Pre-adoption Process:
The psychosocial assessment (Homestudy)

Why a psychosocial assessment 1

    The Quebec Civil Code provides that any Quebec resident who wants to adopt a child residing outside Quebec must beforehand undergo a psychosocial assessment. The homestudy is therefore a condition imposed by the law.This enables the Quebec and foreign authorities responsible for adoption to ensure that the adopters are able to satisfy the needs of the child. This psychosocial assessment must also be done in accordance with the conditions and criteria established in the Youth Protection Act of Quebec (L.Q., cp-34.1). This law makes provision that:
  • the assessment focus on the adopters ability to satisfy the physical, psychological and social needs of the child;

  • the assessment criteria are jointly drawn by the directors of youth protection and the professional corporations of psychologists and social workers of Quebec;

  • the adopters may peruse those criteria which will serve as the basis for the psychosocial assessment;

  • the assessment is generally done by the directors of youth protection. However, for the cases in which the judgment of adoption is granted in the child's country of origin, the assessment may be performed, at the adopters expense, by a member of the professional corporations of psychologists and social workers of Quebec chosen by the adopters in the lists provided by those corporations.

To clarify the necessity of the assessment, the majority of the foreign States, if not all, in accordance to there laws, demand that the adopters file presented to them includes a document establishing the psychosocial situation of the adopters (homestudy).

Here is who can do the psychosocial assessment depending on the country
Judgment issued in Québec
(order of placement)
The assessment must be done by the Youth protection directord (directeur de la protection de la jeunesse or DPJ).
South Korea
United States *
Dominican Rep. *
  (if legal custody)
*  There is two ways to proceed in USA and Dominican Rep., check with the SAI.
Judgment issued abroad
(recognition of judgment)
The assessment is done by the DPJ or it may be done, at a cost for adopters, by a psychologist or social worker.
El Salvador
United States *
Dominican Rep. *
  (if legal custody)
*  There is two ways to proceed in USA and Dominican Rep., check with the SAI.
Source: Secrétariat à l'adoption international, jugements d'adoption, June 11, 1996.

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Choosing the evaluator: psychologist or social worker 2

    When your preparatory thoughts are rounded off, when you have chosen a country and made sure that you satisfy all their criteria, when you have estimated the cost of your adoption project, in brief when your pre-adoption process is completed, you can begin the step of the psychosocial assessment.

As mentioned above, the choice of the assessor depends on the country you have selected. There are three possibilities:

  1. If the judgment of adoption is not granted in the child's country of origin, you must ask the Centres jeunesse (Youth centers) of your region to appoint a professional for your psychosocial assessment.

  2. If the judgment of adoption is pronounced in the child's country of origin, you have the possibility to choose a professional for your assessment among the members of the professional corporations of psychologists and social workers of Quebec. These organizations can provide lists of there members in your region.

  3. No matter if the judgment is granted in the child's country or not, some countries require that the assessment be done by a governmental organization, in this instance by the Youth centers.

Note that, in a given country, there may be cases in which the judgment of adoption is granted and other cases in which they are not; those are special situations. After your assessment, if you decide to change the country of origin and that your choice corresponds to option a) instead of b), you must contact the Youth center of your region. Depending on the country requirements, the Youth center will decide the judiciousness of a complementary assessment, which can involve some costs.

The assessment cost depends on the assessor and the number of encounters needed, which can depend on the relative complexity of your case. The psychosocial assessment cost is in the region of 500$Can. Top of the page

Basic criteria of the psychosocial assessment 2

    Here are the basic criteria pertaining to the psychosocial assessment of international adoption projects in Quebec. They have been prepared by the Ordre des psychologues du Québec (psychologist corporation), the Ordre professionnel des travailleurs sociaux du Québec (social workers) and the directors of youth protection. Another page gives explanations about the principal criteria of this list, you can reach it through the button link under the table.

1. Submission of the application
2. Clarification of the evaluator's mandate
3. Motivation for the adoption
4. Socioeconomic and cultural situation
5. Personal history of each of the spouses
6. Married life
7. Parent-child relationship, if applicable
8. Parental aptitudes for adoption
9. Specific parental aptitudes for international adoption
10. Effects of carrying out the adoption plan
11. Conclusion and recommendation
a) Summary and professional opinion
b) Specific recommendations for the assessed project

Criteria explained

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Surviving through the psychosocial assessment

    Nobody really likes to be evaluated, in particular on very personal matters such as conjugal life and parental aptitudes. At first it is normal to be upset by this assessment necessary to become adoptive parents especially when it is not required to be assessed when planning biological children... And yet, some futur biological parents would benefit from a similar assessment...

After this first reaction, one begins to think that it is only another step in a long and complex process. One might even tell him or herself, it is just a formality. Wrong.

First of all, you must realize that international adoption is a gesture, my god, international. It commits not only yourself but also the bureaucratic and judiciary authorities of two countries and especially it concerns the fate of a child living in another culture at thousands of kilometers. It is the least of things that adoption guarantees to the child a better life than in his country of origin, and not the opposite.

Besides, you took the time to be well prepared. You have read the pages of this site (or others) devoted to the pre-adoption process and you gave much thought to your adoption project 3. You thought about all the questions the evaluator might ask you. Why do you want to adopt? Are you sad to be infertile? Why this particular country? Is your family made up of people of colour or various ethic groups? Etc. Etc. Whatever the question, you are ready.

Lastly, under the the circumstances, your desire to have a child is stronger than the inconvenience of being subjected to the inquisitive eye of an "homestudy expert". In the end, it is better to conclude that the psychosocial assessment is a good opportunity to validate your choice and to strengthen your couple ties in order to achieve your adoption plan.

Oh, by the way! If you think you need to cheat or to hide things to obtain a positive evaluation, think again. Firstly, you would be lieing to yourself. If some matters constitutes objections to your project to the extent that you must hide them, it means you reached the conclusion that this project must be call into question. Secondly, the professionals who conduct these assessments are more experienced after a few years at it, they will see into your little game. Lastly, when about to lie or to distort the reality, think of the child: would you also lie to him?


  1. Newletter of the Secrétariat à l'adoption internationale (Adopt-info), Montréal, avril 1994, vol.2, no 3, page 6.

  2. The psychosocial assessment: a guide for parents applying for international adoption, prepared by the Secrétariat à l'adoption internationale (SAI) and adopted by the comité de coordination en adoption du Québec, Octobre 1996. This document is available in english from the SAI.

  3. Take the time to read the pages "Une réflexion s'impose" and "Mythes et réalités" (for the moment only available in french). You will not necessarily find the exact wording of the questions that you will have to answer but the subject matters covered are the same as those addressed by the evaluators.

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