| Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 2909 (ih) To provide for implementation by the United States of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, and for other purposes. [Introduced in House] ...
H.R. 2909 (ih) To provide for implementation by the United States of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, and for other purposes. [Introduced in House] ...
Senate. (b) Report Elements.--Each report under subsection (a) shall set forth with respect to the year concerned, the following: (1) The number of intercountry adoptions involving immigration to the United States, regardless of whether the adoption occurred under the Convention, including the country from which each child emigrated, the State to which each child immigrated, and the country in which the adoption was finalized. (2) The number of intercountry adoptions involving emigration from the United States, regardless of whether the adoption occurred under the Convention, including the country to which each child immigrated and the State from which each child emigrated. (3) The number of Convention placements for adoption in the United States that were disrupted, including the country from which the child emigrated, the age of the child, the date of the placement for adoption, the reasons for the disruption, the resolution of the disruption, the agencies that handled the placement for adoption, and the plans for the child, and in addition, any information regarding disruption or dissolution of adoptions of children from other countries received pursuant to section 422(b)(14) of the Social Security Act, as amended by section 205 of this Act. (4) The average time required for completion of a Convention adoption, set forth by country from which the child emigrated. (5) The current list of agencies accredited and persons approved under this Act to provide adoption services. (6) The names of the agencies and persons temporarily or permanently debarred under this Act, and the reasons for the debarment. (7) The range of adoption fees charged in connection with Convention adoptions involving immigration to the United States and the median of such fees set forth by the country of origin. (8) The range of fees charged for accreditation of agencies and the approval of persons in the United States engaged in providing adoption services under the Convention. TITLE II--PROVISIONS RELATING TO ACCREDITATION AND APPROVAL SEC. 201. ACCREDITATION OR APPROVAL REQUIRED IN ORDER TO PROVIDE ADOPTION SERVICES IN CASES SUBJECT TO THE CONVENTION. (a) In General.--Except as otherwise provided in this title, no person may offer or provide adoption services in connection with a Convention adoption in the United States unless that person-- (1) is accredited or approved in accordance with this title; or (2) is providing such services through or under the supervision and responsibility of an accredited agency or approved person. (b) Exceptions.--Subsection (a) shall not apply to the following: (1) Background studies and home studies.--The performance of a background study on a child or a home study on a prospective adoptive parent, or any report on any such study by a social work professional or organization who is not providing any other adoption service in the case, if the background or home study is approved by an accredited agency. (2) Child welfare services.--The provision of a child welfare service by a person who is not providing any other adoption service in the case. (3) Legal services.--The provision of legal services by a person who is not providing any adoption service in the case. (4) Prospective adoptive parents acting on own behalf.--The conduct of a prospective adoptive parent on his or her own behalf in the case, to the extent not prohibited by the law of the State in which the prospective adoptive parent resides. SEC. 202. PROCESS FOR ACCREDITATION AND APPROVAL; ROLE OF ACCREDITING ENTITIES. (a) Designation of Accrediting Entities.-- (1) In general.--The Secretary shall enter into agreements with one or more qualified entities under which such entities will perform the duties described in subsection (b) in accordance with the Convention, this title, and the regulations prescribed under section 203, and upon entering into each such agreement shall designate the qualified entity as an accrediting entity. (2) Qualified entities.--In paragraph (1), the term ``qualified entity'' means-- (A) a nonprofit private entity that has expertise in developing and administering standards for entities providing child welfare services and that meets such other criteria as the Secretary may by regulation establish; or (B) a public entity (other than a Federal entity), including an agency or instrumentality of State government having responsibility for licensing adoption agencies, that-- (i) has expertise in developing and administering standards for entities providing child welfare services; (ii) accredits only agencies located in the State in which the public entity is located; and (iii) meets such other criteria as the Secretary may by regulation establish. (b) Duties of Accrediting Entities.--The duties described in this subsection are the following: (1) Accreditation and approval.--Accreditation of agencies, and approval of persons, to provide adoption services in the United States in cases subject to the Convention. (2) Oversight.