If you are in the middle of an adoption—whether it is a stepparent, grandparent, aunt/uncle, or new parent adoption—you know that you have to complete a social study in order to proceed forward with the adoption. Because this is a new concept to many people, it is better to gain knowledge regarding this process beforehand to put your mind at ease. You will find that this step is actually one of the more rewarding (absent the actual adoption day) throughout your case. It is your chance to tell the social worker all about your family and why you should be able to adopt the child.
Purpose of Pre-Adoptive Social Study
One of the purposes of the pre-adoptive social study is to guide the Court in its decision on the termination and adoption because the social worker is literally the eyes and ears for the Court. Reason being, the judge cannot visit your home and do a background check on all of the parties in the case to determine whether or not the adoption would be in the best interest of the child. Therefore, a social worker is appointed to do that and much more.
Process of Pre-Adoptive Social Study
Once appointed, the social worker will schedule a time to visit with the adopting family and all parties in the case. The appointments will be separate (separate house meeting for each household). Once at your home, the social worker will meet with the family all together and then have individual interviews to gather more information regarding each person on a more intimate level. The social worker will go over your background information (childhood to present), medical history, drug and/or criminal history, CPS history, your thoughts about the other party/parties, and your requests. If the children are of the appropriate age, the social worker will also interview them individually. In addition to the home visit, the social worker will also go through all of your references (which you provide) and will contact all professionals appropriate in the case.
Once the “investigation” portion of the social study is completed, the social worker will then write their written report to the Court which will ultimately be filed and will be disseminated to all parties in the case. In true impatient fashion, once the social study is received everyone flips directly to the recommendation. As long as the adoption is ultimately recommended by the social worker then you would proceed forward with a final hearing. If the adoption is not recommended, you/your attorney would need to speak with the social worker and proceed forward from that point. It might require doing some steps that would satisfy the social worker to the point of recommending the adoption or it could possibly require an additional home visit. The key is to just remain calm and patient throughout the process.
For any additional information regarding pre-adoptive social studies or adoptions in general, schedule a consultation with Guest & Gray today.