| 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] ...
entity to an agency or person pursuant to section 202 when the Secretary finds that-- (A) the agency or person is substantially out of compliance with applicable requirements; and (B) the accrediting entity has failed or refused, after consultation with the Secretary, to take appropriate enforcement action. (2) Correction of deficiency.--At any time when the Secretary is satisfied that the deficiencies on the basis of which an adverse action is taken under paragraph (1) have been corrected, the Secretary shall-- (A) notify the accrediting entity that the deficiencies have been corrected; and (B)(i) in the case of a suspension, terminate the suspension; or (ii) in the case of a cancellation, notify the agency or person that the agency or person may re-apply to the accrediting entity for accreditation or approval. (c) Debarment.-- (1) Secretary's authority.--On the initiative of the Secretary, or on request of an accrediting entity, the Secretary may temporarily or permanently debar an agency from accreditation or a person from approval under this title, but only if-- (A) there is substantial evidence that the agency or person is out of compliance with applicable requirements; and (B) there has been a pattern of serious, willful, or grossly negligent failures to comply or other aggravating circumstances indicating that continued accreditation or approval would not be in the best interests of the children and families concerned. (2) Period of debarment.--The Secretary's debarment order shall state whether the debarment is temporary or permanent. If the debarment is temporary, the Secretary shall specify a date, not earlier than 3 years after the date of the order, on or after which the agency or person may apply to the Secretary for withdrawal of the debarment. (3) Effect of debarment.--An accrediting entity may take into account the circumstances of the debarment of an agency or person that has been debarred pursuant to this subsection in considering any subsequent application of the agency or person, or of any other entity in which the agency or person has an ownership or control interest, for accreditation or approval under this title. (d) Judicial Review.--A person (other than a prospective adoptive parent), an agency, or an accrediting entity who is the subject of a final action of suspension, cancellation, or debarment by the Secretary under this title may petition the United States District Court for the District of Columbia or the United States district court in the judicial district in which the person resides or the agency or accrediting entity is located to set aside the action. The court shall review the action in accordance with section 706 of title 5, United States Code. (e) Failure To Ensure a Full and Complete Home Study.-- (1) In general.--Willful, grossly negligent, or repeated failure to ensure the completion and transmission of a background report (home study) that fully complies with the requirements of section 203(b)(1)(A)(ii) shall constitute substantial noncompliance with applicable requirements. (2) Regulations.--Regulations promulgated under section 203 shall provide for-- (A) frequent and careful monitoring of compliance by agencies and approved persons with the requirements of section 203(b)(A)(ii); and (B) consultation between the Secretary and the accrediting entity where an agency or person has engaged in substantial noncompliance with the requirements of section 203(b)(A)(ii), unless the accrediting entity has taken appropriate corrective action and the noncompliance has not recurred. (3) Repeated failures to comply.--Repeated serious, willful, or grossly negligent failures to comply with the requirements of section 203(b)(1)(A)(ii) by an agency or person after consultation between Secretary and the accrediting entity with respect to previous noncompliance by such agency or person shall constitute a pattern of serious, willful, or grossly negligent failures to comply under subsection (c)(1)(B). (4) Failure to comply with certain requirements.--A failure to comply with the requirements of section 203(b)(1)(A)(ii) shall constitute a serious failure to comply under subsection (c)(1)(B) unless it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that such noncompliance had neither the purpose nor the effect of determining the outcome of a decision or proceeding by a court or other competent authority in the United States or the child's country of origin. SEC. 205. STATE PLAN REQUIREMENT. Section 422(b) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 622(b)) is amended-- (1) in paragraph (11), by striking ``and'' at the end; (2) in paragraph (12), by striking ``children.'' and inserting ``children;''; and (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraphs: ``(13) contain a description of the activities that the State has undertaken for children adopted from other countries, including the provision of adoption and post-adoption services; and ``(14) provide that the State shall collect and report information on children who are adopted from other countries and who enter into State custody as a result of the disruption of a placement for adoption or the dissolution of an adoption, including the number of children, the agencies who handled the placement or adoption, the plans for the child, and the reasons for the disruption or dissolution.''. TITLE III--RECOGNITION OF CONVENTION ADOPTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES SEC. 301. ADOPTIONS OF CHILDREN IMMIGRATING TO THE UNITED STATES. (a) Legal Effect of Certificates Issued by the Secretary of State.-- (1) Issuance of certificates by the secretary of state.--The Secretary of State shall, with respect to each Convention adoption, issue a certificate to the adoptive citizen parent domiciled in the United States that the adoption has been granted or, in the case of a prospective adoptive citizen parent, that legal custody of the child has been granted to the citizen parent for purposes of emigration and adoption, pursuant to the Convention and this Act, if the Secretary of State-- (A) receives appropriate notification from the central authority of such child's country of origin; and (B) has verified that the requirements of the Convention and this Act have been met with respect to the adoption. (2) Legal effect of certificates.--If appended to an original adoption decree, the certificate described in paragraph (1) shall be treated by Federal and State agencies, courts, and other public and private persons and entities as conclusive evidence of the facts certified therein and shall constitute the certification required by section 204(d)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended by this Act. (b) Legal Effect of Convention Adoption Finalized in Another Convention Country.--A final adoption in another Convention country, certified by the Secretary of State pursuant to subsection (a) of this section or section 303(c), shall be recognized as a final valid adoption for purposes of all Federal, State, and local laws of the United States. (c) Condition on Finalization of Convention Adoption by State Court.--In the case of a child who has entered the United States from another Convention country for the purpose of adoption, an order declaring the adoption final shall not be entered unless the Secretary of State has issued the certificate provided for in subsection (a) with respect to the adoption. SEC. 302. IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT AMENDMENTS RELATING TO CHILDREN ADOPTED FROM CONVENTION COUNTRIES. (a) Definition of Child.