Individuals planning to adopt a child in all states of the U.S. and in the District of Columbia are required to complete a home study. Many people become nervous when faced with the home-study process, but steps can be taken in advance that will make the home a safer environment for a child. Before a social worker comes to your house, carefully search your home for any hazards that may be present, and childproof the area. Creating a safe, secure environment for a child is a necessity.
Install smoke alarms, and verify that they are operational. If you already have smoke alarms installed, test them to make sure the batteries are fully charged.
Secure all firearms. Place guns in a gun safe, and lock up bullets. Children should not be able to access any firearms that are in your house.
Cover electrical outlets with plastic outlet covers. If you are planning to adopt an infant or a toddler, the electric covers are particularly important. You do not want a child to be able to stick objects into the outlets.
Put childproof locks on any cabinets that contain hazardous chemicals (such as cleaning products). All medicines should also be placed out of reach of children (in high cabinets or also secured with childproof locks).
Designate a room for the child. The room does not need to be prepared with a crib or decorations (parents may not even know the age of the child they are adopting yet), but you need to show the social worker that the child will be given an adequate living space. The room should have at least one window in case of a fire.
Install a fence if you have a built-in swimming pool. Erect the fence to a height of at least 4 feet, and ensure that the fence completely surrounds the pool. Pool alarms can also be installed as an added precaution.
Keep hygiene in mind as you clean your home (remove dust, mold, and garbage). Although social workers are not expecting a spotless house, your home still must be clean.
View your home through the eyes of a child. Bend down to a child's level, and check for any hazards that may be present. Adults are used to seeing their home from a greater height, so check down low when you are childproofing your environment.