If you are considering adopting a child in Iowa, you need to be aware that preplacement and postplacement investigations are mandated by state law to ensure that you can provide a safe, stable home. Here are some of the elements considered in the investigation.

Under Iowa law, there are several factors that may disqualify you immediately as a candidate for adopting a minor. Specifically, the investigator cannot approve you if you have been convicted of any of these felony offenses:

  • Child endangerment, murder, robbery, sexual abuse or any other forcible felony
  • Domestic abuse
  • Sexual exploitation or other crimes against minors
  • A drug-related offense (within five years prior to the adoption petition)

Apart from ensuring that you have not been convicted of any crimes and do not have a record of child abuse, the investigator is also responsible for assessing and reporting on your physical, emotional and economic well-being. These factors are all relevant to how well you may be able to care for a child. The investigator may base his or her assessment on your relationship history, the state of your finances and other relevant life details. Last but not least, the investigator is charged with determining whether your home is safe and suitable for a minor.

State law also requires a postplacement investigation to confirm the information provided in the adoption petition. During this phase, the investigator is expected to make sure that the adoption is in the best interests of the child and that the placement is proceeding smoothly.

Before the adoption hearing, the report of the investigation must be provided to the court. As the adoption petitioner, you will receive a copy of the report on the background information investigation within 30 days of filing your petition.

This information is provided for educational purposes and is not intended as legal advice.