(This post is released in conjunction with my YouTube video on the same subject, to make resources easier to find. Watch the video for my full commentary.)
When it comes to foster care, I frequently get asked about home studies. “I’m really nervous about my home study.” “What do I need to do to get ready for our home study?” “I’m not a great housekeeper – will I fail a home study?”
First off, let’s be clear about what the purpose of a home study IS and IS NOT.
A Home Study is Not:
This is not a test of your cleaning, organizing, or homemaking skills. Your pantry doesn’t need to look like a Pinterest post in order to become a foster parent.
Your home study is not an evaluation of your decorating taste, style, or ability (or lack thereof).
It is not a white-glove military inspection. No one is coming to measure the angle of the creases on your sheets.
In fact, a home study is not really primarily about your home at all. Yes, there are pieces of it that apply to your physical home that you will need to work on and comply with. But they are not actually the primary focus of a foster care home study.
A Home Study IS:
Your home study is primarily about YOU and your family, rather than your home. The goal is to make sure that you and your family can provide a safe and supportive home for a child in need – both physically and emotionally. Your home study writer will also be exploring what kind of child you will be best suited to parent, and how they might affect your family dynamic. This process will also help to identify what further support, resources, or training may be beneficial to help you succeed as a foster parent.
And yes, they also want to make sure that your house meets certain requirements. Those requirements of foster care are there so that your house isn’t just not dangerous, but actively anticipates and stays a step ahead of potential safety risks.
The Heart of it All
The home study process can feel very invasive, vulnerable, and judgmental on our end. Just remember that children come into foster care because someONE or someTHING has fundamentally failed them along the line, and the purpose of a home study is to avoid putting an already-traumatized child into an unstable environment. No one is evaluating your success or failure at life – they are simply looking for red flags that could affect the care a child receives.
And for all those physical things you need to comply with, I’ve put together a list of the things we used (or similar things) as foster parents. (Disclaimer: This list is not definitive, and my inclusion does not guarantee it will meet your state or agency’s requirements. Please check all final decisions with your family’s caseworker.)
(This list is not sponsored – all recommendations and opinions are my own. The links provided are affiliate links and my family will receive a small commission for orders you make from them.)
Smoke Detector: https://amzn.to/3memKe0
Carbon Monoxide Detectors: https://amzn.to/35zhGKA
Fire Extinguisher: https://amzn.to/34ok8UQ
Small Tool Box (for medications): https://amzn.to/2HvmyZj
Luggage Locks (to go on the tool boxes): https://amzn.to/3kuPOgU
Magnetic Cabinet Locks: https://amzn.to/3ksbGK0
Convertible Car Seat: https://amzn.to/35vJakj
Basic Crib: https://amzn.to/37DFq32
Frames (make all those required documents part of your decor): https://amzn.to/3ooyUTO