My field placement experience has changed drastically since first quarter. The work I did at my adoption agency during my first quarter seemed mundane and pointless. I rarely felt like the was contributing to the agency or being of value. That’s now all changed!
After receiving training in early December to complete SAFE Home Studies, I’ve been able to quadruple my workload and become more autonomous each day. I’ve recently completed my first independent home study that is currently under review with the placement supervisor. I’m also currently working on an additional home study and an update.
What’s a home study?? A home study is a process of reviewing and getting to know a family or person that wants to adopt a child or children. In my case, I work with individuals that want to adopt children from the foster care system. The home study does not only what it says, studies the home, but also the people within in it, their pasts, any other children in the home, and their ability to parent a child/children. The home study process takes at least 2 visits more than a week apart. On average, the social worker will make 3-5 visits over a one month period, interviewing and meeting with each member of the family on their own and the family/individual/couple at least twice together. There are a number of questionnaires and long answer questions that supplement the individual meetings.
Once all interviews are complete, I write a VERY long home study report that is then reviewed and approved or denied by the placement supervisor. If the home study is denied, the person/family is unable to adopt through our agency. If the individual/family is approved, we move forward to find them a child/children that meets their needs/desires within the foster care system. This process can take anywhere from 1 month to 18 months (depending on the gender/ethnicity/age of desired child).
Once a child is selected and the county approves the adoption placement, the child is transitioned into the home as a foster child. Adoptions cannot be finalized for at least 6 months after the child is initially placed in the home. During this time, I make monthly visits to access how the family is adjusting and bonding to each other.
This process can be long and frustrating for both the individual/family wanting to adopt and myself. Often, families may be turned down by a county multiple times before being matched with their child. In the end, the hope is to find each child in the foster care system their forever family.