HUDSON COUNTY -- The House of Representatives has unanimously passed the Inter-country Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012, introduced by Rep Albio Sires. This bill would combat fraud and improve transparency by requiring accreditation for all inter-country adoption service providers. The Senate companion bill (S. 3331) sponsored by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) passed the Senate on Dec. 5, 2012. The bill is now awaiting President Obama’s signature to be enacted into law.
In 2008, the United States became a full member of the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption. Under the Convention, the United States requires that inter-country adoption service providers be accredited to increase their accountability. In general, prospective adoptive parents and children receive more protections when adopting from Convention countries. Currently these protections only apply to adoptions involving countries that have also signed and implemented the Hague Convention. There are only approximately 80 countries that are considered Convention countries.
“Under current law, adoption agencies who work with non-Convention countries do not need to meet the accreditation requirements, and this creates a double standard for the treatment of children and families,” said Congressman Sires.“My legislation will strengthen U.S. adoption practices by requiring accreditation for all inter-country adoption service providers whether the host Country is a member of the Hague Convention or not. Universal accreditation will help create an adoption process that is lawful, safe for the child, and protective of the families involved.”