Home study covid-19 style?

A recent interview with Laurie Goldheim

Bridgette: Can you tell me how is the coronavirus affecting the adoption home study right now? If I’m a family in process or if I’m about to begin my home study what is going on?

Laurie: Families are not necessarily putting their adoption plans on hold. It’s something that when families make the decision that they want to adopt are ready to move forward. In doing so every state has its own specific requirements as to how a family becomes approved as a prospective adoptive family. In every state, one of those requirements is the home study. This is a report by either a licensed agency or a private social worker where the social worker will come to your home and visit with you and they write a biography about you your spouse or your significant other and your family and that report includes a tour of your home and they also include a summary of what your home may look like.

Technology?

Given the current circumstances in the quarantine environment in which we live, each state is putting out its own standards. Standards are put out by their licensing division of how that can be accomplished within the guidelines of social distancing and many of these states are allowing and permitting virtual visits. How that’s accomplished may vary a little bit from agency to agency or social worker to a social worker but they are being accomplished. Certain requirements now are being met and satisfied by doing via Skype or FaceTime or zoom meetings. That includes post placements as well but the home studies are being done or may be done in a slightly different format. People are still able to move forward with their approval process.

Bridgette: Correct me if I’m wrong on this, most states require that you have fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, and a safety fence if you have a pool and open area. Do you just walk around with your phone and show them that you have those things or do you know how they’re handling that?

Laurie: It’s different for every state but that’s certainly one way it can be accomplished or they may have to sign an affidavit to that effect and eventually someone at some point in time may come back to their home when all of this quarantine is behind us, but yes, if there’s a safety assessment that is one way of handling it.

Bridgette: Fantastic news! Thank you so much for letting us know that’s important information for anybody that’s in the middle of a home study because some may get the panic, that everything that was worked so hard on is now ending, so it’s not ending it’s moving forward! We are hoping the quarantine is going to be a reset for the way that the adoption industry does the home study work in the future. I’m hoping that we have come to the age of technology and we’re letting it work for us so maybe those virtual visits may be helpful!

Laurie B. Goldheim is an attorney specializing in domestic adoption for more than 28 years and assisted reproductive law for 10 years. She is currently the Adoption Director of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys for 2018-2020. Importantly, she helped develop and raise funds for the Family Formation Charitable Trust which provides financial grants to families in need of assistance in their family building process.