Our fees are as follows:
$800 for a traditional two-parent home study in Austin and surrounding areas
$650 for a single, step or second-parent adoption home study in Austin and surrounding areas
Fees for post-placement services vary based on the requirements of that specific case such as number of meetings and reports.
A travel fee may apply.
There are two steps to the home study:
1.) The background checks and paperwork
2.) Home study interviews. This may be completed through one in-person meeting or a combination of brief in-person meeting and videocall interviews.
The first step is for families to complete paperwork, including submitting forms for their background checks. Since the Child Abuse/Neglect Background Check takes a long time to receive back, we can go ahead and complete our home visit and interviews while we wait on those results. After the initial paperwork is submitted to us, we can usually schedule the interview meeting(s) quickly, depending on the availability of the family. The final report is typically finalized within one or two weeks after the meetings, assuming all the required documentation has been provided.
Since the CPS background check can take a few months to receive, we recommend that families start with that. That background check is free, but must be notarized. You can find the form here: Request for Texas Child Abuse/Neglect Central Registry. Please note that the results are good for six months if adopting through Travis County and one year for other counties.
For stepparent or second-parent adoption home studies, the process is very similar to that of two-parent adoption studies. Almost all the same paperwork is submitted and both parents are interviewed. The individual interview with the biological parent is shorter than that for the adopting parent; however, the rest of the process is the same.
Depending on what county you are adopting through, your judge might require both parents (even the biological one) to complete the background checks. Please check with your attorney regarding your county and judge's specific requirements for background checks.
The Heart of Texas social workers are based in Austin but we do also travel to meet with families in other areas of Texas such as San Antonio, Houston and Dallas.
Besides completing the initial paperwork, there is not much else that families need to do to prepare for our home study interviews. The home study report is more about the people than it is about the house. We request a quick tour of the home and ask about plans for keeping children safe from bodies of water or firearms on the property, etc. However, the majority of the report is about your parenting style, relationships, careers, family and experiences during your childhood and only a small section pertains to the physical home environment.
Please contact us and we'll be happy to answer any questions you have.