The cost of an adoption home study can vary significantly depending on the type of home study you need and the state where it’s being conducted. The study may be free. But it may also cost up to about $4000.
Adoption Home Study Types and Their Associated Costs
Domestic Infant Adoption Home Study: The cost for a domestic infant adoption home study will vary depending on your state and the type of provider you choose. An independent social worker who is qualified to provide a home study in your state may provide it at a lower cost than a licensed adoption agency. This is because licensed agencies have higher overhead and operating costs and are also more heavily regulated, often leading them to charge more. The cost for a domestic infant adoption home study typically ranges from about $900 to $4000.
Embryo Adoption Home Study: The cost for an embryo adoption home study is similar to that of a domestic infant adoption home study. So here too, the cost will usually range from about $900 to $4000 depending on the provider you use and the state you are in.
International Home Study: These home studies often have more requirements than a domestic home study. This is because they not only need to meet the requirements of a domestic adoption, but they also need to meet the requirements of the country you plan to adopt from. Because of the extra requirements, the fees typically range from $2000-$5500 depending on the agency you are working with and the state you live in.
Foster-to-Adopt Home Study: These home studies are usually free. The costs are paid by the state or the foster care agency that you are working with.
Kinship Home Study: If you will be caring for a child or sibling group who are in the guardianship of the state as a “kinship provider”, the home study will likely be performed by the state or by a foster care agency and will probably be free of charge. If the state is not involved, you may need to get a kinship home study completed privately. These are usually less expensive than a traditional home study and can range from $600-$2000, depending on the provider you choose and the state you are in.
Why Home Study Costs Vary by State
Home study costs vary from state to state for many reasons, but often it’s because of differences in state laws and their various requirements. If the laws of a state require the provider to visit with you in-person three times, the home studies there will be more expensive than in a state that requires only one in-person visit. The same is true for how lengthy the educational requirements are or if the home study has to be approved by the court system.
Additional Fees that Providers May Charge
It’s important to recognize that there may be additional fees you’ll be asked to pay as part of the home study process and those can vary from provider to provider.
Application Fee: Not all home study providers charge an application fee, but some do. Ask your provider if there is an additional fee for the home study application. If there is an application fee, it can vary from $100 to $1000.
Travel: Some providers charge extra for the home study social worker’s travel. This is especially likely if you live in a more rural area of the state and the social worker must travel a significant distance to your home. These fees are often billed at either an hourly or mileage-specific rate. Many providers charge the federal mileage rate, which hovers around 50-60 cents per mile.
Education: Not all providers require adoption education as part of the home study process, but many do—and in some states it’s required by state law. If an educational component is required, some providers may conduct the training in-house for an additional fee. Others will ask you to complete the training through online adoption courses, which you must pay for. Often these education costs can range from $80 to $900.
Before you get started with your home study provider, make sure you have a copy of their fee schedule and a clear understanding of all of the fees involved with their home study services. It’s common for agencies to provide you with a copy of their fee schedule upfront as part of their packet of information before you begin. But if they don’t, you should ask for one.