What You Should Look for When Choosing an Agency for an Adoption Home Study

Selecting the right adoption home study agency is a crucial step on your journey to adopting a child. The home study is a comprehensive assessment that evaluates your suitability to become an adoptive parent and ensures a safe and nurturing environment for the child. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve outlined essential factors to consider when choosing an adoption home study agency.

Agency Accreditation and Licensing

The baseline for any adoption agency offering home study services is being properly licensed by state for domestic home study services:

and accredited by reputable organizations for international home study services such as:

Accreditation helps to ensure that the agency adheres to the highest standards of professionalism and ethical conduct. Make sure that the adoption agency is licensed to operate within your state or region to make your experience as smooth as possible. 

The information on a reputable agency should be made readily available to prospective families so you can independently verify the agency’s claims. 

Experience and Reputation

Investigate the agency’s history and experience in conducting home studies. An agency with a proven track record is more likely to provide a thorough and reliable assessment. Seek recommendations and reviews from other adoptive parents or professionals. Their firsthand experiences can provide valuable insights into the agency’s reputation and quality of service.

Qualifications of Social Workers

Ensure that the agency employs licensed and experienced social workers. Qualified professionals are essential for conducting a comprehensive and accurate home study. 

Check their expertise in adoption-related issues and cultural sensitivity. Cultural competence is crucial, especially in the case of transracial or cross-cultural adoptions.

Services Offered

Determine the range of adoption services offered by the agency. It’s essential to confirm that they provide home studies for the type of adoption you are pursuing, whether it’s domestic, international, or foster care.

Confirm that they have experience with the specific type of adoption you are pursuing, as different types of adoptions may have unique requirements and procedures.

Cost and Fees

Request a detailed breakdown of the agency’s fees for the home study process. Understanding the costs involved is vital for budgeting and planning.

Inquire about any additional costs that may arise during the home study, such as background checks or home modifications.

Timelines and Process

Clarify the expected timeline for completing the home study. Knowing when to expect the results is important for planning the rest of your adoption journey.

Get an overview of the steps and requirements involved in the home study process to prepare yourself adequately.

Cultural Competency

Assess the agency’s commitment to cultural sensitivity and diversity. Ensure they have experience in transracial or cross-cultural adoptions if applicable, as cultural competence is crucial for understanding the unique needs of children from diverse backgrounds.

Discuss any concerns or questions you may have about the agency’s approach to cultural competency.

Home Study Standards

Understand the agency’s adherence to state and federal adoption standards. Ensuring that the agency complies with all relevant regulations is essential.

Inquire about the specific criteria and requirements for your home study, as these may vary based on the type of adoption you are pursuing.

Communication and Support

Evaluate the agency’s communication practices and responsiveness. Effective communication is vital for a smooth and stress-free home study process.

Determine the level of support and guidance they offer throughout the home study process, as emotional support can be invaluable during this time.

Confidentiality and Privacy

Ensure that the agency maintains strict confidentiality of your personal information. Your privacy and the privacy of the child involved should be protected at all times.

Inquire about how the agency handles sensitive and private information to ensure your peace of mind.

Report Quality

Ask to review sample home study reports. Reviewing these reports can give you an idea of the agency’s reporting quality.

Verify that the agency produces thorough, well-documented, and unbiased reports, which are essential for the adoption process.

Post-Adoption Services

Inquire about any post-adoption support or services the agency offers. Support after the adoption is finalized can be crucial for both parents and the child.

Understand the agency’s role in facilitating the placement and adjustment of the child into your family.

References and Testimonials

Request references from families who have completed the home study with the agency. Speaking with other families who have gone through the same process can provide valuable insights.

Read testimonials and reviews from previous clients to gauge their overall satisfaction with the agency’s services.

Transparency and Policies

Review the agency’s policies and procedures. Understanding their processes and policies can help you navigate the home study process with confidence.

Ensure transparency regarding the home study process and any potential obstacles that may arise.

Conflict Resolution

Understand the agency’s process for addressing disputes or conflicts. Knowing how conflicts are handled can give you peace of mind during home study.  Ask for a copy of an agency’s Grievance Policy.

Verify their commitment to ensuring a fair and unbiased assessment, as objectivity is essential in this critical evaluation.


Selecting an adoption home study agency is a decision that will significantly impact your adoption journey. By considering these essential factors, you can make an informed choice that ensures a smooth and successful home study process, ultimately leading to the expansion of your loving family. For information on Adoption Center of Illinois’ home study services you can visit our page for more information.

01.24.24 by Jane Turner, ACI Executive Director

Jane has been with Adoption Center of Illinois since January of 1990, when she began as one of the organization’s first home study workers. She holds a master’s degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago and is a licensed social worker.
Over the years Jane has been involved in all aspects of the agency; Domestic Adoption, International Adoption and has a leadership role in the agency’s burgeoning Post-Adoption Services Program.