Suitability Study: In some states a Suitability Study is a separate report that is prepared for the court by the adoption caseworker, while in other states it is included as part of the post-placement report that the caseworker prepares for the court. The purpose of this study is to provide the court with a professional evaluation of whether the home of the adoptive parents is a suitable and nurturing place for this child to live and be cared for, or in other words, is this an adoption match that will be in the best interests of the child.
A study of this type can be more useful in situations where the adoption of this particular child by these particular parents may create unique challenges for the child and/or the adoptive parents, which might not be present, were the adoptive parents to adopt another child with different characteristics or needs, or if the child were to be adopted by another set of parents that had a different background, or who lived in different circumstances.
In practice, the adoption of a bi-racial child, an ethnically diverse child, a physically, medically or emotional challenged child, a child from a different culture or foreign country, a child that has been removed from a supportive sibling group, or even an older child with established habits, behavior and expectations, may make this type of study more necessary and more meaningful for the court and the adoptive parents. The purpose or focus of this study is not to spy on, judge or criticize the adoptive parents or their parenting abilities, but to inform, educate, support and encourage them in becoming better, more effective and more satisfied parents.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI): A Federally funded, needs-based disability program covering both adults and children, which provides monthly cash benefits and, in most states, automatic Medicaid eligibility.