Prospective adoptive parents in Pennsylvania must submit to a home study as part of the adoption process.
The Child Welfare Information Gateway explains that this study assesses the qualifications and background of the hopeful parents and certain other individuals who may live in the home.
What are the basic study requirements?
Individuals who wish to adopt a child must submit to the court a report of intention to adopt, accompanied by a preplacement report that reflects a favorable home study. This study may not be older than three years prior to placement of a child, and the parties must submit a supplement dated within the year preceding the placement. A local public child care agency, an adoption agency or a licensed social worker will conduct the study and write the preplacement report.
What does a home study cover?
A home study focuses on evidence of the prospective adoptive parents’ suitability to be parents. This study looks at several factors, including the parents’ age and health, available resources, family life and home environment. It also takes into account religious, cultural and social considerations.
The prospective parents and all adults over 18 years old in the home must provide a state criminal history report, child abuse certification and fingerprint-based federal criminal background check. They must also submit a child abuse certification for all states in which they lived for the five years prior to the adoption.
What background factors may bar parents from adopting?
Several conditions that appear in a background check may prevent a parent from adopting a child. Disqualifying events may include certain instances of child abuse, violent crimes and drug-related offenses committed by a prospective parent or by anyone 14 years or older who lives in the home for at least 30 days each year.