Reasons Why People Fail the Home Study

A home study is just one hurdle to jump in the adoption process. While many home studies don’t have any issues, there are some instances when a home study would fail. These failed home studies are usually few and far between, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t still happen. Learn more about these reasons why people fail the home study during the adoption process.

Unauthorized Adults

One of the many questions to answer during a home study process is who is living within the home. Usually, this includes the parents and any other children but could also include a live-in grandparent or family member. These adults living in the house need to go through the same background check during the adoption process as they will have a direct relationship with the child. A home study will fail if a social worker finds that an unauthorized person is living within the home at any point within the adoption process.

Prior Convictions

While it is true that you may know someone with a criminal history who has adopted, it is important to note that past offenses can result in a failed home study. You have most likely been honest with your social worker about prior convictions, which is always essential. During your home study, you will be interviewed and will need to discuss the details of your convictions as well as how your life is different now. Minor convictions may not be a big deal, but it all depends on the social worker and your personal history.

Medical History

While most medical issues that are currently under control are reasonable, some may cause a social worker to fail a home study. These medical issues usually deal with the mental capacity of an adult and their ability to raise a child. Not all adults with mental health issues can handle the daily challenges of raising children.

Unsafe Living Conditions

Your social worker will visit your house multiple times throughout the home study process. Their job is to look for structural issues that could endanger a child. This includes exposed wiring, holes in the floor or walls, or anything that could be a hazard. Don’t worry if your home needs a remodel or you plan on doing some minor repairs. Many hopeful adoptive families live in perfectly safe homes that don’t have these issues.

Home Layout

Every state has its own laws when it comes to bedrooms for an adoptive child. Space limitations and layout are essential factors to note when in the home study process. The child’s room should meet all of the necessary guidelines for safety as well as a clear, direct exit to a hallway. Having a child’s room off of another bedroom, where they have to go through the other room to exit, would be an example of a home layout that could fail a home study.


It is vital to always be honest during the home study process. Social workers have seen everything and know what they are looking for. Even the slightest dishonest answer can fail a home study. Being truthful in your interviews is crucial. Hiding areas of your home that are not in regulation are other ways that you can fail a home study very quickly.

Too Perfect

If there is a room in your home that is strictly off-limits, or if you become agitated with a spilled cup of milk, there is a chance that you could fail the home study. This can be hard for those couples who don’t have children in the home and just keep a clean house. Showing that you know that kids are messy and that there will be stains on the carpet, broken windows, and probably lots of dust bunnies are important.

The purpose of the home study is to verify that a home is safe for a child. This includes both the actual structural layout of the house as well as those living within the home. Social workers want to place children who have already experienced a disruption in their lives to enter a safe and loving home with their adoptive family.

If you do fail a home study, ask if there is anything that you can do to comply with the standards. Showing that you are willing to do whatever it takes to have a safe home for a child is helpful during the adoption process. Consider these reasons why people fail the home study and do your best to be honest during the home study process.