Accrediting entities staggered accreditation/approval validity periods of three, four, and five years for the initial start-up of Convention processing in the United States. From now on, accreditation or approvals will be for four years.
As the end of the period of accreditation or approval approaches, accrediting entities must advise agencies and persons of the date by which they will need to apply for renewal of accreditation or approval. This allows the process to be completed before the previously granted accreditation/approval expires. The accrediting entity must process the renewal request in a timely fashion.
- If the agency or person does not wish to be renewed, it will be required to notify the accrediting entity immediately and complete or transfer its pending Convention adoption cases and records to an accredited or approved adoption service provider, under the oversight of the accrediting entity, before accreditation or approval expires.
- For more information, please see subpart H of the accreditation regulations.
Monitoring and Review
Accrediting entities are required to monitor accredited and approved adoption service providers at least annually after it has been accredited or approved. They do this to ensure that the organization or individual remains in substantial compliance with the accreditation and approval standards. Accredited agencies and approved persons will be required to attest annually that it has remained in substantial compliance with the standards of 22 CFR Part 96 and to provide supporting documentation.
Accrediting entities may choose to conduct a site visit to an accredited/approved adoption service provider to verify continued substantial compliance.
Accrediting entities are required to investigate any complaints filed against the agencies and persons it oversees. When a party to a specific adoption case has a complaint about an organization, he or she must first submit the complaint in writing directly to your organization, as well as to the primary provider in the case (if different). If the complaint raises an issue of compliance with the Convention, the IAA, or its implementing regulations-and it cannot be resolved through the organization's complaint process-the party to the adoption case will then be able to file the complaint with the Hague Complaint Registry.
The Hague Complaint Registry a web-based system hosted and monitored by the Department of State that records complaints against accredited, temporarily accredited, or approved adoption service providers. Once a complaint is filed with the Hague Complaint Registry, it will be available to the accrediting entity for appropriate action. The Department of State will also monitor the handling of the complaint. (Note: Federal, State, or local government officials, foreign Central Authorities, or individuals who are not party to a specific Convention case are permitted to file complaints directly with the Hague Complaint Registry without first submitting them to the accredited agency or approved person.)
Hague Complaint Registry Functions:
- Makes complaint information available to the accrediting entity that has oversight;
- Records information about action taken to resolve each complaint;
- Tracks compliance with any deadlines applicable to the resolution of complaints; and
- Generates reports to show possible patterns of complaints.
Accrediting entities are required to take adverse action if it determines that an accredited agency or approved person is not in substantial compliance with the accreditation or approval standards. It must decide what adverse action to take based on the seriousness and type of the violation as well as the extent to which the agency or person has corrected or failed to correct the deficiencies. Such adverse actions may include:
- Suspending or canceling accreditation or approval;
- Refusing to renew accreditation or approval;
- Requiring specific corrective action to bring an agency or person into compliance; and
- Imposing other sanctions, including requiring the agency or person to stop providing adoption services in a particular case or in a specific Convention country.
Accrediting entities refer certain types of substantiated complaints to State licensing authorities, the Attorney General, or other law enforcement authorities (22 CFR Part 96.72). The Department of State may also take adverse action against accredited agencies or approved persons in certain circumstances.
Permission to Re-apply
An agency or person must generally obtain permission from its accrediting entity to re-apply for accreditation or approval after the accrediting entity has cancelled or refused to renew its accreditation or approval. The accrediting entity may grant permission to re-apply only if the agency or person demonstrates to the accrediting entity's satisfaction that the specific deficiencies that led to the cancellation or refusal to renew have been corrected.
- Technical Guidance on Becoming Accredited / Approved