--Ongoing monitoring of the compliance of accredited agencies and approved persons with applicable requirements, including review of complaints against such agencies and persons in accordance with procedures established by the accrediting entity and approved by the Secretary. (3) Enforcement.--Taking of adverse actions (including requiring corrective action, imposing sanctions, and refusing to renew, suspending, or canceling accreditation or approval) for noncompliance with applicable requirements, and notifying the agency or person against whom adverse actions are taken of the deficiencies necessitating the adverse action. (4) Data, records, and reports.--Collection of data, maintenance of records, and reporting to the Secretary, the United States central authority, State courts, and other entities (including on persons and agencies granted or denied approval or accreditation), to the extent and in the manner that the Secretary requires. (c) Remedies for Adverse Action by Accrediting Entity.-- (1) Correction of deficiency.--An agency or person who is the subject of an adverse action by an accrediting entity may re-apply for accreditation or approval (or petition for termination of the adverse action) on demonstrating to the satisfaction of the accrediting entity that the deficiencies necessitating the adverse action have been corrected. (2) No other administrative review.--An adverse action by an accrediting entity shall not be subject to administrative review. (3) Judicial review.--An agency or person who is the subject of an adverse action by an accrediting entity may petition the United States district court in the judicial district in which the agency is located or the person resides to set aside the adverse action. The court shall review the adverse action in accordance with section 706 of title 5, United States Code, and for purposes of such review the accrediting entity shall be considered an agency within the meaning of section 701 of such title. (d) Fees.--The amount of fees assessed by accrediting entities for the costs of accreditation shall be subject to approval by the Secretary. Such fees may not exceed the costs of accreditation. In reviewing the level of such fees, the Secretary shall consider the relative size of, the geographic location of, and the number of Convention adoption cases managed by the agencies or persons subject to accreditation or approval by the accrediting entity. SEC. 203. STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES FOR PROVIDING ACCREDITATION OR APPROVAL. (a) In General.-- (1) Promulgation of regulations.--The Secretary, shall, by regulation, prescribe the standards and procedures to be used by accrediting entities for the accreditation of agencies and the approval of persons to provide adoption services in the United States in cases subject to the Convention. (2) Consideration of views.--In developing such regulations, the Secretary shall consider any standards or procedures developed or proposed by, and the views of, individuals and entities with interest and expertise in international adoptions and family social services, including public and private entities with experience in licensing and accrediting adoption agencies. (3) Applicability of notice and comment rules.--Subsections (b), (c), and (d) of section 553 of title 5, United States Code, shall apply in the development and issuance of regulations under this section. (b) Minimum Requirements.-- (1) Accreditation.--The standards prescribed under subsection (a) shall include the requirement that accreditation of an agency may not be provided or continued under this title unless the agency meets the following requirements: (A) Specific requirements.-- (i) The agency provides prospective adoptive parents of a child in a prospective Convention adoption a copy of the medical records of the child (which, to the fullest extent practicable, shall include an English-language translation of such records) on a date which is not later than the earlier of the date that is 2 weeks before: (I) the adoption; or (II) the date on which the prospective parents travel to a foreign country to complete all procedures in such country relating to the adoption. (ii) The agency ensures that a thorough background report (home study) on the prospective adoptive parent or parents has been completed in accordance with the Convention and with applicable Federal and State requirements and transmitted to the Attorney General with respect to each Convention adoption. Each such report shall include a criminal background check and a full and complete statement of all facts relevant to the eligibility of the prospective adopting parent or parents to adopt a child under any requirements specified by the central authority of the child's country of origin under section 102(b)(3), including, in the case of a child emigrating to the United States for the purpose of adoption, the requirements of the child's country of origin applicable to adoptions taking place in such country. For purposes of this clause, the term ``background report (home study)'' includes any supplemental statement submitted by the agency to the Attorney General for the purpose of providing information relevant to any requirements specified by the child's country of origin. (iii) The agency provides prospective adoptive parents with a training program that includes counseling and guidance for the purpose of promoting a successful intercountry adoption before such parents travel to adopt the child or the child is placed with such parents for adoption. (iv) The agency employs personnel providing intercountry adoption services on a fee for service basis rather than on a contingent fee basis. (v) The agency discloses fully its policies and practices, the disruption rates of its placements for intercountry adoption, and all fees charged by such agency for intercountry adoption. (B) Capacity to provide adoption services.