When you live in Virginia and hope to adopt a child, you must follow a specific process that helps determine if you are able to become an adoptive parent within the state. Part of the adoption process involves you and anyone else who lives in your home participating in something called a home study.
According to the Virginia State Law Portal, the home study is a legal requirement in Virginia, meaning you are not going to be able to adopt a child until you complete it. The study involves a licensed social worker coming to your home and observing you and your family in it to make sure it is an appropriate place for an adopted child. The social worker also seeks to ensure that you and your family are ready to make a lifelong commitment to the adopted child. During the home study, expect the following to take place.
The social worker conducting your home study may ask to see certain types of legal forms and documentation. This might include marriage records, driving records obtained through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and proof of income or employment, among other possible forms.
Physical home review
The social worker also needs to assess the home, itself, and make sure it is safe and appropriate for a new child. The social worker may check for recreational space, functioning smoke detectors and locks on doors and windows. The social worker may also check to see if any firearms in the home undergo proper and safe storage, among other areas he or she may assess.
While you should expect a social worker to review your documents and observe your home environment during a home study, this is not a comprehensive summary of everything the home study may entail.