We are on the eve of beginning another home assessment, so I thought this would be an appropriate time to discuss the home assessment. What exactly a home assessment is, what it involves and why a home assessment is done.
Before you get to the home assessment phase you are required to submit an application for adoption. You will also be required to complete what is called a SAFE Questionnaire. The Questionnaire is about 11 pages long, and contains questions like:

• Who primarily raised you
• Were you separated from either or both of your parents during your childhood for any of the following reasons? ( then lists a various     reasons , death, divorce, abandoned)
• Questions about applicants childhood relationships with both parents, as a child, youth and now adult, do you share the same values
• Who primarily disciplined applicant as a child, and what forms of discipline was the applicant exposed to
• Applicant to describe themselves as a teenager
• Questions about early dating, and sexual experiences
• Questions about current spouse/partner relationship
• Questions about other people in your life, and the community around you
• How many hours a week do you work, what does a typical day look like
• How you plan to discipline children in your care

After a questionnaire is completed and submitted by each applicant a home assessment writer will be assigned. ( policy has changed in some areas when adopting from child and family services. In some cases a manager of child and family services will come and meet with the applicants before a home assessment writer is assigned.) A home assessment occurs over several visits, each visit lasting several hours. Our first home assessment we had 5 visits in our home with a total of approximately 14 hours.

The first time we adopted, our home assessment was non child specific, meaning we were applying for children that met certain criteria but we did not have a child in mind. Our home assessment reflected that, what ages, gender, racial origin, and special needs we were opened to. A home assessment is also used to gather information about family history, health, finances, personalities of each applicant, supports of each applicant, an applicant families particular likes and dislikes ( If an applicant family enjoys the outdoors, social workers would not match that family with a child who does not like being outdoors), both individual and family strengths and weakness are evaluated and considered. Applicants must also provide references. Once we were approved as an adoptive family, that home assessment which I believe it was 25 pages of single spaced size 11 font of detailed information about us (Just a light read :-) ) was then used as a tool for social workers to match us with our now son.

I will discuss the matching process in a later post, what that looks like, and things to consider.

The home assessment we are about to begin, is for a child specific adoption. In this case a child that has been in our care as a kinship placement. ( meaning our family had a relationship with biological parents) The information gathered will generally be the same, the only difference is that once the home assessment is approved it will not be used for another match.

Why do you have to do another home assessment if you have already been approved? Great question, and one we certainly had to ask ourselves as you can imagine we were not exactly excited about discussing the most intimate parts of our lives with yet another stranger who is evaluating us on what is disclosed . The process of adoption is  very intrusive in some respects, considering the fact 99% of the population with children do not go through the firestorm of questions and evaluation to become parents. When I think about it some of the topics discussed are not even things one would chat about even with ones closest friends. When a match has been made, the home assessment goes with all the other documents to the courts for the adoption to be finalized. When an adoption is finalized in the courts, the records are sealed, and that home assessment can no longer be used for any other adoption.

A few other things regarding home assessments, as a general rule when dealing with child and family service( public adoptions) is that a home assessment is only valid for a year. If you are not matched within that year they like to have another assessment completed or at least review it.


All that said, it’s home assessment time again!


– Embrace Your Hope –

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