WHFC Partner Agency Web
- WHFC Home Study Guidelines
- Older Child Agreement - needed for all cases approving a family for a child over 24 months
- Motivational Guide - Older Child Adoption
- Motivational Guide - Child with known medical needs
- WHFC Pre-Adoption Education Expectations
We look forward to our continued work together!
Maryanne Ludwig, MSW, LICSW
Director of Family Services
- What is the WHFC application process?
Our application process involves three paperwork steps. They are out-lined here in case a client alerts you of being in a particular phase of the process.
Registration: This is a brief form available either in our information packet or directly on our website. Once this form is received, the complete application packet (Packets A and B) will be sent to a family.
Packet A/Application: This packet includes the actual application form and various agency agreements. It also includes a release in which the client gives us permission to share information with you. Receipt of this packet and Agency Fee I is when a client is applied to WHFC. Upon receipt of this application packet, the client is assigned a WHFC case worker who will be in touch with both the family and you. This is when you will be sent the WHFC Exempt or Supervised Provider agreement specific to the case.
Packet B: This packet includes items that are needed prior to WHFC being able to approve officially the client’s home study. Packet B includes photocopies of medicals for all household members, the Pre-Adoption Education checklist, an insurance affidavit, and items related to the client’s hope to adopt an older child or child with known medical needs (if applicable).
- Who is the best point of contact for me at WHFC?
Once Packet A has been received, each client is assigned to a WHFC social worker who has experience working with out of state families. Her role is to be a support to the family early in the process and to help make certain that they are making an appropriate country program choice for their family. If through her conversations with the family, she develops concerns, she will pass that information along to you so that you can work together to support and educate the family. Her role is also to be a resource to you and to answer any questions you may have. She will ask to review a draft of the home study to make certain that it meets any quirky country criteria. Currently, there are two WHFC staff who function in this capacity:
Maryanne Ludwig, MSW, LICSW
Lisa Lovett, MSW, LICSW
If you have questions about who has been assigned a particular case, feel free to reach out to any of us and we will direct you to the right person. Once we receive the original, notarized, approved home study, the client is then assigned to a case manager on the appropriate country team. However, the original social worker will continue to be a resource for you should you have any questions and can direct you to additional staff should that be helpful.
- Does WHFC have a specific format for the home study?
WHFC can be flexible about formatting, as long as all of the information in our home study guideline (downloadable from above) is included. Our guide includes both general and country-specific (pages 9-10) information. This guide is updated frequently so it is best to download when you are beginning to write the home study.
- What is the process for having a home study reviewed/approved?
Please send a draft of the home study to the social worker who was assigned the case at application and who has been in touch with you. We generally review home study drafts within a day or two after receipt and will respond with requested changes. Then, please send an original of the study directly to WHFC in addition to any originals you are providing to the family for USCIS, their dossiers, or their files. Once the final home study is received and approved by WHFC, we will send both you and the client a notice of the approval which can be used for additional purposes (i.e., I800A application, grant applications). Please note, that in order to approve a family’s home study, we will make certain that the WHFC file is complete and that all Packet B items have been received.
- Are there additional items that I should include when sending the home study?
Maybe. There a few items that must be received by WHFC prior to home study approval and involve your or your agency’s input. They can either be sent in advance of the home study or along with it. These include:
- WHFC Supervised or Exempt Provider agreement: Will be sent to you for signature once family applies to WHFC
- Agency License: a copy of your agency’s current license
- Pre-adoption Education Checklist: This is a form completed by the client and signed by you indicating the education they have received
- Older Child Agreement (if applicable): This is an agreement co-signed by you and the family indicating they understand the range of adjustment challenges they may face in adopting a child over the age of 2
- For families adopting the Philiippines, please be aware that there will be additional items we request related to the ICPC process. These may include a statement of fees paid, Florida Adoptive Home Application, additional originals of the home study, etc.
- How often should a home study be updated?
In most cases, updates are only needed in order to keep the I600A or I800A approval current and should be initiated several months in advance of that clearance expiring (as long as no state requirements prevail). However, in the case of the Philippines, ICPC will need to be filed after a child has been referred and a home study no older than a year is always needed for that process, including clearances and medicals that are also less than a year old. WFHC will also alert you if we become aware that an update is needed due to a change in family circumstances or child request
- Are there unique requirements for families adopting an older child or a child with known medical needs?
Yes. We are very excited when clients have expressed an interest in adopting a child who may be harder to place due to their age or medical/developmental needs. We are committed to the successful placement of all children and to the preparation of families for unique adoption plans. Not every family who would be an appropriate resource for a low-risk adoption is the right match for a higher-risk plan and we very much rely on your clinical judgment and work with the family. If you are working with a family who is pursuing such and adoption, please download the appropriate Motivational Guide from above. For older children, please also see the Older Child Agreement. We also request that the family identify additional resources in their area, speak with reference families, and participate in the education noted on the pre-adoption education checklist. Please feel free to speak with WHFC social worker assigned to the case should you have any questions or concerns regarding the family and their adoption plans.
- What milestones will I be informed about?
WHFC will make certain to keep you updated about significant milestones regarding your client’s process. We will be in touch regarding any concerns we have regarding a client or their process. Similarly, please feel free to reach out to us if you receive new information about the family or have concerns. Additionally, we will be in touch if a home study update is needed in addition to the ones required for keeping an I600A or I800A current. We will notify you when your client has received a referral and pass along the child’s information for your files. Additionally, we will send a post placement packet in advance of a family’s travel (though travel is sometimes on such short notice, that it may arrive when they have already left)
- What are the post placement requirements?
Once a family’s travel dates are known, we will forward a post placement packet to your agency and the family with a customized post placement schedule. In general, we do advise as least three visits in the first six months and know that many states/agencies require this. However, our post placement schedule only details the reports that are needed by WHFC. For all countries, a one month and a six month report are needed. Additional reports vary by country:
- China: annual reports for five years
- Colombia: 15 months and 21 months
- Costa Rica: 12, 18, and 24 months
- Ethiopia: One Year
- Russia: 1, 2, and 3 years (specific format needed)
- Rwanda: 1 and 2 years
- Taiwan: 1 year