NY STATE HOME STUDIES
DOMESTIC HOME STUDIES
Home studies are required for all pre-adoptive parents or guardians in the United States. The State of New York Office of Children and Family Services authorizes agencies, such as Graham’s Gift, to assess New York residents and residents of other states for adoption of a child. Depending on the type of adoption you are considering (private placement, foster adoption or agency adoption) we can advise you about your home study requirements. There are complex laws governing interstate placements. Different circumstances (foster adoption verses private placement) will dictate the kind of home study you undertake and who is qualified to conduct it. We will refer you to the appropriate agency or governmental department if we are unable to provide this service ourselves.
INTERNATIONAL HOME STUDIES
A home study is the first step in the international adoption process. A family must first be approved by a licensed home study agency to be considered for international adoption or guardianship. Families must then be approved by the U.S Citzenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for adoption or guardianship. The home study must be completed before filing an application with the U.S government. We are authorized by the State of New York to provide your home study regardless of where your placement is expected to take place or where your placement agency is located. We are additionally Hague accredited by the Council on Accreditation to provide international services.* We are also authorized to conduct home studies for military and non-resident U.S. citizen families residing abroad.
An international home study is an assessment of your family’s ability to provide a safe, secure and loving home for a child. You will be asked to provide information about your history, health, finances and other factors in order to create a foundation for interviews and adoption education. Home studies are prepared by a master’s level social worker who will meet with you and your family in your home to better understand your desire to adopt or be a guardian, and to evaluate your ability to parent a child. While the purpose of a home study is to evaluate and screen candidates for the safety of the child, education before and after placement is critical to supporting the family to accomplish a successful placement. You will be asked to take courses and read articles and books as part of your home study, to ensure you have necessary understanding and tools to parent a child.
POST PLACEMENT SERVICES
Whenever a child is places, there must be follow up social work visits to verify the adjustment of the child and family and to ensure the child’s well being. The specifics of the follow up are dictated by the agency’s policies and the requirements of the state or country. The family’s adjustment will be monitored by staff, including a master’s level social worker and home study social worker, who will bisit the home and write a report The family will also submit self-assessments about the child’s progress, their relationship and integration into the community and school. These reports are essential to protect the child and to assure foreign officials that their children are loved, safe and cared for properly.
Placement of any child is not a simple matter. The fundamental loss to the child of their biological family can be profound. This can be made worse by the subsequent placement of the child in instititutional care, which can be harmful to a child’s cognitive, psychological and physical development. Multiple emotional losses, neglect and shifting placements may cause furthur damage to an already fragile child. Language, food and cultural change can be overwhelming for the child. Behaviors that may be useful coping skills for a child in an orphanage can be distressing and highly disruptive to typical family life. Even knowledgeable, well-prepared parents may need support.
We provide post placement reporting for New York State residents. We additionally offer continuing education, social work support and referral services to families wrestling with adjustment or other adoption or guardianship related problems We understand that adoption is not an event but a process that begins before the placement and continues throughout the child’s life. We offer parent support groups, parent mentoring, telephone and online consulting and other services to assist parents, support children and create a community of understanding, with different levels of help.
We encourage our families to remain in contact with us and each other, and to maintain their child’s culture/heritage, and to participate in the creation of a new community For families who adopt from Morocco, we hold an annual reunion celebration to foster the development of a new community.