Here are six tips from Nicole, AFTH’s Office Manager in Allentown, about ways to keep your home study paperwork organized.
Make Copies of all Paperwork, Including Checks
We recommend keeping a record of all documents you send your social worker. By doing so, you have access to everything you’ve provided to AFTH and the update/renewal process becomes easier because you can reference what you’ve sent in the past.
Be Aware of Timing
Keep in mind that some steps will take longer than others. Your clearances, for example, may require you to make an appointment during specific business hours and will take time to receive. Consider the ed course schedule for your first home study and the continuing education requirement when updating your home study. Furthermore, you may want to call your doctor early in the home study process, as most office’s schedule their patients weeks ahead of time. Just make sure to plan ahead and start early!
Send Home Study Paperwork in ONE Bulk Mailing
By sending all required paperwork at once, your social worker can very easily determine if anything is missing. Plus, they are able to process your paperwork more quickly and ensure your home study is completed as soon as possible.
Send Only the Relevant Paperwork
Your supporting financial documents are often the largest portion of your home study paperwork, especially for a home study update. Statements, loans, leases, deeds, etc. typically contain many pages, and just create more bulk. We only require the first page or so of financial paperwork, so save time by only sending relevant pages. For example, if your loan statement provides an overview of the total loan and remaining balance on the first page, you only need to provide that one page.
Label Your Paperwork
Much of the required home study paperwork, especially financial, is difficult to differentiate. To ensure your paperwork is processed as quickly as possible, we recommend you provide labeling for each piece of documentation. This could mean post-it notes, numbered documents with a table of contents, etc.
Add Expiration Dates to Your Calendar
While AFTH will notify you of an upcoming home study, clearance, or medical expiration, it’s helpful to put those dates in your calendar to plan ahead. For most states, medicals, clearances, and a home study will need to be renewed yearly, but we recommend confirming with your social worker.
We hope these tips prove to be helpful in keeping your home study paperwork organized.