What You Need to Know About the South Carolina Home Study

For many hopeful parents, the home study for adoption can seem intimidating or overwhelming — but knowing what to expect can help.

In this guide, find everything you need to know to prepare for the adoption home study in South Carolina.

The South Carolina Adoption Home Study Process

The adoption home study ensures that each family member is ready for the adoption and that they can provide a safe, loving home environment to an adopted child. This makes the home study one of the most exciting and important steps of the adoption process — once it’s finished, you are officially ready to welcome a new child into your home.

In South Carolina, the adoption home study must be completed by a qualified adoption professional. Your home study professional will provide additional information about S.C. home study processes and requirements.

Below, find some general information that will help you meet South Carolina home study requirements.

Complete Background Checks and Clearances

The adoption home study includes criminal background and child abuse registry checks. Most adoptive parents begin this process early in the home study process because it will take some time for your paperwork to be processed by the state and reviewed by your home study provider.

Collect Home Study Documents

Another time-consuming piece of the home study for adoptive families is the collection of certain important documents. In South Carolina, you will be required to submit the following:

  • Certified copies of vital records, including birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, and more
  • Verification of financial information, including pay stubs and tax returns
  • Physician health statements completed within the past six months
  • Criminal record checks and child abuse registry clearances
  • Proof of insurance
  • Personal and community letters of recommendation for adoption
  • And more

Your home study professional may require additional documentation. They should provide you with an adoption home study checklist so you can ensure you have gathered all the required materials.

Home Study Interviews

South Carolina laws require that your home study provider meet with you multiple times for face-to-face interview. This includes at least two joint interviews with you as the adoptive parents, as well as separate in-person interviews with each member of your household.

During the interviews, your social worker will likely ask you questions about the following topics:

  • Your autobiographical information
  • Your home, neighborhood and community
  • Your motivation and attitudes toward adoption
  • Your plans to discuss adoption with your child
  • Your strengths and weaknesses
  • Your parenting skills and ability
  • Your relationships with family members and others
  • Any history of child abuse or criminal activity
  • Your financial circumstances
  • Your religious beliefs
  • Your plans for childcare
  • And more

Remember that there are no “right” or “wrong” answers to your caseworker’s questions; these interviews are meant to help them get to know you and give them an understanding of the types of adoption opportunities that might be a good fit for your family.

Home Visit

During the home study process, your social worker will visit your home to ensure it is a safe and suitable environment for a child. Your home does not need to be spotless for this visit — it will just need to meet basic safety requirements.

Your home study provider will give you some information about safety precautions you should take prior to the home visit. For example, you will want to ensure you have working smoke detectors and that any firearms are stored safely.

Adoption Home Study Approval

Once you have satisfied all home study requirements, your social worker will compile a written report detailing his or her findings. You will receive written notification of acceptance or denial within 30 days of completion.

After your home study has been approved, you will officially be ready to adopt, and you can proceed with the legal adoption process.

Adoption Home Study Updates

The South Carolina home study is current for one year. If a child is not placed in your home within one year of completing the adoption home study, you will need to complete a home study update. A home study update may also need to be performed if you experience any significant life changes, such as a change in employment, the addition of a new family member or a move to a new home.

Your home study professional can provide additional information about the requirements and process to update your home study in South Carolina.

Post-Placement Visits

After a child is placed in your home, you will need to complete a post-placement study. During the post-placement supervision period, a caseworker will contact your family at least once per month until the adoption is finalized in court.

The post-placement study ensures that you and the child are adjusting well to the placement and gives you an opportunity to ask any questions or access any resources you might need. Once you have satisfied post-placement requirements, your adoption can be finalized in court, and the legal adoption process will be complete.

When you are ready to begin the home study for adoption, or if you would like to learn more about home study requirements, contact a licensed home study provider in South Carolina.