Universal Accreditation Act Goes into Effect on July 14, 2014
On January 14, 2013, President Barack Obama signed the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA). This new law will go into effect on July 14, 2014.
The law brings changes to intercountry adoption law and practice. Specifically, the UAA extends the safeguards provided by accreditation under the Department of State accreditation regulations for Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) adoptions to non-Hague Adoption Convention (orphan) adoptions. Effective July 14, 2014, agencies or persons providing adoption services in orphan adoptions must be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider, in accordance with the UAA and the Department of State accreditation regulations for cases governed by the Hague Adoption Convention.
Changes to Intercountry Adoption Law and Practice
The UAA changes intercountry adoption law and practice. These changes include:
- Home-study preparation: All home studies submitted to support a Form I-600A or Form I-600 must be conducted by an individual or agency authorized to conduct home studies for Hague Adoption Convention cases. Additionally, the adoption service provider is responsible for ensuring that the same home study that is provided to prospective or adoptive parents or USCIS is submitted to the child’s country of origin in a timely manner.
- Home-study elements: All home studies must comply with the Hague Adoption Convention home study requirements.
- Definitions: 8 CFR 204.3(e) and certain definitions in the orphan regulations no longer apply in orphan cases.
- Duty of disclosure: A Form I-600A applicant or Form I-600 petitioner, his or her spouse, and any adult members of the household have a duty of disclosure in completing these forms, during the home study process, and throughout the adoption process.
Identifying a primary provider: The Form I-600 petitioner must identify a primary adoption service provider that is responsible for:
- Ensuring that all six adoption services defined at 22 CFR 96.2 are provided consistent with applicable laws and regulations,
- Supervising and being responsible for supervised providers where used, and
- Developing a service plan in accordance with 22 CFR 96.44.
Changes to Form I-600A and Form I-600
The implementation of the UAA affects the adjudication of:
- Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, and
- Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.
New versions of Form I-600A and Form I-600 will not be available until after July 14, 2014, the date the UAA goes into effect. Applicants and petitioners should continue to use the most current edition of both forms. Additional information regarding the availability of the new Form I-600A and Form I-600 will be provided as soon as it is available.
We are currently accepting public comments on our UAA interim guidance and would appreciate your feedback by August 13, 2014.
For additional information, please visit our Universal Accreditation Act page.