Adoption Professionals → General

Best Practices in Home Study Assessment

This course is a two-part series.

Experienced social workers outline the most critical parts of a comprehensive home study assessment and provide their expertise on best practices.

• Ann Cleary, LCSW - California Branch Director, Holt International
• Carolyn Cain, MSW - Social Worker, Holt International
• Gary Sampson, LICSW - Central California Adoption Social Worker, Post Adoption Coaching and Education (PACE) Supervisor, Holt International


An experienced panel addresses best practices for responding to complex situations that arise during the home study assessment. Experts in the field discuss how to best assess dynamics within the prospective adoptive family, and provide the education and training needed to adequately parent in unique situations.

• Deborah Fields, MS, LMHC - Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Agape Adoptions
• Amber Lewis, MS, LPS - Oklahoma Director of Social Services, America World Adoption Association
• Sophia Gardner, LMSW - Senior Manager of Pre and Post Adoption Services, Spence-Chapin Services to Families & Children
• Amy Imber - Executive Director, Connecting Hearts Adoption Services
• Emily Marshall, LCSW-C, LICSW - International Program Director, The Barker Adoption Foundation


After attending this course, professionals will be able to:
• Describe best practices for the stages of a home study process, including documentation gathering, in-person interviews, home inspection, and making a professional assessment and recommendation.
• Demonstrate best practices for social workers’ engagement with pre-adoptive families, including building rapport and assessing motivation to adopt and expectations for their child/family.
• Give examples of how the home study process can be tailored to the type of adoption prospective parent(s) is pursuing: private domestic, foster care, or intercountry adoption.
• Give guidance on collaborating with other providers during the assessment, such as agency staff, medical providers, employers, mental health providers, etc.
• Consider the importance of appropriately educating prospective adoptive parents during the home study process.
• Identify critical steps in preparing prospective adoptive families for post adoption during the home study assessment.
• Describe best practices for engaging families at the beginning of the home study process and assessing motivation for adoption.
• Demonstrate best practices for social worker's assessing historical factors that families may enter the process with; such as criminal history, substance abuse history, chronic mental health issues and/or recent grief and loss.
• Give examples of how the home study assessment and required education can be tailored to prospective parent(s) hoping to adopt multiple children, children with medical needs, older children and/or relatives.
• Give guidance on appropriate use of supervision in complex cases, as well as how to guard against worker bias and employ cultural humility.
• Identify characteristics and self-care practices that foster resilience in home study social workers, when working with families and children.


Total Course Length: 210 Minutes (3.5 hours) Total

Course level: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced

Cost to register: $30
If you are a NCFA member, look for your discount code in the membership portal.


National Council For Adoption, #1804, is approved as an ACE provider to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Regulatory boards are the final authority on courses accepted for continuing education credit. ACE provider approval period: 04/13/2023 – 04/13/2026. Social workers completing this course receive 3.5 continuing education credits.

This course does not offer credit for NJ or NY social workers. For more information on receiving CE credit please visit the FAQ tab. For additional information on the instructors please visit,,,,,, and

Updated January 27, 2023.
  • Best Practices in Home Study Assessment - Part 1 - Video (2 hrs)
  • Best Practices In Home Study Assessment - Part 2 - Video (1.5 hrs)
  • Best Practices in Home Study Assessment - Post Test
  • Best Practices in Home Study Assessment - Evaluation
Completion rules
  • All units must be completed
  • Leads to a certificate with a duration: Forever