| Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 2909 (rh) 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. [Reported in House] ...
H.R. 2909 (rh) 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. [Reported in House] ...
Calendar No. 692 106th CONGRESS 2d Session H. R. 2909 _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES July 19, 2000 Received; read twice and placed on the calendar _______________________________________________________________________ AN ACT 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. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS. (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000''. (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents of this Act is as follows: Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents. Sec. 2. Findings and purposes. Sec. 3. Definitions. TITLE I--UNITED STATES CENTRAL AUTHORITY Sec. 101. Designation of central authority. Sec. 102. Responsibilities of the Secretary of State. Sec. 103. Responsibilities of the Attorney General. Sec. 104. Annual report on intercountry adoptions. 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. Sec. 202. Process for accreditation and approval; role of accrediting entities. Sec. 203. Standards and procedures for providing accreditation or approval. Sec. 204. Secretarial oversight of accreditation and approval. Sec. 205. State plan requirement. TITLE III--RECOGNITION OF CONVENTION ADOPTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES Sec. 301. Adoptions of children immigrating to the United States. Sec. 302. Immigration and Nationality Act amendments relating to children adopted from Convention countries. Sec. 303. Adoptions of children emigrating from the United States. TITLE IV--ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT Sec. 401. Access to Convention records. Sec. 402. Documents of other Convention countries. Sec. 403. Authorization of appropriations; collection of fees. Sec. 404. Enforcement. TITLE V--GENERAL PROVISIONS Sec. 501. Recognition of Convention adoptions. Sec. 502. Special rules for certain cases. Sec. 503. Relationship to other laws. Sec. 504. No private right of action. Sec. 505. Effective dates; transition rule. SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES. (a) Findings.--Congress recognizes-- (1) the international character of the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (done at The Hague on May 29, 1993); and (2) the need for uniform interpretation and implementation of the Convention in the United States and abroad, and therefore finds that enactment of a Federal law governing adoptions and prospective adoptions subject to the Convention involving United States residents is essential. (b) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act are-- (1) to provide for implementation by the United States of the Convention; (2) to protect the rights of, and prevent abuses against, children, birth families, and adoptive parents involved in adoptions (or prospective adoptions) subject to the Convention, and to ensure that such adoptions are in the children's best interests; and (3) to improve the ability of the Federal Government to assist United States citizens seeking to adopt children from abroad and residents of other countries party to the Convention seeking to adopt children from the United States. SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS. As used in this Act: (1) Accredited agency.--The term ``accredited agency'' means an agency accredited under title II to provide adoption services in the United States in cases subject to the Convention. (2) Accrediting entity.--The term ``accrediting entity'' means an entity designated under section 202(a) to accredit agencies and approve persons under title II. (3) Adoption service.--The term ``adoption service'' means-- (A) identifying a child for adoption and arranging an adoption; (B) securing necessary consent to termination of parental rights and to adoption; (C) performing a background study on a child or a home study on a prospective adoptive parent, and reporting on such a study; (D) making determinations of the best interests of a child and the appropriateness of adoptive placement for the child; (E) post-placement monitoring of a case until final adoption; and (F) where made necessary by disruption before final adoption, assuming custody and providing child care or any other social service pending an alternative placement. The term ``providing'', with respect to an adoption service, includes facilitating the provision of the service. (4) Agency.--The term ``agency'' means any person other than an individual. (5) Approved person.--The term ``approved person'' means a person approved under title II to provide adoption services in the United States in cases subject to the Convention. (6) Attorney general.--Except as used in section 404, the term ``Attorney General'' means the Attorney General, acting through the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization. (7) Central authority.--The term ``central authority'' means the entity designated as such by any Convention country under Article 6(1) of the Convention. (8) Central authority function.--The term ``central authority function'' means any duty required to be carried out by a central authority under the Convention. (9) Convention.--The term ``Convention'' means the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, done at The Hague on May 29, 1993. (10) Convention adoption.--The term ``Convention adoption'' means an adoption of a child resident in a foreign country party to the Convention by a United States citizen, or an adoption of a child resident in the United States by an individual residing in another Convention country. (11) Convention record.--The term ``Convention record'' means any item, collection, or grouping of information contained in an electronic or physical document, an electronic collection of data, a photograph, an audio or video tape, or any other information storage medium of any type whatever that contains information about a specific past, current, or prospective Convention adoption (regardless of whether the adoption was made final) that has been preserved in accordance with section 401(a) by the Secretary of State or the Attorney General. (12) Convention country.