Finding an Agency to do a Home Study
Private or public
Its your choice who carries out your Home Study; you can choose the state agency that you have been assigned, or you can choose to use a private agency.Some state agencies contract with private agencies to do their home studies. Be sure you ask about this when you have your informational meeting.
There are definite pros and cons to each type of agency. One of the largest differences is money. Private agencies charge a fee for the Home Study. State agencies generally do not charge any fees, or the fees are covered under the non-recurring expenses section of adoption fees.
If you choose to use a private agency for your Home Study, be sure that the agency is approved by the state. You don’t want to pay for the Home Study, only to find out it is not going to be accepted. Your state will have a list of approved Home Study agencies.
Many private agencies have religious affiliations, and you may want an agency that has the same religious beliefs as your family. Ex: Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, Jewish Family Services. They also handle adoptions other than special needs, and you may be able to use the same Home Study if you decide to choose another type of adoption.
If you have a private agency do your Home Study, be sure to clarify who will do your follow up visits after placement. Will this be done through the agency you have chosen, or will you be assigned a new worker from the state agency?
If a Home Study is done through a state, or public, agency, it will be done through a social services office. In some states it is done at a county level, and in others it is done at a state level. In the state section of this book, you will find contact information for the state agency. They will be able to guide you to your county agency if that is the procedure for your state.
Ask for a copy of Home Study when completed
State agencies may or may not release a copy of your Home Study to you, but may allow you to read it. If this option is available to you, be sure you do it. Check your Home Study for any thing that is inaccurate, or may be viewed as questionable or objectionable, if you were viewing it to place a baby or child. Your Home Study report is the first information a worker gets about you. Essentially, you are meeting them on paper. It is your first impression, and everyone knows how important first impressions are.