What is a home study?
The home study (also called a family assessment) is done by a social worker at a licensed child placing agency, and typically takes around six months to complete. This will be an ongoing part of your licensure process from application to completion.
The home study consists of a series of meetings between the family and the licensing worker, with at least one meeting occurring in the family’s home. It provides an educational opportunity for the family to learn more and seriously consider their motivations and expectations for foster care. It also gives the licensing worker a chance to get to know the family.
The home study generally includes the following:
- Personal History:
- A complete history and evaluation of your current family life and past experiences, considering how those experiences will affect your capacity to parent children in foster care.
- This helps the licensing worker decide how a child will fit into your family, and determine what type of child might do best in your home.
- Children living in the home are also interviewed (depending on their age and level of understanding) about how they feel and what being a foster family means to them.
- Any other adult in the home, will also be interviewed.
- Health Statements:
- Everyone in your home will need to provide a medical history and a current physical.
- A medical condition that is under control (high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.) usually will not prevent a person from being approved to provide foster care.
- Criminal Background Check:
- All adults living in the home will need to complete a State Police check and Protective Service clearance. Some counties may also require local police clearances.
- Foster parents will also need to provide fingerprints.
- Fingerprinting Locations
- Income Statement:
- You will be asked to provide proof of your income, such as a copy of an income tax form, a paycheck stub, or a W-2 form.
- Bank statements and insurance policies may also be requested.
- Personal References:
- You will be asked to provide the names, addresses, and phone numbers of three unrelated individuals who can share their knowledge about your experience with children, the stability of your marriage and/or household, and your motivation to provide foster care.
- You will need to complete a minimum of 12 hours of pre-service training.
- Your PRIDE or GROW training meets this requirement.
Once your home study is completed, your licensing worker will submit all documents collected to the MDHHS Division of Child Welfare Licensing (DCWL) Department with their recommendation to license your family. DCWL will then review your packet of information and render their final decision on licensure. Keep in mind that the State of Michigan has the final say and reviews applications for every potential Foster and Adoptive family in the state and thus, their decision may take between 6-8 weeks to process.
When approved, your worker will receive your license from the state, and will notify you.
Congratulations! You are now a licensed foster family!