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Understanding How Home Studies for Foster Parents in Arizona Work

Foster care adoption is a great way to grow your family if you want to adopt an older child. If foster care adoption is in your plan, you should know you’ll need to completer a foster care home study in AZ before becoming eligible to adopt.  Also, home requirements for foster care in Arizona are more complex than those for domestic adoptions.

Adopting an older child from foster care can be satisfying, but state regulations result in a more complicated home study with additional requirements hopeful adoptive parents must fulfill. The home study for foster parents in AZ helps the state ensure that the child will be safe and secure in your home. 

The prospect of the AZ foster care home study may seem daunting, but you should know you aren’t alone in the process. You can get more information about the process today by speaking with one of our trained specialists. Just call 1-800-ADOPTION or complete our online form to connect.

You can also keep reading below for more information about the home study for foster care in Arizona, how it differs from a private adoption home study, and how you can get your family and home ready for it.

What’s the Home Study for Foster Care in AZ?

As is the case in every adoption, a home study is required for foster care adoption before a child is placed in a potential adoptive home. In that way, the foster care home study in Arizona is similar to the home study for other types of adoption. However, there are also some important distinctions that separate the foster home requirements in AZ.

  • Timeline for completion: A foster care home study in AZ can either be administered or overseen by the state. The result can be a longer than the average timeline than in other types of adoption. It can be helpful to have an adoption professional on your team to assist in minimizing the wait and successfully completing the process.
  • Foster family licensing: Potential adoptive families must meet the same foster home requirements in Arizona observed by all families who foster. To become a licensed foster parent in AZ, you’ll need to attend additional training courses and earn several necessary certifications.
  • Home study expense: The home study for foster parents in AZ also differs from private home studies in cost. Private adoption home studies may cost between $900-$3000, with prospective adoptive families responsible for paying for it. In foster care adoptions, foster parents are reimbursed for the cost of the home study.

What Steps Must Be Followed in the AZ Foster Care Home Study Process?

For some children cared for by the foster system, childhood has been a time of significant adversity. Parenting such children requires a special kind of adoptive parent willing to offer them the loving home they need.

That’s just one of the reasons waiting foster and adoptive parents are required to meet specific AZ foster home requirements. They’re also screened to ensure they’re ready to be the parent the adoptee needs and deserves.

The foster care system always places a priority on securing the health, safety, and well-being of the children in their care. That’s why foster parents must adhere to additional foster home requirements in AZ before they’re allowed to adopt a child. Those requirements include things like:

  • Completion of the Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting (PS-MAPP) course
  • Three hours (minimum) of a first aid/CPR training
  • Completion of an AZ foster care home study
  • Standard background checks
  • Foster parent licensure through the Arizona Department of Child Safety
  • A minimum of 21 years old in the state of Arizona.

Once you’ve successfully become a licensed active adoptive parent, your foster care home study process in Arizona will look much like a home study for any other kind of adoption. For more details, read on below as we cover what’s involved in a foster care home study in Arizona and what role you’ll play in the process.

Step 1: Submitting Required Documentation

The first step in any home study for foster care in AZ is the submission of the required paperwork to your home study social worker. Your home study professional will collect the necessary documentation, review the contents, and incorporate them into your home study record.

Are you asking, “What documents are required in a CPS home study in Arizona?” The list can be lengthy, and some of the documents requested in a foster care adoption home study may include:

  • Recent medical records
  • Sexual abuse and neglect clearances
  • Marriage certificates
  • Criminal background checks (both federal and state)
  • Driver’s license records
  • Most recent tax returns
  • Insurance records
  • An autobiographical statement
  • Reference letters
  • Birth certificates of both parents
  • Personal adoption narratives
  • Military discharge paperwork
  • Green card
  • Previous adoption decrees
  • Pet vaccination records
  • And others

Step 2: Undergoing the In-Home Interview

You’ve turned the required documents over to your social worker. What should you expect now? The next step in the home study for foster care in AZ is the in-home interview. While it may seem intimidating, you shouldn’t worry. Your home study social worker is your ally. They only want to ensure the adoptee will be safe and healthy as part of your family. 

What kinds of questions should you expect in an AZ foster care home study interview? Some of the questions they may ask involve:

  • Why you want to adopt
  • What kind of relationship you have with your spouse
  • What parenting strategies you may use
  • How you feel about adoption
  • And much more

Step 3: Completing the Home Tour

After the interview part of the AZ foster care home study is done, your case worker will tour your physical residence to check its safety. You may be wondering how to prepare for a foster home study in AZ, and you may even be concerned that the home visit prevents your family from adopting through foster care.

Getting your home ready for foster care in AZ isn’t as difficult as you may think. There are no “gotcha” moments, and the social worker won’t be looking for a perfect home. Having an adoption professional on your side can help, as you’ll have someone to help you get ready for the big day. You’ll even get an AZ foster care home study checklist to make sure you can track everything you need to do to prepare. 

It’s also important to note that your foster care home study case worker doesn’t have a goal of preventing your family from adopting a child. The opposite is often true. They want to help you make sure you’re ready for the challenge and can be the best parent for the adoptee that you can be. They’re there to help you create the safest, healthiest environment for the child who will be placed in your care.

Your AZ foster care checklist of preparations in the home may vary somewhat based on the age of the child you’re seeking to adopt. However, your list could include:

  • Working locks on doors and windows
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Working smoke and CO2 detectors
  • Fences around pools
  • Covered electrical outlets
  • Any weapons locked in a gun safe
  • Gates blocking stairs
  • Screens on windows
  • Covered trash cans
  • Bookcases and heavy furniture bolted to wall
  • First-aid kit
  • Toxic substances (medicine, paint, cleaning supplies, etc.) out of reach of children
  • Readily accessible list of emergency phone numbers and home emergency and evacuation plans

Again, the AZ foster care home study home tour is intended to verify your residence is safe for the potential adoptee. No one expects your household to be in perfect order and spotless. Your caseworker may also make suggestions for remedial measures to help you better prepare your home. Be sure to take them constructively because they just want to help.

Step 4: Scheduling Post-Placement Visits

After the majority of the AZ foster care home study has been completed and the child has been placed in your home, there’s one more step left before finalization. Your home study concludes with periodic follow-up trips from your adoption home study case worker called post-placement visits.

Post-placement visits can be scheduled any time after placement until the adoption is legally finalized in court. Rest assured, these visits aren’t as rigorous as the pre-placement one in a foster care home study in AZ. The social worker only wants to make sure everyone is adjusting well.

Last Words on the Foster Care Home Study in AZ

The AZ foster care home study must be thorough by design, but it’s a required part of adopting an older child from foster care and building your family. Private adoption is another way to grow your family, and you can get help from American Adoptions if that’s the path you choose. We’d be honored to help you take your next steps.

At American Adoptions, we’ve been helping hopeful parents build their families for more than 25 years, and we can help you, too. To speak with an adoption professional today, please call 1-800-ADOPTION or complete our online form, and we’ll take it from there. 

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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