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                                                       Calendar No. 523
106th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     106-276

======================================================================



 
                    INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION ACT OF 2000

                                _______
                                

                 April 27, 2000.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

          Mr. Helms, from the Committee on Foreign Relations,
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 682]

    The Committee on Foreign Relations having had under 
consideration S. 682, a bill to implement the Hague Convention 
on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of 
Intercountry Adoption, and for other purposes, reports 
favorably thereon with an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute and recommends that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page

  I. Purpose..........................................................1
 II. Committee Action.................................................2
III. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................2
 IV. Cost Estimate...................................................13
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact.................................16
 VI. Changes in Existing Law.........................................17

                               I. Purpose

    The bill to implement the Convention on Protection of 
Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption 
(hereinafter, the Intercountry Adoption bill) is intended to 
protect the rights of, and prevent abuses against, children, 
birth families, and adoptive parents involved in adoptions (or 
prospective adoptions) subject to the Convention, and to ensure 
that such adoptions are in the children's best interests. It is 
also intended to improve the ability of the United States to 
assist its citizens seeking to adopt children from abroad.
    The Convention, also reported favorably this day by the 
Committee, is designed to establish a international legal 
framework for ensuring that intercountry adoptions follow 
standard procedures and provide sufficient protections to 
adoptive parents and children. The Convention and the 
implementing legislation will not cover all intercountry 
adoptions, but only those involving nations that are both party 
to the Convention. But it is hoped that the nations with 
significant involvement in intercountry adoptions will join the 
Convention, thereby creating a uniform international standard 
for most such adoptions.

                          II. Committee Action

    The Committee on Foreign Relations held a public hearing on 
the Intercountry Adoption bill on October 5, 1999. At the 
hearing, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Mary 
Ryan testified in support of legislation to implement the 
Convention. The hearing also included testimony from a private 
panel of experts in the field of international adoption and 
child health. The Committee considered the Intercountry 
Adoption bill on April 13, 2000. There was one amendment in the 
nature of a substitute by Senator Helms that was approved 
during the mark-up. The Committee ordered the bill favorably 
reported by a voice vote, with Senator Brownback voting in the 
negative.

                    III. Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short Title; Table of Contents

    This section provides the bill's short title and table of 
contents.

Sec. 2. Findings and Purposes

    This section describes the purposes of the legislation.

Sec. 3. Definitions

    This section defines various terms used in the Act.

                TITLE I--UNITED STATES CENTRAL AUTHORITY


Sec. 101. Authority of the Department of State

    Subsection (a) designates the Department of State as the 
United States central authority for purposes of carrying out 
U.S. obligations under the Convention.
    Subsection (b) provides that the Secretary of State shall 
be responsible for the performance of all central authority 
functions of the United States under the Convention and the 
Act, except as otherwise specified in the Act. It also requires 
that personnel hired by the State Department to carry out these 
new responsibilities have some professional experience with 
consular affairs or child services, or personal or professional 
experience in the field of international adoption. Some of 
these duties will be new to the Department of State. Therefore, 
hiring of experienced, motivated staff will facilitate the 
implementation of the new obligations and responsibilities. The 
Committee is interested in the State Department providing the 
best possible service to the prospective adoptive parents and 
others involved in the adoption process.
    Subsection (c) authorizes the Secretary of State to 
prescribe regulations to carry out central authority functions 
on behalf of the United States.

