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] ...


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    (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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