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Understanding a family assessment during the adoption process

Adopting a new child into a family is certainly a joyous occasion. The steps leading up to that joy, however, can be stressful, complicated and involve several different factors. One such element Michigan residents may want to understand more completely is the family assessment.

A family assessment is a means by which an adoption worker screens a potential adoptive family. It is an early step in the adoption process and can focus on many different elements of the prospective family including the motivations and morals of the family, the relationship between the family the worker, a self-assessment of limitations and strengths and more. A worker may use several different types of methods during the assessment. These can range from more personal aspects such as individual interviews with the members of the family and written autobiographies to financial and legal elements such as credit reports and criminal and driving records.

All of these methods can help a worker see if a family may be fit to fully take on the adoption process. Understandable, given the gravity of the decision at hand, there are many different factors of the family that are examined. Ability to provide safety for a child, emotional maturity, empathy, coping skills and more are examined thoroughly to help ensure that the parents are reading and willing to make a lifelong commitment to a child.

The last step of the family assessment is to come to a conclusion of whether or not the family is indeed ready to fully begin the adoption process. There are three potential decisions: approval, deferral or rejection. In most cases, the decision is made jointly between the worker and the family.

Source: childwelfare.gov, "The Basics of Adoption Process: Family Assessment," Accessed on Sept. 16, 2014

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