Elements of a Home Study for Adoption
Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 22, § 40-280-20
The home study shall include:
• There shall be a minimum of three interviews, including at least one interview in the home of the adoptive family and, in the case of married applicants, a joint interview with husband and wife.
• In a parental placement, the agency social worker shall meet at least once with the birth parents and prospective adoptive parents simultaneously.
• Adoptive applicants shall provide at least two references from individuals who are unrelated to them.
• Adoptive applicants shall identify any criminal convictions and be willing to consent to a criminal records search and a search of the Child Protective Services Central Registry.
• Applicants shall provide a physicianâs statement that reflects their current health.
The home study shall include an assessment of the following:
• Significant life experiences and the applicantâs responses to them
• Relationships with family members and friends
• Work history and involvement in community activities
• The capacity of family members to accept the adopted child as an equal member of the family
• The applicantsâ capacity to parent
• The applicantsâ motivation and readiness to adopt
• The ability to make a lifelong commitment to a child not born to the applicants
• The ability to accept the circumstances of the childâs birth family history
• The capacity to understand the lifelong impact of adoption and to help the child deal with adoption-related issues
• The degree to which the home environment allows for privacy among family members; adequate play areas; and freedom from health and safety hazards
• The accessibility of community resources that may be needed for the child
• The financial circumstances of the family
Grounds for Withholding Approval for Adoption
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 63.2-1205.1; 63.2-1719
No petition for adoption shall be granted if the person seeking to adopt has been convicted of a sexually violent offense or an offense requiring registration as a sex offender.
An applicant shall not be approved if he or she has a conviction for a barrier crime, which includes:
• Murder or manslaughter
• Malicious wounding by mob
• Malicious wounding by mob
• Assault and bodily wounding
• Threats of death or bodily injury
• Felony stalking
• Sexual assault
• Drive-by shooting
• Use of a machine gun or a sawed-off shotgun in a crime of violence
• Crimes against nature involving children
• Taking indecent liberties with children
• Abuse and neglect of children
• Failure to secure medical attention for an injured child
• Obscenity offense
• Possession of child pornography
• Electronic facilitation of pornography
• Abuse and neglect of incapacitated adults
• Delivery of drugs to prisoners
• Escape from jail
• Felonies by prisoners
In the case of adoptive homes approved by child-placing agencies, a barrier crime also includes convictions of burglary and any felony violation relating to possession or distribution of drugs.
An offense is a barrier crime and, in the case of adoptive homes approved by child-placing agencies, means:
• A conviction of any other felony not included above unless 5 years have elapsed since conviction
• A founded complaint of child abuse or neglect within or outside the Commonwealth
In the case of adoptive homes approved by child-placing agencies, convictions shall include prior adult convictions and juvenile convictions or adjudications of delinquency based on a crime that would be a felony if committed by an adult within or outside the Commonwealth.
When Home Studies Must Be Completed for Adoption
Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-1231; Admin. Code Tit. 22, § 40-280-20
Any home study conducted for the purpose of parental placement or agency placement shall be valid for a period of 36 months from the date of completion. However, the State Board of Social Services may, by regulation, require an additional State criminal background check before finalizing an adoption if more than 18 months have passed from the completion of the home study.
In regulation: A home study conducted for purposes of parental placements shall be approved for a period of 12 months from the date of completion.
Postplacement Study Requirements for Adoption
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.2-1208
After an adoption petition has been filed, the court shall refer the case to a child-placing agency to conduct an investigation and prepare a report. The investigation shall include inquiries as to:
• Whether the petitioner is financially able, morally suitable, in satisfactory physical and mental health, and a proper person to care for and to train the child
• The physical and mental condition of the child
• Why the parents, if living, desire to be relieved of the responsibility for the custody, care, and maintenance of the child and what their attitude is toward the proposed adoption
• Whether the parents have abandoned the child or are morally unfit to have custody over him or her
• The circumstances under which the child came to live, and is living, in the physical custody of the petitioner
• Whether the child is a suitable child for adoption by the petitioner
• What fees have been paid by the petitioners or on their behalf to persons or agencies that have assisted them in obtaining the child
• Whether the adoptive parents have received the report of the birth parentsâ physical and mental health and the background, medical, and psychological records of the child
The report shall include a recommendation as to the action to be taken by the court on the petition.