Intercountry Adoption and Service Providers
If you are interested in adopting a child from outside of the United States, it is important for you to be aware of the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Convention). The Hague Convention made some significant changes to the requirements in international adoptions. While these changes increased the protections for those involved in adoptions, it also increased the time international adoptions take to complete. The following examines the requirements placed on adoption service providers under the Hague Convention.
Hague Adoption Convention
The Hague Convention is an international agreement intended to establish safeguards to ensure that intercountry adoptions occur in the best interest of the child being adopted and to prevent the abduction, sale, or trafficking of children. In the U.S., the Hague Convention became effective in 2008. The Hague Convention is applicable to all adoptions between the U.S. and other countries that have also adopted the Hague Convention. Most of the countries that individuals from the U.S. adopt children from are Hague Convention countries. A full list of the member nations of the Hague Convention can be found online.
One of the areas affected by the Hague Convention is the adoption service provider accreditation process. Generally speaking, U.S. adoption service providers must be accredited pursuant to the standards established by the U.S. in order to provide services for adoptions between the U.S. and another Hague Convention country. Previously, a service provider needed only to be accredited by the state in which it operated. The U.S. has established two accrediting entities: the Council on Accreditation (COA) and the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS).
In order to be accredited, the adoption service provider must have been evaluated based on the comprehensive standards contained within the regulations on accreditation. It is important to note that it is not necessary that every aspect of each applicable standard be met in order to be accredited. In other words, a service provider may be accredited if the provider is in substantial compliance with the applicable standards. The professional practices that are required of adoption service providers include that the agency:
- Has a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or an equivalent official with the appropriate educational or management background and experience in adoption services;
- Has a Board of Directors or other governing body with oversight responsibility of the agency;
- Operates on a sound financial basis, which means it must maintain at least two months' worth of cash reserves in order to meet all operating expenses;
- Maintains insurance for directors and officers, errors and omissions, and professional liability; and
- Properly trains all employees in the process of intercountry adoptions.
The requirements placed on service providers are just one area of international adoptions effected by the Hague Convention. While the Hague Convention has made the process of international adoption longer, for those prospective parents interested, it is still very possible to complete.
Illinois Family Law Attorneys
If you would like more information about the process of international adoption, please contact an Illinois family law attorney at MKFM Law today at 630-665-7300. We look forward to hearing from you to discuss how we can assist you in the growth of your family.