--The agency has, directly or through arrangements with other persons, a sufficient number of appropriately trained and qualified personnel, sufficient financial resources, appropriate organizational structure, and appropriate procedures to enable the agency to provide, in accordance with this Act, all adoption services in cases subject to the Convention. (C) Use of social service professionals.--The agency has established procedures designed to ensure that social service functions requiring the application of clinical skills and judgment are performed only by professionals with appropriate qualifications and credentials. (D) Records, reports, and information matters.--The agency is capable of-- (i) maintaining such records and making such reports as may be required by the Secretary, the United States central authority, and the accrediting entity that accredits the agency; (ii) cooperating with reviews, inspections, and audits; (iii) safeguarding sensitive individual information; and (iv) complying with other requirements concerning information management necessary to ensure compliance with the Convention, this Act, and any other applicable law. (E) Liability insurance.--The agency agrees to have in force adequate liability insurance for professional negligence and any other insurance that the Secretary considers appropriate. (F) Compliance with applicable rules.--The agency has established adequate measures to comply (and to ensure compliance of their agents and clients) with the Convention, this Act, and any other applicable law. (G) Nonprofit organization with state license to provide adoption services.--The agency is a private nonprofit organization licensed to provide adoption services in at least one State. (2) Approval.--The standards prescribed under subsection (a) shall include the requirement that a person shall not be approved under this title unless the person is a private for-profit entity that meets the requirements of subparagraphs (A) through (F) of paragraph (1) of this subsection. (3) Renewal of accreditation or approval.--The standards prescribed under subsection (a) shall provide that the accreditation of an agency or approval of a person under this title shall be for a period of not less than 3 years and not more than 5 years, and may be renewed on a showing that the agency or person meets the requirements applicable to original accreditation or approval under this title. (c) Temporary Registration of Community Based Agencies.-- (1) One-year registration period for medium community based agencies.--For a 1-year period after the entry into force of the Convention and notwithstanding subsection (b), the Secretary may provide, in regulations issued pursuant to subsection (a), that an agency may register with the Secretary and be accredited to provide adoption services in the United States in cases subject to the Convention during such period if the agency has provided adoption services in fewer than 100 intercountry adoptions in the preceding calendar year and meets the criteria described in paragraph (3). (2) Two-year registration period for small community-based agencies.--For a 2-year period after the entry into force of the Convention and notwithstanding subsection (b), the Secretary may provide, in regulations issued pursuant to subsection (a), that an agency may register with the Secretary and be accredited to provide adoption services in the United States in cases subject to the Convention during such period if the agency has provided adoption services in fewer than 50 intercountry adoptions in the preceding calendar year and meets the criteria described in paragraph (3). (3) Criteria for registration.--Agencies registered under this subsection shall meet the following criteria: (A) The agency is licensed in the State in which it is located and is a nonprofit agency. (B) The agency has been providing adoption services in connection with intercountry adoptions for at least 3 years. (C) The agency has demonstrated that it will be able to provide the United States Government with all information related to the elements described in section 104(b) and provides such information. (D) The agency has initiated the process of becoming accredited under the provisions of this Act and is actively taking steps to become an accredited agency. (E) The agency has not been found to be involved in any improper conduct relating to intercountry adoptions. SEC. 204. SECRETARIAL OVERSIGHT OF ACCREDITATION AND APPROVAL. (a) Oversight of Accrediting Entities.--The Secretary shall-- (1) monitor the performance by each accrediting entity of its duties under section 202 and its compliance with the requirements of the Convention, this Act, other applicable laws, and implementing regulations under this Act; and (2) suspend or cancel the designation of an accrediting entity found to be substantially out of compliance with the Convention, this Act, other applicable laws, or implementing regulations under this Act. (b) Suspension or Cancellation of Accreditation or Approval.-- (1) Secretary's authority.--The Secretary shall suspend or cancel the accreditation or approval granted by an accrediting
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