Home study provider shaking hands with a hopeful adoptive coupleIf you plan to adopt a child in Florida, you’ll need to complete the home study process to be approved to adopt. A home study aims to ensure that you’re emotionally, physically, and financially prepared to adopt and raise a child.
The courts will use your home study to assess if you have a stable environment to receive an adoption placement. In addition to gathering information about a couple and evaluating their readiness, part of the adoption home study process is to educate and prepare hopeful adoptive parents.

What Does a Home Study Involve?

Your home study is a legal document that confirms your ability to parent and adopt a child. A licensed social worker completes it. Every home study must address certain components, including background checks, medical reports, employment verification, references, financial verification, and a home visit.
It also includes background information, such as your family and marital relationships, motivation to adopt, parenting style, growing up, education, and more. Preparing and being interviewed for your home study can feel very personal, and it should. After all, the writer is responsible for recommending adoption to a court of law and placing a child in your home for adoption.
While part of the home study involves a social worker coming to your house, you don’t need to bake cookies to make the house smell good or dust every nook and cranny. They just want to see that they would be allowing a child to come into a safe space and that you are who you say you are.

Adoption Education

There is also an educational component to the home study. In Florida, you will need to complete 21 hours of training on subjects that include parenting skills, first aid skills, safety, the legal issues with adoption, and other subjects that pertain to adopting children.
It is good to choose subjects that correspond to your adoption preferences. For example, if you are open to adopting a child who was drug-exposed during pregnancy or your racial preferences include options for an inter-racial adoption, you might choose subjects that address those scenarios.
Lifetime provides you with one-on-one training and a membership website with exclusive webinars designed to educate you on all aspects of the adoption process. The Florida Department of Children and Families has approved our adoption webinars as part of Lifetime’s home study curriculum for adoptive parents. Your social worker can also provide you with course recommendations once they get to know you and your adoption preferences and interests.

Home Visit

Your home visit is something most hopeful adoptive parents worry about, but it is not something to fear. It is always scheduled in advance and actually focuses more on the other parts of the home study than your actual home.
Of course, you want your home to be presentable, but we want you to be real. You don’t need to panic over perfection. We want to see how you actually live and ensure that it is a safe environment with ample space to grow your family.
During that visit, your social worker will conduct interviews with you, your spouse, and anyone else living in your home. Your social worker will also provide education about the entire adoption process.
It is an excellent opportunity for you to ask questions and get to know your home study provider. While your social worker is there to assess and evaluate, they can also provide guidance and support throughout the adoption process. Our goal is to seamlessly make the process both educational and enjoyable.

After Placement Visits

After you bring your adopted child home, your Florida home study provider will return within one week for the first post-placement visit. Then, the visits continue monthly until your adoption finalization.
Your social worker will conduct post-placement visits to check the child’s health and development and ensure everyone is adjusting well. She can answer any questions and provide you with resources or support should you need it.
A written report with your social worker’s recommendation of adoption is then provided to the adoption attorney to include when submitting the adoption petition paperwork to a judge for review, and ultimately finalizing your adoption!

Questions to Ask Home Study Providers

Choosing the right adoption professional for your home study will improve your journey. It’s important to know the right questions to ask when making your decision.
If you know someone in your state who adopted, you can ask them who they used, because typically an agency will work throughout the state. You can also do a quick Google search for home study agencies in your area or ask around in social media groups.
Once you have a shortlist, make calls and ask these questions to determine the best fit for you. Trust your instincts when making the final decision. You can find the best home study provider in Florida for your family by asking these questions:

  1. Are you licensed?
  2. Are you familiar with the interstate compact and if yes, how many of your families travel out of state?
  3. What are the total fees?
  4. Do your fees include post-placement visits?
  5. What is your process?
  6. What is your typical timeframe?
  7. Do you provide adoption education?
  8. Is there an additional cost for adoption education?

Asking these questions will help you vet an agency. It will also help you get a better understanding of whether they are the right fit for you.

Lifetime Adoption Home Study Provider in Florida

If you’re searching for a home study provider in Florida, look no further. The experienced adoption professionals at Lifetime are here to help you complete this vital step in the adoption process!
The State of Florida has licensed Lifetime Adoption, Inc. to complete home studies for the purpose of adoption within all counties of the state. It is the first step and the most vital component of the adoption process. We are a full-service agency, meaning we are a licensed child-placing agency. So, our services range from helping birth mothers with their adoption plans and helping you find your child to completing your home study and post-placement services.

Lifetime’s Florida Home Study Services include:

  • Private Adoption Home Studies
  • Relative Home Studies
  • Non-Relative Home Studies
  • Intervention Home Studies
  • Out of State Transfer Home Study Updates
  • Immediate/Emergency Home Studies
  • Post-Adoption Service Reports
  • Home Study Updates

We are happy to answer any questions you have about using Lifetime Adoption as your home study provider in Florida. If you have questions or would like to employ our home study services, please call Lifetime Adoption Agency at 727-493-0933 or complete the form below. We look forward to serving you!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on March 4, 2014, and has since been updated. 

Linda Rotz

Written by Linda Rotz

Linda Rotz, CWCM-S, CWCM-Trainer, ACC, is the Director of Adoption Services at Lifetime. Linda has worked in the field of adoption for 20 years within the child welfare/foster care system in Florida. She has degrees in Mass Communications and Human Development, and completed graduate studies in social work.

Due to her extensive expertise, Linda was called upon to write adoption procedures and training materials in Florida. She is certified as an Adoption Specialist, Child Welfare Case Manager Supervisor and Child Welfare Trainer in the state of Florida.