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FAQ #10: What is a home study?

September 16, 2009

Yesterday we had our first of two home studies. I am guessing home studies vary between agencies and states. Ours was pretty simple and did not present any surprises.

A licensing worker (I’ll call her V) came to do our home study. She will only be our worker during licensing. Once that is complete we will have a different social worker who comes to our house on a monthly basis (during anytime when we are placed with kids). She arrived and did a walk through of all our rooms and measured each bedroom and bathroom. She asked us what each room was used for or how we anticipated it being used in the future. She also flushed the toilet, she said she had to check (D wanted to make sure I mentioned that).

After V looked at our basement, she answered the question we were hoping to have answered. If we want to use our basement for anything besides storage, we must have an egress window installed. This is really the only expense we will incur in this process and we were prepared for this answer. Overall, it will be a good thing: it will add natural light to the basement, increase the value of our house and make it a nice place for kids to play when the backyard is not an option in the winter months.

After the walk through, she went over our paperwork and then interviewed us. Many of the questions she asked we had answered on the application forms but she explained that she preferred to talk over these questions in order to understand our family in a more relational way (rather than just reading what we wrote on a form). It is her job to write a 36 page report on us that will be necessary for our license to be approved.

We have a few things minor things (installing a smoke detector in basement, few more forms, etc.) that need to be taken care of in addition to the egress window. Once that is complete, she will return again for a second home study which will involve more questions and, I am assuming, a re-check of our house. We were surprised that she did not go over things like where to store our cleaning products but that is probably coming in the next visit.

So, that is what a home study looks like in Michigan. I do not believe that the egress window is policy for every agency in the state but it is for ours. Just something to check on if you are considering pursuing foster care/adoption. V told us that she likes to get her families licensed within 90 days which gives us an approximate date of December 15. If all goes well with installing the egress window, we should not have an setbacks.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Gretchen permalink
    September 17, 2009 11:10 am

    Congratulations on completing the home study! I did one when I worked for children's services, and this one sounds much more thorough. My instructions were something like, "determine if the home is appropriate for a child". Hopefully this is a good indicator of also having good support from the agency while you're foster parents. 🙂 We're very excited for you guys.

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