Home Study Checklist

If we can offer three pieces of advice to hopeful adoptive parents starting their home study in Texas, it’s this:

  1. Stay organized
  2. Stay ahead of deadlines
  3. Stay positive

Of these three tips, staying organized might be the most important; it will help you keep track of deadlines, minimize your stress and ensure your home study process goes as smoothly as possible.  The following adoption home study checklist can help you start organizing what you’ll need. The home study process can be completed with Adoption Answers in less than one month if you keep at it and stay ahead of deadlines! Remember that you can always call us if you have questions about the home study adoption checklist, or about the process itself.

Whenever you’re ready to begin your home study, you can submit your application. You’ll be able to upload documents online. This step of the adoption process can feel tedious, but stay positive — home studies are important for the protection of children everywhere, and your effort brings you that much closer to the day you welcome your child home!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Document Checklist

Collecting all of this can take a while, so start gathering these now and upload them into your online account. If you have any questions about what documents you might need, or if you’re unclear about anything, contact us and we’ll help you with the documents in your home study checklist.

Gather and submit:

  • Your individual autobiographies, describing your life leading up to your decision to adopt
  • One photo of the front and back of your house, including the yard area
  • A copy of the floor plans for your home, including dimensions and purpose for each room (can be hand drawn)
  • 5 reference letters (only one family reference can be used)
  • Copies of driver’s license(s) or state-issued ID
  • Copies of Social Security Cards
  • Birth certificates of all household residents
  • Marriage certificate
  • Divorce decree(s) (if applicable)
  • Employment verification — most recent pay stub, your W-2, a letter from your employer, and/or a non-working spouse statement
  • Financial statement
  • Most recent income tax return (copy of first page of the 1040)
  • Military discharge(s) (if applicable)
  • Letter from medical specialist (if applicable)
  • Physical examination form for all household members
  • Therapy letter (if applicable)
  • Proof of insurance for home, health, life, auto, etc.
  • Pet vaccination records (if applicable)
  • Adoption decree(s) of older child(ren) (if applicable)
  • Discipline and Safety Policy Form
  • A history of the adoptive parents’ residences over the past 10 years, including length of time at each residence
  • An assessment of the available community resources to meet the needs of children
  • A telephone number for an entity where it is appropriate for the subject of the study to register complaints about how the pre-adoptive home screening was conducted

Social Worker Home Visit Checklist

People are often most worried about the adoption “home inspection” checklist. There isn’t really an established checklist — rather, you should implement standard child safety measures in your home and show that you’re able to provide a safe, loving, healthy place for a child to grow up. You don’t need to have everything in place by the time your home study professional comes to visit, but it’s good to have some of the basics squared away.

Start child-proofing with this general adoption home visit checklist:

  • Working smoke detectors
  • Carbon monoxide detector
  • Toxic substances (pills, cleaners, etc.) in a locked container or out of a child’s reach
  • First-aid kit
  • Child-proofed cabinets that are in their reach
  • Covered trash cans
  • Covered electrical outlets
  • Gates for stairs
  • Secure screens and locks on windows
  • Secure window blind cords out of a child’s reach
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Set household heating equipment to the appropriate safe maximum limit
  • Anchor furniture that might be tipped over (bookcases, dressers, etc.)
  • Safety precautions installed on bodies of water (swimming pools, hot tubs, garden ponds, etc.)
  • Lock up any firearms and ammunition separately
  • Posted list of emergency phone numbers (poison control, your pediatrician, babysitter, etc.)
  • And more

Clearances Checklist

Safety checks and clearances are conducted in accordance with the Texas Family Code. When you begin the home study process with Adoption Answers, we’ll supply you with the necessary background check forms and give you instructions for obtaining the required clearances.

You’ll need to complete:

  • Criminal background checks for all household members age 14 and older, including part-time residents like step-children, college students, and elderly relatives
    • If you have a criminal offense record, such as a DUI, you’ll need to provide additional documentation about the arrest, penalties and probations, treatment classes completed, etc.
  • Child abuse and neglect clearances for all household members age 14 and older, listing every state/country you’ve lived in for the past five years (domestic adoptions) or since the age of 18 (international adoptions)
  • FBI fingerprinting clearances
  • Sex offender clearances

Course Checklist

While this isn’t required by your home study provider, some adoption agencies encourage or require their waiting families to attend certain training courses. You may attend courses that are designed to help meet the specific needs of your future child, or you may be asked to attend courses designed to improve your overall parenting and safety skills.

Suggested courses may include:

Remember: While this is a good overview of some of the documents you’ll need to gather and steps you’ll need to take during this process, the requirements can vary and it may not be a complete list for your situation. Your home study worker will provide you with a more detailed home study checklist and can offer additional tips to keep you organized! We’ll be there to answer your questions and help guide you through this process from start to finish.

Contact us at 1 (800) 659-7541 if you have any questions about the Texas home study process, or if you’re ready to begin, you can start your home study application online.