Do Adoptions Require Home Inspections?

Written by Jonathan Breeden

December 31, 2021

Before adopting a child in North Carolina, the prospective parents must complete a pre-placement assessment, often called a “home study.” This thorough evaluation may determine whether you are deemed fit to care for an adoptive child, and there are many ways you can prepare.

What Is a Home Study?

During a home study, a licensed agency will evaluate the prospective parents to ensure they are ready to adopt a child and have all the information they need to go through the adoption process. The purpose of the home inspection is to make sure adoptive families are ready to become safe adoptive parents.
A home study is comprised of at least two visits to the home by an adoption professional, fingerprint background checks, interviews with the adoptive family, and the collection of financial information and other documents.

Documents Needed for a Home Study

You will need the following documents for your home study:

  • State IDs
  • Birth certificates
  • Social security cards (or other proof of citizenship)
  • Marriage certificate (if married)
  • Proof of employment and income
  • Immunization records
  • Medical records (especially mental health records if you have any)
  • Pet vaccination records

Additionally, you should consider writing an autobiographical statement to share with the social worker who performs your home study inspection.

What Is the Social Worker Looking for During a Home Inspection?

When the social worker arrives at your home, they will be looking for many safety and health items, including the following:

  • Smoke alarms
  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • Childproofing (gates on stairs, locks on cabinets and windows, electrical outlet covers)
  • First-aid kits
  • Safely secured firearms
  • Functional heating and cooling systems
  • No presence of lead paint
  • Safe yard with fencing and/or guardrails around decks or pools
  • Functioning appliances
  • Safe corners on furniture

How to Prepare for Your Adoption Interview

During the home inspection, the social worker will also interview you and ask questions about your motivation, parenting style, and past. This is where your autobiographical statement can help. It will explain your own childhood, your marriage, and your job.

The social worker will ensure you know the adoption process and any unique aspects of raising an adopted child. They will also question you about your feelings regarding cultural diversity and your hopes for your child. Knowing what to expect during the adoption interview can help you prepare for the questions you might be asked ahead of time.

How Long Does a Home Study Take?

A home study generally takes between four to six weeks to complete. The home inspections should be completed early in the adoption process to ensure you can make any necessary changes if recommendations are made.

What Happens When a Home Inspection is Complete?

Once the home inspection process is complete, the social worker who has completed the home study will write a report. That report will be sent to North Carolina government agencies, courts, and/or the adoption agency that the adoptive parents are working with.

Private Adoption Agencies in North Carolina

In North Carolina, adoptive parents are approved through a local county Division of Social Services (DSS) or a licensed private agency. All private agencies must be licensed by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The following private adoption agencies are licensed in Johnston, Wake, and Harnett Counties:

  • Stan B Treatment Services, Inc.
  • ACI Support Specialists, LLC, dba ACI-Dungarvin
  • Amazing Grace Adoptions
  • Association for Guidance, Aid, Placement, and Empathy of NC, Inc.
  • The Bair Foundation
  • Easter Seals UCP North Carolina & Virginia, Inc.
  • Kidspeace National Centers of North America, Inc.
  • The Methodist Home for Children, Inc.
  • Omni Visions, Inc.
  • Pathways Human Services of North Carolina, LLC, dba Access Family Services
  • Pinnacle Family Services of NC, LLC
  • Quality Care Solutions, Inc.

Many of these adoption agencies will also perform pre-placement assessments, or home studies, for private adoptions.

Call an Adoption Lawyer to Prepare for Your Home Inspection

When you work with Breeden Law Office, we will prepare you for your home inspection. We have a list of things the social worker will be looking for, and we can help you answer their questions adequately. Call our adoption attorney today at (919) 661-4970 or use our online contact form to reach out.


Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden