What is the purpose of post- placement visits and what do they cover?
Post-placement visits are sometimes referred to as post- placement supervision. The two main purposes are to gather information and to provide support. Once a child has successfully been placed in your home, all states, private agencies and international countries will require one or more post-placement visits. The timing of these visits may need to conform to state, agency or country mandates. The social worker may only need to visit your home once or several times. This generally will take place somewhere between 3 and 6 months or at a 12- month interval, depending on the legal requirements of the county in which you reside and the country from which you adopted. A domestic adoption can not be finalized until a licensed social worker prepares a post-placement home study report. This report is then submitted to the court for a judge to approve the adoption.
The first purpose of the post- placement visit is to help make this a smooth transition. Adoption of a child can often involve significant adjustments for family members and to your home. Prior to adopting, your home may have been very orderly and now it has been transformed to accommodate toys, baby equipment and general chaos. The social worker is there to provide support, assistance and education to the adoptive parent(s). They are there to answer any questions you may have about general baby care, sibling adjustment reactions and to make referrals to other professionals if indicated. This is an opportunity to explore concerns about attachment, parenting, behavioral and/or health issues with your social worker.
The second purpose is to gather the necessary information required in order to prepare a written report to the court and or country of your child’s origin.
Many adoptive parents, to some extent are nervous about post-placement visits. They may feel that the social worker is ‘spying’ on them. Just as with the pre-placement home study, the post-placement report will cover a great deal of information. This report will address the issue of how the child and parent(s) are bonding and adjusting as a new family. The social worker will want to see you interact with your new child. They are not looking for the ‘perfect parent’, but one who is loving and sincere. Additionally, you will need a letter from your child’s pediatrician, stating the current health and developmental status, any health concerns, and that your child is up to date on all immunizations. A positive written statement from your child’s teacher also will be needed if they are of school age.
The post -placement visit needs to result in a favorable finding. In the case of domestic placements, the social worker genuinely wants the adoption to be finalized. They will be eager to help in any way to assure a successful placement. The social worker’s post-placement report to the court must state that they think the Petition to Adopt is in the ‘best interests of the child’ and; therefore, be granted. In almost all cases, the court will follow the recommendation of the social worker that the adoption be allowed to take place.
By Leslie Zindulka LCSW-R of Adoptiondoctors.com and Adoptioneducationclasses.com
Visit Leslie on the web at Adoptionsocialworkny.com