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Author Topic: Home Studies  (Read 1806 times)

gemini3

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Home Studies
« on: May 13, 2007, 02:34:40 PM »
Has anyone here had a home study done in VA?  Ours is coming up, and I'd like to know what to expect.

Thanks!


Kitty C.

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Not in VA, but.................
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2007, 08:53:02 PM »
..........I had one quite a few years ago, while DS and I were temprarily living with my mom.  I came home from work early for it, to find the house completely succomb to the incredible aroma of homebaked cinnamon rolls!  I asked Mom why she baked them on a weekday, since she usually does it on Saturdays.  She said that she had heard that to sell a house, one tip is to bake bread or something equally as fragrant to make it more 'homey'.  She said she figured cinnamon rolls would work as well, and figured it couldn't hurt.

When the social worker got there, I gave her a tour of the house, then we sat down for an 'interview'.  She asked about my job and financial situation, particularly when I expected to get a place for DS and me.  I told her within 9 months, which ended up being right on target.  I even asked her if she would like a roll, but she declined.....amazing, since they were making my mouth water!  I don't know if the rolls were a factor, but I do know we got a glowing report!

The only other tips I could give is to make sure everything is clean, but don't go to the level of toothbrush in the crevasses and corners.  I go by the motto on the plaque in my kitchen:  'My house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy!'  Make sure you have the right number of smoke and CO2 detectors and a heat detector would be a good idea as well.  Have an evacuation plan, too.  If you have babies or toddlers, make sure you have the house child-proofed.  But above all else, just be yourselves.  It's understandable to be nervous, but be honest with all questions.....remember the saying:  'Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.'  Let that be your guide........
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......

durandal

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RE: Home Studies
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2007, 04:11:44 PM »
Yes.

I just had a home study, and I live in Virginia. I don't know where you reside in the state, but here's my experience with the home study process:

1) You will be contacted by a social worker, in my case via mail, who is assigned to your case. You will be given a packet of information, which will include a rather lengthy questionnaire. The questionnaire will cover things like your childhood, family status, parents, siblings, attitudes about parenting, upbringing, work history, criminal history (for all family members), income, education, religious beliefs, and your goals for your child(ren) as they relate to some or most of thses things.

You will also have an opportunity to explain how you ended up in your current condition - i.e. in court. You will be asked to provide as much background information as possible to assist the social worker in making their evaluation.

You will be required to authorize a criminal background check on yourself and any family members currently living in the home in question. You will also have to have the papers notarized to verify that what you have stated in them is true and accurate.

2) Next, you will be contacted by the social worker, or sent a letter stating instructing you to appear for a office interview. Follow the instructions to the letter, and try to be as complaint witht the social workers needs as possible. Remember, they may have a heavy caseload, and you don't want to be one of the cases that stand out as causing complications.

At this time, you probably will get a determination on the amount of money the home study will cost you. It is entirely based on your situation, so you may pay some, all, or none of the fee - but it will be determined again based on your and the opposing parties circmustances. Be prepared, it could be quite an hefty sum. Pay it promptly - just get the money and pay it.

When you go the the interview, just plan to discuss the things in your questionnaire, and probably to go into more details about any of those topics - but in particular your lifestyle, world view, and outlook on life. Basically whatever the social worker asks, be prepared to discuss. One thing - just be honest, dont be evasive, and just try to be pleasant and cooperative with your worker. I cannot stress the importance of being open but HONEST. If you are dishonest, they often have many years of professional training and experience in detecting this, and they WILL see thru it. Mines lasted over an hour, but of course it may vary. Its very likely that you will be asked NOT to have the child with you in this interview, so make sure you have sitting arrangements setup.

3) You will then be contacted, or perhaps at the office interview, to have a home visit scheduled - probably a few weeks after the office interview. It is very probable that they will want to see you in the home study with the child in your presence, so if you can, make arrangements to have the child with you - or better yet, just follow the lead the social worker gives you.

Make sure the house is clean, not pristine, but tidy and clean are just that. Be sure to check the entire home for anything which can be hazardous to your child, and either place out of harms way or make it inacessible. Be creative in figuring out what is dangerous for your child - you might not think a clothes iron on a ironing board is dangerous, but if the child can grab the cord and pull the iron down onto himself - you get the picture. Tie up the cords to window blinds - they pose a strangulation hazard. Of course - chemicals and small objects which may be ingested should not be anywhere in the home within reach. YOU GET THE PICTURE... I cannot stress the preparation, especially safety, enough. The social worker will not miss a thing, I can guarantee you that.

Have your somke detectors working, have a fire extinguisher handy. Safety items like outlet plugs, cabinet locks, etc. are cheap, easy to use and show your diligence to your worker. If you smoke, I would strongly advise you to start doing so outside of the home. It will reflect very poorly in your study of you do, and they WILL know. Don't lie about it, but be perpared to be stop smoking inside. So, if that's the case, just clean and remove the odor the best you can, and just make an honest decision that the smoking inside the home stops NOW. Outside, who cares, but not in the home, period.

You should also not have an empty fridge, or one just stocked with beer. Likewise, having a frodge with fresh foods, milk, veggies, etc. is going to go over better than one with several McDonalds bags in it.

Finally, have items which your child needs - crib, playpen, stroller, high chair, etc. (of course depending on the age of your child). Have some supplies ready if you are the NCP, of course this applies if you are currently the CP as well. Have clothes for the child - you don't have to have a Paris Hilton wardrobe for the child, but having several changes of clothes and all the attendant garments will suffice. Also, toiletries, furniture, toys, books, etc. show that you are on top of things and have thought things thru.

THE HOME STUDY - The social worker will probably want to sit down and go over some things from the office interview, maybe not. They may just take a look around, or may want to talk first. They may want to look at things in detail, or just take a general look around. In my case, a general look around was fine. Just go with the flow. as long as you've PERPARED, just be presentable, friendly and open your home to them. They will probalby pay attention to the child's room, and your living situation in general. They may not seem to be doing so, but again, they won't miss anything, so be thorough in making your home nice, and most importantly, safe for the child(ren).

Be nice, take the anxiety in stride, and be honest and candid about your goals. Remember that you can make changes, and nobody's perfect, but you have to be willing to provide the best environment for the child that you can - that's what the home study's all about.

By the way, check the archives on this site, they have several good reads on home studies, and also on the types of social workers you may encounter, their professional credentials and what they might mean for your study, etc. - check em out.

GOOD PREPARATION AND GOOD LUCK!

gemini3

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RE: Home Studies
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2007, 12:36:42 PM »
wow - thank your really detailed reply.  It's really hard for us not knowing what to expect, and it helps to hear from people who have "been there, done that".

hisliltulip

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RE: Home Studies
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2007, 09:43:04 AM »
Not in VA, but we had a home study done in MN in 2003.

The previous poster hit all the right things, just wanted to add another.

Our evaluator liked the fact that there were a lot of pics up of the kids, we have a lot of those frames that you can put a lot of pics in.

I purposely added a few extra frames showing all the children through various stages along with pics of us with them.  It gives the house a more "homey" feel.



durandal

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RE: Home Studies
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2007, 03:06:57 PM »
no problem...

yep, the unknown caused me lots of worry, but in the end it was pretty straightforward.

 

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