The Department of State has designated two accrediting entities to carry out the accreditation and approval of adoption service providers. The accrediting entities are The Council on Accreditation and The Colorado Department of Human Services.
These two accrediting entities will make accreditation and approval decisions based upon the standards and procedures in federal accreditation regulations (22 CFR Part 96). In this role, they will perform a number of tasks, including:
- Determining whether agencies or persons are eligible for accreditation or approval;
- Monitoring the performance of accredited agencies and approved persons;
- Investigating and responding to complaints about accredited agencies and approved persons;
- Taking disciplinary action, when appropriate, against accredited agencies and approved persons;
- Determining whether accredited agencies and approved persons are eligible for renewal of their accreditation or approval;
- Collecting data from accredited agencies and approved persons, maintaining records, and reporting information; and
- Assisting in the transfer of Convention adoption cases and adoption records if an agency or person loses its accreditation or approval.
State Department Oversight
The State Department monitors these accrediting entities to ensure that each performs its functions consistent with the Hague Adoption Convention, the Intercountry Adoption Act (IAA), regulations implementing the IAA, other applicable law, and its agreement with the Department. The State Department conducts regular site visits and conference calls with each accrediting entity as part of this monitoring.
The Department has the authority to suspend or cancel an accrediting entity's designation if it determines the accrediting entity is substantially out of compliance. An accrediting entity may be considered substantially out of compliance with Convention or the IAA under circumstances such as:
- Failing to act in a timely manner when presented with evidence that an accredited/approved adoption service provider is substantially out of compliance with the accreditation standards;
- Accrediting or approving a significant number of agencies or persons whose performance results in the intervention of the Department of State for the purposes of suspension, cancellation, or debarment;
- Failing to perform its responsibilities fairly and objectively;
- Violating prohibitions on conflicts of interests;
- Failing to meet its reporting requirements;
- Failing to protect information or documents that it receives in the course of performing its responsibilities; and
- Failing to monitor frequently and carefully the compliance of accredited/approved adoption service providers with the home study requirements of the Convention.