If you are interested in adopting a child through the Children’s Aid Society, privately or internationally, you will need a homestudy. Only an adoption practitioner licensed by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services can conduct a homestudy. Many adoption practitioners are social workers but not all social workers are adoption practitioners.

The homestudy is a process to determine if the prospective adoptive applicants are ready to become adoptive parents. It is also an opportunity for the applicants to learn more about adoption. The homestudy consists of a series of visits at either the adoption practitioner’s office or in the applicants’ home. At least one of the visits must be conducted in the applicants’ home where a home safety checklist is completed. On average there are between four to six visits, but if needed there could be more.

During each visit, a different aspect of the applicants’ lives are explored and discussed. These areas include childhood history, personal characteristics, marriage (if applicable), general parenting topics and issues around parenting an adopted child.

Along with the required interviews, many documents are needed as part of the homestudy. They include items such as: local police checks, RCMP fingerprints and clearances, medical reports, references, child welfare agency record checks, and financial statements. There is a fee for the homestudy.

A private adoption practitioner can only recommend applicant(s) to become adoptive parents. A completed homestudy is sent to the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services - Adoption Unit for approval.

SAFE Homestudy and Pride Training
As of December 31, 2007, all applicants beginning a private or international homestudy must have their homestudy completed in the SAFE format and attend PRIDE training. The SAFE (Structured Analysis Family Evaluation)format is a new initiative that is geared toward creating a consistent format for all homestudies. Children’s Aid Societies use the SAFE format for their homestudies. Since the same SAFE format is utilizes in private and public sectors of adoption, applicants have the ability to use their homestudy for all types of adoption.

PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information Development and Education) training is a 27-hour mandatory education course for prospective adoptive applicants. The PRIDE training course covers educational material which is useful for parenting an adopted child or fostering. There is a fee for PRIDE training.