Sec. 102. Responsibilities of the Secretary of State

    Subsection (a) provides that the Secretary of State shall 
be responsible for liaison with the central authorities of 
other Convention countries and the coordination of Convention 
activities by persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction.
    Subsection (b) provides that the Secretary of State shall 
be responsible for providing information, and facilitating the 
transmittal and exchange of information, to and among the 
central authorities of other Convention countries, Federal and 
State agencies (including State courts) within the United 
States, and agencies accredited and persons approved under 
title II of the Act to provide adoption services in the United 
States in cases subject to the Convention.
    Subsection (c) provides that the Secretary of State shall 
carry out the functions prescribed by the Convention with 
respect to the accreditation of agencies and the approval of 
persons to provide adoption services in the United States in 
cases subject to the Convention. It also provides that the 
Secretary of State may not delegate this authority to any 
Federal agency. Currently, the Federal Government does not have 
any responsibility or capacity in the area of accreditation of 
adoption agencies. Because the Department of State was already 
the primary Federal agency with regard to intercountry 
adoption, the Committee believes that the assignment of 
responsibilities under this Act to the Departments of State and 
Justice (as opposed to additional Federal agencies) will create 
a relatively streamlined interagency coordination process.
    Subsection (d) provides that the Secretary of State shall 
monitor individual adoption cases involving U.S. citizens, may 
facilitate interactions between U.S. citizens and officials of 
other Convention countries in any case in which an accredited 
agency or approved person is unwilling or unable to do so.
    Subsection (e) provides that the Secretary of State and the 
Attorney General shall jointly establish a case registry to 
track all adoptions involving immigration of the child into the 
United States and all adoptions involving emigration of the 
child from the United States to any other Convention country, 
regardless of whether the adoption occurs under the Convention. 
Although this case registry, particularly of non-Convention 
adoptions, is not required by the Convention, the Committee 
believes it will be a useful means of gathering data regarding 
all intercountry adoptions.
    Subsection (f) provides that the Secretary of State may 
authorize public or private entities to perform appropriate 
central authority functions for which the Secretary is 
responsible, pursuant to regulations or under agreements 
published in the Federal Register, and may carry out such 
functions through grants to, or contracts with, such entities. 
However, this authority needs to be read in conjunction with 
subsection (c), which prohibits the delegation of any 
authorities regarding that subsection to any Federal agency. 
The Committee does not intend subsection (f) to permit 
delegation of the authorities described in subsection (c) to 
any Federal agency.

Sec. 103. Responsibilities of the Attorney General

    This section provides that the Attorney General shall 
perform the central authority functions specified in Article 14 
of the Convention, which requires prospective adoptive parents 
wishing to adopt a child habitually resident in another 
Contracting State to apply to the central authority of their 
country of residence.

Sec. 104. Annual Report on Intercountry Adoptions

    This section requires the Secretary of State, in 
consultation with the Attorney General, and other appropriate 
agencies, to submit an annual report to House and Senate 
committees describing the activities of the U.S. central 
authority. The report must include information on intercountry 
adoptions involving immigration to and emigration from the 
United States; disruption rates for Convention adoptions and 
certain information provided by the States regarding 
dissolution rates (as required by sec. 205); the average time 
required for the completion of a Convention adoption; the list 
of agencies accredited and persons approved to provide 
adoption-related services; the names of agencies and persons 
debarred from accreditation or approval; the range of adoption 
fees charged in connection with Convention adoptions; and, the 
range of fees charged for accreditation of agencies and the 
approval of persons engaged in providing adoption services. The 
purpose of this provision is to improve the type of data 
collected, to develop a data base on intercountry adoptions, 
and to increase access to information that may be of interest 
to the Congress, the public or prospective adoptive parents.

      TITLE II--PROVISIONS RELATING TO ACCREDITATION AND APPROVAL


Sec. 201. Accreditation or Approval Required in Order to Provide 
        Adoption Services in Cases Subject to the Convention

    This section bars any person from offering or providing 
adoption services in connection with a Convention adoption in 
the United States unless that person is accredited or approved 
under this title, or is providing the services through or under 
the supervision and responsibility of an agency or person so 
accredited or approved. The latter phrase (providing adoption 
services ``through or under the supervision and 
responsibility'' of an accredited agency or approved person) is 
intended to apply broadly, and includes people acting as agents 
(including contractors) of adoption agencies or approved 
persons.
    The provisions of this section do not apply to (1) a social 
work professional or organization that provides only the 
background or home study, or the report on such a study, as 
long as the background or home study is approved by an 
accredited agency; (2) an entity that provides only child 
welfare services in connection with a case subject to the 
Convention; (3) a person who provides only legal services 
(rather than adoption services) in connection with a case 
subject to the Convention; or (4) U.S. prospective adoptive 
parents acting on their own behalf, to the extent permitted by 
the law of the State in which they reside.
    The Committee does not intend to alter the current practice 
followed by some prospective adoptive parents of obtaining a 
home or background study prior to the actual selection of a 
placing agency. However, at the point where a placing agency is 
selected and a placement is imminent, such a home or background 
study must be approved by an accredited agency.

