If you are thinking about adopting, whether domestically or internationally, completing an adoption home study is one of the most important steps to a successful adoption. You will need to find a qualified agency or individual to complete your home study. In New York State, home studies can be done by the following:
- Private adoption agencies
- The Department of Social Services
- Licensed Master or Clinical Social Workers
- Individuals or organizations approved by local courts
Which agency or individual you have complete your home study depends on what type of adoption you are pursuing.
Family Connections, Inc. is a Hague Accredited and New York State authorized private adoption agency. In New York State, Adoption Agencies are authorized by the Office of Children and Family Services. We can complete home study investigations for prospective adoptive parents for any type of adoption, whether it is Kinship Adoption, Step-Parent Adoption, Second Parent Adoption, Foster Care Adoption, Public Domestic System Adoption, Private Domestic Agency Adoption, Private Domestic Independent Adoption or International (aka Inter-country) Adoption
The Department of Social Services only conducts home study investigations needed for public foster care adoptions. 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.
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). As of July 2014, home studies for international adoption need to be conducted by a Hague Accredited agency.
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.
Before you decide where you are going to have your home study done, it it important to find the right fit for you and your family. We encourage you to call around, research different agencies and individuals, and pick the avenue that fits best with your specific adoption goals and with whom you feel the most confident in and comfortable with. The your home study provider decision is an important one!
Family Connections, Inc. is a New York State authorized adoption agency who has achieved Hague Accreditation from the Council on Accreditation. With over twenty years’ experience in adoption, we would be honored to help you with your adoption plans. To complete a home study investigation with Family Connections, Inc., an authorized New York State Adoption Agency, please call 607-756-6574 or 1-800-535-5556 to talk with Anita or Renee. You can also request a free no-obligation consultation by clicking on the link below: