Private Pre-Adoption Home Studies

I am available to conduct, Pre-Adoption Home Studies, with a quick turn-around time, to the Family Court of the State of New York in Sullivan, Orange, and Ulster counties, as outlined in Domestic Relations Law § 116(3) (see below). I also accept referrals from private adoption agencies anywhere.

Speak with your attorney or with the Clerk of the Family Court to ask if a Court Order is required to authorize me to conduct the necessary study and report in your particular case.

Feel free to contact me first if you have any questions. If you leave a voice-mail message, I will be sure to call you back. You can also e-mail asking me to call and speak with you.

What is a "home study"?

The Missing PieceA home study consists of a visit to the family's residence. Both parents parents and any children are interviewed together and separately. With your signed consent, I will obtain collateral information from schools, service providers, and other sources. Prospective adoptive parents may be asked to visit their doctors for a physical exam, if they have not done so lately. I then compile this into a report for the Family Court Judge, as part of the process of privately adopting a child.

Obtaining this report from the county can be a time-consuming barrier for couples eager to adopt a child, as they wait for a DSS worker who may be backed up by several months.

I will submit a report at the earliest possible date. The precise amount of time consumed may depend on a few variables, like the size of the family, or how many places I will need to contact (with your written consent) for collateral information.

Often home studies are done by the Department of Social Services, but waiting lists are usually quite long. A home study conducted privately by "a disinterested person" can significantly expedite the entire process. I am qualified under New York State law to prepare such reports and am experienced in doing so.

Speak to the attorney who is handling your adoption proceeding, or to the Clerk of the Family Court, if you would like to arrange for me to assist your family in this manner. Referrals must be authorized by the Judge assigned to your case, but this is not difficult and is commonly done.

The protocol for adoption home studies is spelled out in the New York State Uniform Rules for Surrogate Courts, Part 207.56 and Domestic Relations Law § 116(3), et seq.:

The judge or surrogate shall cause to be made an investigation by a disinterested person who in the opinion of the judge or surrogate is qualified by training and experience, or by an authorized agency specifically designated by him [or her] to examine into the allegations set forth in the petition.

A post-placement investigation conducted pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be made by a disinterested person who in the opinion of the judge or surrogate is qualified by training and experience to perform post-placement investigations. Such disinterested person shall certify to the court that he or she is a disinterested person and has no interest in the outcome of petitioner's or petitioners' application. Such disinterested person shall further disclose to the court any fee paid or to be paid to such person for services rendered in connection with the post-placement investigation.

The investigator shall make a written report of his investigation into the truth and accuracy of the allegations of the petition, and, where applicable, into the statements contained in the affidavit required by section one hundred fifteen of this title, and he shall ascertain as fully as possible, and incorporate in his report the various factors which may bear upon the determination of the application for adoption including, but not limited to, the following information:

(a) the marital and family status, and history, of the adoptive parents and adoptive child;

(b) the physical and mental health of the adoptive parents and adoptive child;

(c) the property owned by and the income of the adoptive parents;

(d) the compensation paid or agreed upon with respect to the placement of the child for adoption;

(e) whether either adoptive parent has ever been respondent in any proceeding concerning allegedly abused, neglected, abandoned or delinquent children;

(f) any other facts relating to the familial, social, religious, emotional and financial circumstances of the adoptive parents which may be relevant to a determination of adoption.

The written report of investigation shall be submitted to the judge or surrogate within thirty days after the same is directed to be made, unless for good cause shown the judge or surrogate shall grant a reasonable extension of such period. The report shall be filed with the judge or surrogate, in any event, before the final order of adoption is granted.

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