Sec. 202. Process for Accreditation and Approval; Role of Accrediting 
        Entities

    Subsection (a) provides that the Secretary of State shall 
designate one or more qualified private, nonprofit entities as 
accrediting entities responsible for the accreditation of 
agencies and approval of persons who may provide adoption 
services under the Convention. This is a critical 
responsibility under the Convention and this Act, and this 
section provides that the Secretary may find the best private 
or public entity (or entities) for this purpose. The Committee 
understands that an accrediting entity designated by the 
Secretary pursuant to this section may also be involved in the 
accreditation of agencies for services other than intercountry 
adoptions. The Committee believes that an accrediting entity 
should not use the substantial power granted pursuant to this 
section to, in effect, require or coerce an agency or person 
seeking accreditation or approval to use the accrediting 
entity's other services if the agency is not seeking such 
services. The Secretary of State should ensure that no such 
coercive pressure or leverage is used. The Committee intends to 
review carefully the practices of the accrediting entity or 
entities in this regard.
    Subsection (b) sets forth the responsibilities of 
accrediting entities, including accreditation and approval, 
monitoring of the compliance of accredited agencies and 
approved persons with applicable requirements (including review 
of complaints), the taking of adverse actions for 
noncompliance, and record keeping and reporting. The Committee 
expects that the Secretary of State will provide guidance in 
regulations for the exercise of the enforcement authorities 
provided in this subsection. Such regulations should set out 
clear guidance for accrediting entities to ensure that agencies 
and persons affected by enforcement decisions are afforded due 
process.
    Subsection (c) provides remedies for adverse action by an 
accrediting entity. The subject of the action may re-apply for 
accreditation or approval upon demonstrating to the 
satisfaction of the accrediting entity that the deficiencies 
resulting in the adverse action have been corrected. The 
adverse action is not subject to administrative review, but an 
agency or person who is subject to the adverse action may seek 
judicial review under the standards applicable to a Federal 
agency under the Administrative Procedure Act.
    Subsection (d) requires that fees set by the accredited 
agencies and approved persons, must be approved by the 
Secretary of State, may not exceed the costs of accreditation, 
and must take into account the relationship of the relative 
size of, the geographic location of, and the number of 
Convention adoption cases managed by the agency or approved 
person. The Committee understands that certain accrediting 
entities which provide accreditation services currently in 
other contexts have a sliding fee scale, predicated on the 
revenue base of the agency being accredited. The Committee 
believes that the Secretary should carefully review the fees of 
any qualified accrediting entity designated under this section 
to ensure that smaller, well-run agencies are not charged fees 
that will have the effect of ending their provision of 
intercountry adoption services.
    The Committee is also concerned about the practice by 
certain accrediting entities of providing discounts to agencies 
based on their affiliation with associations or organizations. 
The Committee believes that any fee structure established by an 
entity should not discriminate against agencies that are not 
members of such associations or organizations.
    The Committee recognizes that there may be a surge in 
requests for accreditation as the treaty enters into force. The 
Committee believes that smaller agencies should not be 
disadvantaged during this process. The State Department and the 
accrediting entities should develop procedures to minimize this 
risk.
    To ensure that some degree of competition exists so that 
the costs of accreditation remain reasonable and strong 
services are maintained by accrediting entities, this provision 
allows for the designation of more than one accrediting entity 
to accredit agencies and approve persons. The Committee is 
concerned, however, that if an agency or person fails to obtain 
accreditation or approval it may seek accreditation or approval 
from another accrediting entity. The Committee believes that 
the regulations issued by the Secretary should make clear that 
if an agency is denied accreditation, or believes it will be 
denied accreditation after having begun the process of 
accreditation with one accrediting entity, it should not be 
permitted to seek accreditation from another accrediting 
entity.

