known each other.
- Verify how you met.
- Verify the mailing address.
Sometimes the worker conducting the home study will require that all referral letters and requests be transmitted by mail between the worker and the person writing the referral letter.
Provide Sample Questions for Reference Letters
Sometimes people struggle with writing reference letters because they don’t know what to say. Include the free printable reference letter worksheet from my foster care printable pack in your initial letter to a referral source to get them thinking about what a reference letter should include. Some common items to include in a reference letter are
- How the person knows you.
- How long they have known you.
- Do they have children? Foster or adopted children?
- Why they believe you would make a good foster or adoptive parent.
It is always good to give references a heads up if the agency mails out the letters themselves. Give them a notice and remind them of the due date of the letter.
Follow Up Thank You Note
Once the worker writing your home study confirms that a reference letter has been received (you may have to ask them to let you know), it is a good idea to send a thank you note to follow up. Thank the person who wrote the referral for being a part of the process of growing your family and opening your home. Include a picture of your family if you have done a foster care or adoption announcement.
You might also consider including a small token thank you gift, like a gift card for a cup of coffee.
Invite Them to Your Announcement Party
We never did an official announcement or had an announcement party when we decided to adopt, but many people do. I have even seen families hosting foster home opening parties when their applications were approved.