There is no set format that adoption agencies use to conduct homestudies. They must follow the general regulations of their state, but they have the freedom to develop their own application packet, policies, and procedures within those regulations. Some agencies will have prospective parents attend one or several group orientation sessions or a series of training classes before they complete an application. Others will have their social worker start by meeting with family members individually and then ask that they attend educational meetings later on.
The homestudy itself is a written report of the findings of the social worker who has met with the applicants on several occasions, both individually and together. At least one meeting will occur in the applicant's home. If there are other people living in the home, they also will be interviewed by the social worker.
On average the homestudy process takes three to six months to complete, but it can take longer through public agencies or less time in certain situations. The homestudy process, the contents of the written homestudy report, and the time it will take to complete vary from state to state and from agency to agency. In general, the following information is included in the homestudy: