The Florida Adoption Home Study Requirements and Process

A home study is a critical part of the adoption process. Adoptive parents need to know what to expect.

Our Florida adoption attorney explains home study requirements as you prepare for adoption.

Florida Adoption Home Study Requirements

A home study is an investigation of the home and personal circumstances of the prospective adoptive parent or parents. The purpose of a home study is to evaluate the fitness of the family to adopt.

The Florida law for adoption home studies is found in Florida Statutes § 63.092.

When is a home study required for an adoption in Florida?

Home studies are required for all Florida adoptions that are not between family members.

Homes studies are not required for stepparent adoptions, grandparent adoptions, or other relatives except for good cause.

What does a preliminary home study have to include in Florida?

A preliminary home study includes:

  • An interview with the prospective adoptive parents
  • A check of the central abuse registry
  • Criminal records check for adoptive parents
  • Assessment of the physical environment of the home
  • Financial evaluation of the ability to provide for a child
  • Documentation of counseling and education that the prospective parents have received (requirements for counseling and education depend on whether the family is adopting from the department, see Florida Statutes § 409.175(14))
  • Information that has been provided to the intended adoptive parents
  • Information on support services provided to the adoptive parents
  • If the placement is at risk (Florida Statutes § 63.092(2)), an acknowledgment in writing of the at-risk placement and advisory
  • Signed acknowledgment of receipt of disclosure required by Florida Statutes § 63.085

See Florida Statutes § 63.092(3).

Know that parents will not be disqualified from adopting based on their financial situation alone.

Prospective adoptive parents must be able to provide for a child, but there is no minimum income threshold, and it is not the sole determining factor in approval for adoption.

What is involved in a home study for adoption?

A home study for adoption does several things:

  • Educates the prospective parents about adoption and support available to adoptive parents
  • Looks at the personal background of parents to determine fitness to adopt
  • Evaluate the suitability of the home

A home study is an evaluation of the prospective adoptive parents and their home. Someone will come to your home and take a look through it. They will ask you to provide your personal history.

In addition, there is paperwork to do, including criminal background checks. You will provide health statements, proof of income, references, and autobiographical statements. You will need identification (driver’s license or passport), your marriage certificate, and proof of citizenship or legal immigration.

When a person looks at your home, they want to see that it is safe and suitable for a child.

They’ll want to know where the child will sleep, but they will also look at the entire house, including the backyard and basement if you have them. They want to see that weapons are safely locked away and that you have working smoke detectors. Child hazards should be addressed, like electrical outlets, sharp objects, dangerous chemicals, and fall risks.

How long does a home study take for an adoption in Florida?

It usually takes 2-3 months to complete a home study for a Florida adoption. You can help the process along by compiling the needed records. The home visit usually takes between 2-4 hours.

When does a home study have to be completed in Florida?

Before a child is placed in an intended adoptive home, there must be a completed home study.

The only exception is if the adoptive home is also a licensed foster home (See Florida Statutes § 409.175). An adoptive child doesn’t have to be identified before completing a home study.

If you are considering adoption, you can go forward with a home study at any time. You don’t have to have identified a prospective adoptive child before beginning the process.

How long is a home study good for?

A Florida adoption home study is good for one year after the date it is completed.

Do you get a copy of your adoption home study?

A signed copy of a Florida adoption home study must be provided to the adoptive parents.

What happens after a home study for adoption is complete?

After a home study for adoption is complete, and the results are favorable, a minor may be placed in the home. The adoption doesn’t have to be completed first. An adoption entity must report to the court when a minor is placed in the home or within two business days after placement. Florida Statutes § 63.092(1). Then, you may petition the court to finalize the adoption.

What happens if an adoption home study is unfavorable?

If an adoption home study is unfavorable, you petition the court for a hearing about the suitability of the home. The court considers the totality of the circumstances when determining whether to approve an adoption.

Are medical conditions disqualifying in an adoption home study?

In an adoption home study, a medical report should confirm that you are in good health with a normal life expectancy. Medical conditions are not necessarily concerning – most people have some medical conditions – but a serious problem may need to be explained.

Can an adoption home study be approved if someone has a criminal record?

If someone in the home is a convicted sexual predator as defined by Florida Statutes § 775.21, the court may not approve a home study for adoption. In addition, any conviction listed in Florida Statutes § 63.089(4)(b)2, including murder, sexual battery, habitual or violent career offenses, or child abuse, will cause an automatic failure of an adoption home study.

Legal Help with an Adoption Home Study

At Gulf Coast Adoptions, we help with all aspects of the adoption process, including the home study. We can explain what’s involved and help you and your family prepare to adopt.

We invite you to discuss your journey with a team member from Gulf Coast Adoptions. Contact us online or call 850-999-7977 for your consultation.

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