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March 2016Vol. 17, No. 1Assessment for Prospective Adoptive Parents, Foster Caregivers

Family Interview Guide: A Guide for Foster Care Workers and Adoption Assessors is a comprehensive resource for professionals working with prospective adoptive parents and foster caregivers. Developed for the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program by the Institute for Human Services, the guide is intended to provide assessors with guidance in their interviews with families, including kinship care families, who are in the foster care and adoption application process in Ohio.

Assessors must be adequately prepared to determine the appropriateness and readiness of a family for foster care or adoption and also be able to meet the needs of the families and children they serve. The interview guide serves as a starting point to improve service delivery and competency in order to address and meet these needs. Primarily, the guide focuses on intentionally gathering data from individualized family assessments, which allows assessors to consider placing a child with the respective home. While the family assessment, or home study, is primarily composed of interviews, the guide identifies a range of additional assessment opportunities including applicant/family observations, background and reference check, assessor's experience with the family, and Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System database searches.

This interview guide discusses important steps and strategies in family assessment that can support effective outcomes. The guide also addresses the following 12 assessment categories and includes definitions, sample questions, and indicators of family functioning for each:

  1. Attitudes and beliefs regarding foster care and adoption issues
  2. Motivation to foster or adopt
  3. Personal and emotional maturity
  4. Stability and quality of interpersonal relationships
  5. Coping skills and history of stress management
  6. Level of openness in family relationships
  7. Parenting skills and abilities
  8. Ability to empathize with others
  9. Understanding of entitlement issues
  10. Ability and willingness to take a hands-on parenting approach
  11. Ability to make and honor commitments
  12. Religious affiliation and/or spiritual beliefs

The Institute for Human Services emphasizes that assessors should use this guide solely for the purpose of guidance and building competency, as all assessments should be tailored to the specific family.

The Family Interview Guide: A Guide for Foster Care Workers and Adoption Assessors (second edition) is available at (1 MB).