Are you thinking about adopting a child?
Have you been told you need to complete a home study investigation?
If you are a resident of New York State you will need to have your home study completed by one of the following:
- An Authorized Private Adoption Agency (aka voluntary agency)
- Public Departments of Social Services
- Private Licensed Master or Clinical Social Workers
- Or individuals or organizations approved by a local court to conduct home study investigations.
Here how these agencies work:
- Authorized private Adoption Agencies (e.g. Family Connections, Inc.) can complete home study investigations for prospective adoptive parents involved in any type of adoption.
- The Department of Social Services only conducts home study investigations needed for public foster care adoptions.
- Licensed social workers and individuals or organizations approved by a local court can only perform home study investigations for prospective adoptive parents who can become pre-qualified as adoptive parents by their county’s family court (e.g. private domestic independent adoption, kinship adoption).
**It is important to note that as of July 2014, home studies for international adoption need to be conducted by a Hague Accredited agency.
In New York State, Adoption Agencies are authorized by the Office of Children and Family Services. Family Connections, Inc. has been an authorized adoption agency in New York State since 1994. Family Connections also has achieved Hague Accreditation through the Council on Accreditation (COA) in relation to International Adoption. Family Connections and other authorized adoption agencies can conduct home study investigations and approve individuals as adoptive parents for ALL types of adoptions, including:
- Kinship Adoption
- Step-Parent Adoption
- Second Parent Adoption
- Foster Care Adoption
- Public Domestic System Adoption
- Private Domestic Agency Adoption
- Private Domestic Independent Adoption
- International (Inter-Country) Adoption
Every county in New York State has a Department of Social Services. Caseworkers in the county’s Department of Social Services where the prospective adoptive parents live can complete home study investigations for families wishing to adopt from the United States public adoption system including foster care adoption or public domestic system adoption.
Social Workers in New York State are licensed by the State University of New York, the Department of the Professions as either Licensed Master Social Workers (LMSW) or Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW). Licensed social workers may conduct home study investigations for kinship, step-parent, second parent, and private domestic independent adoptions. Please understand that private licensed social workers are not able to approve individuals as adoptive parents; they can only recommend families for approval by the Court. Private licensed social workers are unable to obtain the child abuse history reports and criminal history reports needed to approve individuals as adoptive parents. Private social workers do not have legal authority to approve an applicant as an adoptive family. Thus, if prospective adoptive parents choose to use a private licensed social worker, they will be required to petition their county’s Family Court to become pre-qualified (approved; aka pre-certified) as adoptive parents.
Individuals or Organizations Approved by a Local Court may conduct home study investigations at the request/order of the court. If ordered by the court, the approved individual or organization may conduct home study investigations for kinship, step-parent, second parent, and private domestic independent adoptions. These individuals or organizations do not have legal authority to approve an applicant as an adoptive family. Thus, prospective adoptive parents will be required to petition their county’s Family Court to become pre-qualified (approved; aka pre-certified) as adoptive parents.
With over twenty years of experience in adoption, we would be honored to help you with your adoption plans. If you are interested in home study services, international adoption or domestic adoption, please call 607-756-6574 to talk with our staff. You can also request a free no-obligation consultation to explore your adoption options click on the link below.