By Mandy Tennity

Home studies allow Lutheran Family Services of Virginia to prepare families as they consider adding to their families, better match the child who will best fit their home, and to determine whether there are any supports that will help a family be more successful. LFSVA’s home study process uses the Structured Analysis Family Evaluation (S.A.F.E) developed by the Consortium for Children. It is a standardized home study practice that ensures the home study is thorough for all families.

The home study process consists of three to five home visits during which a worker from our agency will interview everyone who lives in the home. Typically, the home visits are completed once per week depending on the family and worker availability.

During the home visit, the worker will ask personal questions about family relationships; financial information; conflict resolution style; neighborhood and community resources, and work and household structure. Based on these conversations, the worker will collaborate with the family to determine what type of child would work best in the home, based on age range, gender, needs level and other factors.

“Our home study process is an opportunity to learn more about the family and what their interests are as it pertains to the type of child would fit in their home,” says Maurice Gallimore, resource family coordinator.

The process from start to finish can take anywhere from three to six months. A formal letter of approval is sent out once the home study is completed and approved, which usually takes about two weeks after the final visit.

Once the letter of approval is received, you’re ready to enter the matching process to have a child placed in your home! We’ll look at the matching process in part four of our series.

Read Becoming a foster parent (Part two): Foster parent training

Read Becoming a foster parent (Part four): The matching process

Interested in becoming a foster parent in the Richmond or Tidewater/Virginia Beach area? Contact Mandy Tennity at or fill out our form.