The agency you select to prepare the Home Study will be primarily concerned about complying with requirements from both the Code of Virginia and regulations issued by the state Department of Social Services.
It should be noted that the Home Study may come in two parts. In the search phase, the Home Study will address only the adoptive family and whether the agency finds them suitable to adopt. At the state of preparing for the Consent Hearing, the agency will conduct a joint interview with the adoptive parents and the birth parents and will address issues concerning all parties, as well as certain other specific requirements for the court appearance itself.
The social worker will make a home inspection, but this is nothing to worry about. The worker will call first and make an appointment. All that is necessary is that the home be safe and appropriate. It is not necessary that the adoptive parents have attained any particular standard of living.
Generally, the statory requirements for the Home Study are to investgate and report on the following matters:
1. Are the Petitioners financially able to provide for the child?
2. Are the Petitioners morally suitable to care for and to train the child?
3. Are the Petitioners in satisfactory physical and mental health to care for the child?
4. What is the physical and mental condition of the child?
5. Why do the birth parents, if living, desire to be relieved of the responsibility for the custody, care and maintenance of the child?
6. What is the attitude of the bith parents toward the proposed adoption?
7. Have the birth parents abandoned the child?
8. Are the birth parents morally unfit to have custody of the child?
9. What are the circumstances under which the child came to live, and is living in the home of the petitioners?
10. Is the child suitable for adoption by the petitioners?
11. What fees have been paid by the petitioners or on their behalf to persons or agencies that have assisted them in obtaining the child?
12. What action does the agency recommend with respect to the petition?
13. Are the birth parents aware of alternatives to adoption, adoption procedures, and opportunities for placement with other adoptive families?
14. Is the consent of the birth parents informed and uncoerced?
15. Has a licensed child placing agency counseled the prospective adoptive parents with regard to alternatives to adoption and adoption procedures, including the need to address the parental rights of birth parents, the procedures for terminating such rights and opportunities for adoption of other chldren?
16. Is the decision of the prospective adoptive parents informed and uncoerced?
17. Do the prospective adoptive parents intend to file an adoption Petition and proceed to a Final Order of Adoption?
18. Have the birth parents and the adoptive parents exchanged identifying information including but not limited to full names, addresses, physical, mental, social and psychological information and any other information necessary to promote the welfare of the chld?
19. What financial agreements or exchanges of property have there been between the parties, and what fees have been charged or paid for services related to the placement of adoption of the child?
20. Do the parties understand that no binding contract exists regarding placement of adoption of the child?
21. Has there been a violationof the statute prohibiting payments in connection with an adoption other than those listed?
22.Has a licensed child placing agency conducted a Home Inspection of the home of the prospective adoptive parents and found it suitable in accordance with regulations established by the Board of Social Services?
23. Have the birth parents been informed of their opportunity to be represented by legal counsel?
In addition to this, the Petitioners will be required to view materials concerning shaken baby syndrome and will be asked to sign a pledge not to use corporal punishment.