Summary: H.R.2909 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
House agreed to Senate amendment with amendment (09/18/2000)

Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 - Title I: United States Central Authority - Requires the Department of State, through the Secretary of State, to serve as the central authority of the United States with respect to implementation of the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption done at the Hague on May 29, 1993. Outlines responsibilities of the Secretary, including liaison, information exchange, accreditation and approval, and other coordination activities relating to the Convention.

(Sec. 103) Requires the Attorney General to be responsible for the filing of applications by prospective adoptive parents to the central authority of their country of residence.

(Sec. 104) Requires annual reports from the Secretary to specified congressional committees describing activities of the U.S. central authority during the previous year.

Title II: Provisions Relating to Accreditation and Approval - Prohibits any person from offering or providing adoption services, with specified exceptions, in connection with a Convention adoption in the United States unless that person is accredited under this title, or is providing such services through or under the supervision and responsibility of an accredited agency or approved person.

(Sec. 202) Directs the Secretary to enter into agreements with one or more qualified entities that will provide for the accreditation of agencies, and approval of persons, to provide adoption services in the United States in cases subject to the Convention. Requires such entities to undertake related oversight, enforcement, and information collection activities. Sets forth procedures for an agency or person to reapply for accreditation after an adverse action by an accrediting entity. Provides for the judicial review of such actions. Subjects to approval by the Secretary any fees assessed by accrediting entities against agencies or persons seeking accreditation for Convention intercountry adoptions. Outlines accreditation standards and procedures.

(Sec. 204) Directs the Secretary to: (1) monitor each entity's performance of accrediting duties and compliance with the Convention and other applicable laws and regulations; and (2) suspend or cancel the accreditation of an agency or person found to be substantially out of compliance with applicable requirements, if the accrediting entity has failed or refused to take appropriate corrective action. Authorizes the Secretary to debar an agency or person from accreditation, under certain conditions. Provides judicial review of the Secretary's decisions under this section.

Declares that willful, grossly negligent, or repeated failure by an agency to ensure the completion and transmission of a background report (home study) on prospective adoptive parents that fully complies with the Convention and applicable Federal and State requirements shall constitute substantial noncompliance with such requirements.

(Sec. 205) Amends part B (Child and Family Services) of title IV of the Social Security Act to require State plans for child welfare services to include among other things: (1) a description of the activities that the State has undertaken for children adopted from other countries, including adoption and post-adoption services; and (2) a requirement that the State collect and report information on children who are adopted from other countries, and who enter into State custody as a result of the disruption of a placement for adoption or the dissolution of an adoption, including the number of children, the agencies that handled the placement or adoption, the plans for the child, and the reasons for the disruption or dissolution.

Title III: Recognition of Convention Adoptions in the United States - Directs the Secretary, with respect to each Convention adoption, to issue a certificate to the adoptive citizen parent domiciled in the United States recognizing the legal effect, for purposes of emigration and adoption, of a Convention adoption, as long as the Secretary has received appropriate documentation from the central authority of the child's country of origin, and has verified that other requirements of the Convention and this Act have been met with respect to adoption. Provides for U.S. recognition of adoptions finalized in other Convention countries.

(Sec. 302) Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to include: (1) under its definition of "child" a child adopted through the Convention; and (2) under its immigration approval procedures a child for whom the Secretary has certified that a U.S. citizen has effected final adoption under the Convention. Authorizes the Attorney General, in determining whether the purpose of a particular adoption under this Act is to form a bona fide parent-child relationship, and the parent-child relationship of the child and the natural parents has been terminated, to consider whether there is a petition pending to confer immigrant status on one or both of such natural parents.

(Sec. 303) Outlines procedures for the adoption in any other Convention country of a child residing in the United States, requiring certain duties to be performed by an accredited agency or approved person or the prospective parents acting on their own behalf (if so permitted in such country). Prohibits a State court from entering an order declaring such adoption to be final or granting custody for adoption, unless such court: (1) has received and verified that such duties have been performed, as well as evidence that other Convention requirements have been met; and (2) has determined that the adoptive placement is in the child's best interests.

Title IV: Administration and Enforcement - Provides for: (1) the preservation of Convention adoption records; (2) disclosure and access of Convention records (to the extent necessary to administer the Convention or this Act) and of non-Convention records (including records of adoption proceedings conducted in the United States); and (3) recognition of Convention documents of other countries. Makes unlawful the disclosure of all or part of a Convention record.

(Sec. 403) Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 404) Provides civil penalties and other enforcement procedures for violations of this Act.

Title V: General Provisions - Sets forth provisions with respect to the recognition of Convention adoptions.

(Sec. 502) Authorizes the Secretary to establish by regulation alternative procedures for the adoption of children by individuals related to them by blood, marriage, or adoption in cases subject to the Convention.

(Sec. 503) States that the Convention and this Act shall have no effect on: (1) State law; or (2) provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act.