--The term ``Convention country'' means a country party to the Convention. (13) Other convention country.--The term ``other Convention country'' means a Convention country other than the United States. (14) Person.--The term ``person'' shall have the meaning provided in section 1 of title 1, United States Code, and shall not include any agency of government or tribal government entity. (15) Person with an ownership or control interest.--The term ``person with an ownership or control interest'' has the meaning given such term in section 1124(a)(3) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320a-3). (16) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of State. (17) State.--The term ``State'' means the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. TITLE I--UNITED STATES CENTRAL AUTHORITY SEC. 101. DESIGNATION OF CENTRAL AUTHORITY. (a) In General.--For purposes of the Convention and this Act-- (1) the Department of State shall serve as the central authority of the United States; and (2) the Secretary shall serve as the head of the central authority of the United States. (b) Performance of Central Authority Functions.-- (1) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, the Secretary shall be responsible for the performance of all central authority functions for the United States under the Convention and this Act. (2) All personnel of the Department of State performing core central authority functions in a professional capacity in the Office of Children's Issues shall have a strong background in consular affairs, personal experience in international adoptions, or professional experience in international adoptions or child services. (c) Authority To Issue Regulations.--Except as otherwise provided in this Act, the Secretary may prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to carry out central authority functions on behalf of the United States. SEC. 102. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE. (a) Liaison Responsibilities.--The Secretary shall have responsibility for-- (1) liaison with the central authorities of other Convention countries; and (2) the coordination of activities under the Convention by persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. (b) Information Exchange.--The Secretary shall be responsible for-- (1) providing the central authorities of other Convention countries with information concerning-- (A) accredited agencies and approved persons, agencies and persons whose accreditation or approval has been suspended or canceled, and agencies and persons who have been temporarily or permanently debarred from accreditation or approval; (B) Federal and State laws relevant to implementing the Convention; and (C) any other matters necessary and appropriate for implementation of the Convention; (2) not later than the date of the entry into force of the Convention for the United States (pursuant to Article 46(2)(a) of the Convention) and at least once during each subsequent calendar year, providing to the central authority of all other Convention countries a notice requesting the central authority of each such country to specify any requirements of such country regarding adoption, including restrictions on the eligibility of persons to adopt, with respect to which information on the prospective adoptive parent or parents in the United States would be relevant; (3) making responses to notices under paragraph (2) available to-- (A) accredited agencies and approved persons; and (B) other persons or entities performing home studies under section 201(b)(1); (4) ensuring the provision of a background report (home study) on the prospective adoptive parent or parents (pursuant to the requirements of section 203(b)(1)(A)(ii)), through the central authority of each child's country of origin, to the court having jurisdiction over the adoption (or in the case of a child emigrating to the United States for the purpose of adoption to the competent authority in the child's country of origin with responsibility for approving the child's emigration) in adequate time to be considered prior to the granting of such adoption or approval; (5) providing Federal agencies, State courts, and accredited agencies and approved persons with an identification of Convention countries and persons authorized to perform functions under the Convention in each such country; and (6) facilitating the transmittal of other appropriate information to, and among, central authorities, Federal and State agencies (including State courts), and accredited agencies and approved persons. (c) Accreditation and Approval Responsibilities.--The Secretary shall carry out the functions prescribed by the Convention with respect to the accreditation of agencies and the approval of persons to provide adoption services in the United States in cases subject to the Convention as provided in title II. Such functions may not be delegated to any other Federal agency. (d) Additional Responsibilities.--The Secretary-- (1) shall monitor individual Convention adoption cases involving United States citizens; and (2) may facilitate interactions between such citizens and officials of other Convention countries on matters relating to the Convention in any case in which an accredited agency or approved person is unwilling or unable to provide such facilitation. (e) Establishment of Registry.--The Secretary and the Attorney General shall jointly establish a case registry of all adoptions involving immigration of children into the United States and emigration of children from the United States, regardless of whether the adoption occurs under the Convention. Such registry shall permit tracking of pending cases and retrieval of information on both pending and closed cases. (f) Methods of Performing Responsibilities.--The Secretary may-- (1) authorize public or private entities to perform appropriate central authority functions for which the Secretary is responsible, pursuant to regulations or under agreements published in the Federal Register; and (2) carry out central authority functions through grants to, or contracts with, any individual or public or private entity, except as may be otherwise specifically provided in this Act. SEC. 103. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL. In addition to such other responsibilities as are specifically
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