--Section 101(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(1)) is amended-- (1) by striking ``or'' at the end of subparagraph (E); (2) by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (F) and inserting ``; or''; and (3) by adding after subparagraph (F) the following new subparagraph: ``(G) a child, under the age of sixteen at the time a petition is filed on the child's behalf to accord a classification as an immediate relative under section 201(b), who has been adopted in a foreign state that is a party to the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption done at The Hague on May 29, 1993, or who is emigrating from such a foreign state to be adopted in the United States, by a United States citizen and spouse jointly, or by an unmarried United States citizen at least 25 years of age-- ``(i) if-- ``(I) the Attorney General is satisfied that proper care will be furnished the child if admitted to the United States; ``(II) the child's natural parents (or parent, in the case of a child who has one sole or surviving parent because of the death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, the other parent), or other persons or institutions that retain legal custody of the child, have freely given their written irrevocable consent to the termination of their legal relationship with the child, and to the child's emigration and adoption; ``(III) in the case of a child having two living natural parents, the natural parents are incapable of providing proper care for the child; ``(IV) the Attorney General is satisfied that the purpose of the adoption is to form a bona fide parent-child relationship, and the parent-child relationship of the child and the natural parents has been terminated (and in carrying out both obligations under this subclause the Attorney General may consider whether there is a petition pending to confer immigrant status on one or both of such natural parents); and ``(V) in the case of a child who has not been adopted-- ``(aa) the competent authority of the foreign state has approved the child's emigration to the United States for the purpose of adoption by the prospective adoptive parent or parents; and ``(bb) the prospective adoptive parent or parents has or have complied with any pre-adoption requirements of the child's proposed residence; and ``(ii) except that no natural parent or prior adoptive parent of any such child shall thereafter, by virtue of such parentage, be accorded any right, privilege, or status under this Act.''. (b) Approval of Petitions.--Section 204(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1154(d)) is amended-- (1) by striking ``(d)'' and inserting ``(d)(1)''; (2) by striking ``section 101(b)(1)(F)'' and inserting ``subparagraph (F) or (G) of section 101(b)(1)''; and (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph: ``(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b), no petition may be approved on behalf of a child defined in section 101(b)(1)(G) unless the Secretary of State has certified that the central authority of the child's country of origin has notified the United States central authority under the convention referred to in such section 101(b)(1)(G) that a United States citizen habitually resident in the United States has effected final adoption of the child, or has been granted custody of the child for the purpose of emigration and adoption, in accordance with such convention and the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000.''. (c) Definition of Parent.--Section 101(b)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(2)) is amended by inserting ``and paragraph (1)(G)(i)'' after ``second proviso therein)''. SEC. 303. ADOPTIONS OF CHILDREN EMIGRATING FROM THE UNITED STATES. (a) Duties of Accredited Agency or Approved Person.--In the case of a Convention adoption involving the emigration of a child residing in the United States to a foreign country, the accredited agency or approved person providing adoption services, or the prospective adoptive parent or parents acting on their own behalf (if permitted by the laws of such other Convention country in which they reside and the laws of the State in which the child resides), shall do the following: (1) Ensure that, in accordance with the Convention-- (A) a background study on the child is completed; (B) the accredited agency or approved person-- (i) has made reasonable efforts to actively recruit and make a diligent search for prospective adoptive parents to adopt the child in the United States; and (ii) despite such efforts, has not been able to place the child for adoption in the United States in a timely manner; and (C) a determination is made that placement with the prospective adoptive parent or parents is in the best interests of the child. (2) Furnish to the State court with jurisdiction over the case-- (A) documentation of the matters described in paragraph (1); (B) a background report (home study) on the prospective adoptive parent or parents (including a criminal background check) prepared in accordance with the laws of the receiving country; and (C) a declaration by the central authority (or other competent authority) of such other Convention country-- (i) that the child will be permitted to enter and reside permanently, or on the same basis as the adopting parent, in the receiving country; and (ii) that the central authority (or other competent authority) of such other Convention country consents to the adoption, if such consent is necessary under the laws of such country for the adoption to become final. (3) Furnish to the United States central authority-- (A) official copies of State court orders certifying the final adoption or grant of custody for the purpose of adoption; (B) the information and documents described in paragraph (2), to the extent required by the United States central authority; and (C) any other information concerning the case required by the United States central authority to perform the functions specified in subsection (c) or otherwise to carry out the duties of the United States central authority under the Convention. (b) Conditions on State Court Orders.--An order declaring an adoption to be final or granting custody for the purpose of adoption in a case described in subsection (a) shall not be entered unless the court-- (1) has received and verified to the extent the court may find necessary-- (A) the material described in subsection (a)(2); and (B) satisfactory evidence that the requirements of Articles 4 and 15 through 21 of the Convention have been met; and (2) has determined that the adoptive placement is in the best interests of the child. (c) Duties of the Secretary of State.--In a case described in subsection (a), the Secretary, on receipt and verification as necessary of the material and information described in subsection (a)(3), shall issue, as applicable, an official certification that the child has been adopted or a declaration that custody for purposes of adoption has been granted, in accordance with the Convention and this Act. (d) Filing with Registry Regarding Nonconvention Adoptions.-- Accredited agencies, approved persons, and other persons, including governmental authorities, providing adoption services in an intercountry adoption not subject to the Convention that involves the emigration of a child from the United States shall file information required by regulations jointly issued by the Attorney General and the Secretary of State for purposes of implementing section 102(e). TITLE IV--ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT SEC. 401. ACCESS TO CONVENTION RECORDS. (a) Preservation of Convention Records.-- (1) In general.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall issue regulations that establish procedures and requirements in accordance with the Convention and this section for the preservation of Convention records.
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