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OHIO – Homestudy Process


The homestudy is usually one of the first steps prospective adoptive parents take after they have decided to adopt. The homestudy is designed to not only educate the homestudy assessor about the family but also to educate the family about adoption. The evaluation process helps create the best possible match between the family and a child. The following FAQ is designed to inform the reader of Ohio's requirements for a homestudy and includes citations to the appropriate sections of the Ohio Revised Code.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the purpose of the homestudy?

A: In order to adopt any child, whether through a domestic process or international, a homestudy is required as part of the process. The purpose of the homestudy in Ohio is to determine if the person petitioning to adopt is in fact suitable to adopt. (3107.031)

Q: How long does the homestudy process take?

A: The length of the process varies depending on whether you are going through a public or private agency. A public agency should commence a homestudy assessment within thirty days of the date of the application for child placement and, if it is being conducted for adoption of a child with special needs, should be completed within one hundred eighty days. This timeframe may vary depending on your ability to timely reply to the assessor's requests. (5101:2-48-12(C)&(D))

Q: What is the cost for a homestudy?

A: The expense of a homestudy varies by agency and by the homestudy assessor. Public entities (such as county Children Services agencies) tend to be less expensive than private entities. Also, international adoption homestudies may be more expensive than domestic ones. Generally a homestudy can range in cost from $0 to $3,000.

Q: What are the basics of the homestudy?

A: The information requested for the homestudy will vary from agency to agency. However, the basic elements that make up a homestudy are personal interviews, home visits, adoption education and preparation, submission of health records and financial statements, a personal statement, character references, educational training, a search of the statewide automated child welfare information system and criminal background checks.

Q: Does the homestudy process change depending on the number of children in the home?

A: Yes. There are additional requirements if you currently have five children in the home or if adopting will bring the number of children in your home to at least five. The assessor is tasked with evaluating your ability to meet not only the needs of the child or children to be adopted but also the children currently in your home. The assessor must also complete a multiple children assessment form. (3107.032)

Q: What documents will I need to provide during the homestudy process?

A: The assessor may have you provide or complete any number of documents. Those documents usually include: medical statements, a child characteristics checklist, a fire inspection, a safety audit, a financial statement, a local and federal criminal background check, and a water test. (5101:2-48-12)

Q: What is adoption education and preparation and why do I need it?

A: Adoption education must be completed before a homestudy can be approved. The purpose of the education is to help prepare potential adoptive parents for adoption and to ensure the child's welfare is the paramount concern. Topics covered in the training may include: the adoption process, child development, separation and loss, dealing with behavioral challenges, cultural issues, and adoption related issues. This requirement may be waived if the assessor determines that the family has already received training or already has the skills necessary to care for the child. (5101:2-48-09(O) & (P))

Q: Who should I ask to be a personal reference?

A: Each applicant will be asked to provide four personal reference statements, of which, three must be a non-relative. A personal reference should be a person who knows you well enough and long enough to make an informed statement about your personal character and fitness for adoption. (5101:2-48-12(X)(4))

Q: Must a background check be performed? Who is subject to a background check?

A: Yes. A bureau of identification and investigation (BCII) and sometimes a federal bureau of investigation (FBI) criminal background check as well as a statewide automated child welfare information system check is required as part of the process. It is usually preformed on the adoptive applicants and any adult living in the household.

Q: What is the homestudy information used for?

A: The information from the homestudy is compiled into a Homestudy Report. This report consists of all the information from the interviews, home visits, education/preparation, health records, financial statements, references, background checks, as well observations inserted by the adoption assessor. This report is then used to aid in matching the family with a child. You should receive a copy of this report although some information may be omitted to protect the privacy of some of the individuals interviewed.

Q: Will I need to update or amend my homestudy report?

A: Yes. The homestudy report needs to be updated every two years. You must notify the assessor to have the homestudy report amended if there is a change to any of the following: marital status, health status, adoption finalization, number of children in the home, death of an applicant, a criminal charge or conviction of an applicant or other adult household member, a new adult enters the home, address, or financial status/income. (5101:2-48-12.1)

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