Sec. 203. Standards and Procedures for Providing Accreditation or 
        Approval

    Subsection (a) requires the Secretary of State to establish 
by regulation standards and procedures to be used by 
accrediting entities in accrediting agencies and approving 
persons to provide adoption services in the United States in 
cases subject to the Convention. In developing the regulations, 
the Secretary of State shall consider standards and procedures 
developed by outside experts, must provide the opportunity for 
notice and comment (consistent with 5 U.S.C. Sec. 553), and 
must consider the views of individuals and entities with 
interest and expertise in international adoptions and family 
social services.
    Subsection (b) sets forth certain minimum requirements 
which must be included in the standards for accreditation and 
approval. Many of these requirements, which agencies and 
approved persons must agree to prior to accreditation or 
approval, are designed to improve the adoption process, and 
protect adoptive parents and children. In addition, the purpose 
is to ensure that the agency has the capacity to provide 
intercountry adoption services and meet the other requirements 
of this Act.
    The standards require that an accredited agency or approved 
person: (1) provide medical records (in English if practicable) 
of the child in advance of travel to finalize an adoption; (2) 
provide prospective adoptive parents with a training program 
that includes counseling and guidance to promote a successful 
intercountry adoption; (3) employ personnel providing 
intercountry adoption services on a fee for service basis in 
order to reduce financial motivation for manipulating any 
information presented to prospective parents; (4) fully 
disclose its policies and practices and disruption rates to 
prospective adoptive parents; (5) have the capacity (either 
directly or through arrangements with others) to perform all 
adoption services in cases subject to the Convention; (6) have 
procedures in place to ensure that social service functions 
requiring the application of clinical skills and judgment are 
performed only by qualified professionals; (7) have the ability 
to comply with information management requirements concerning 
record retention, reports, reviews, inspections, and audits, 
and the safeguarding of sensitive information; (8) have 
adequate liability insurance; and (9) have adequate measures in 
place to ensure compliance with the Convention, the Act, and 
any other applicable law.
    In addition to the above, accredited agencies must be 
private nonprofit organizations licensed to provide adoption 
services in at least one State.
    Accreditation or approval shall be granted for a period of 
not less than three and not more than five years, and may be 
renewed on a showing that the agency or person continues to 
meet the applicable requirements.
    Subsection (c) authorizes the Secretary to establish 
through regulations issued under this section a temporary 
registration system for small community based agencies. An 
agency that is registered under such a system can provide 
adoption services for a period of up to two years even if it 
does not meet the standards in subsection (b) as long as it 
satisfies the following criteria: (1) it is a non-profit agency 
licensed in the State where it is located; (2) it has been 
providing intercountry adoption services for at least five 
years; (3) it has demonstrated that it will be able to provide 
all information related to the annual report required under 
section 104; (4) it has initiated the process of becoming 
accredited and is taking steps to become accredited; and (5) it 
has not been found to be involved in any improper conduct 
relating to intercountry adoptions. This provision is intended 
to ensure that for two years after the Convention enters into 
force, established, small community based agencies can continue 
to provide services with respect to Convention adoptions even 
if they do not meet the standards in subsection (b). This 
provision may also have the salutary effect of permitting the 
President to ratify the Convention more quickly.

Sec. 204. Secretarial Oversight of Accreditation and Approval

    Subsection (a) requires the Secretary of State to monitor 
the performance of accrediting entities, and to suspend or 
cancel the designation of the entity as an accrediting entity, 
if the Secretary finds the entity to be substantially out of 
compliance with the Convention, the Act, other applicable laws, 
or the regulations prescribed pursuant to the Act.
    Subsection (b) requires the Secretary of State to suspend 
or cancel the accreditation or approval granted by an 
accrediting entity if the Secretary finds that the agency or 
person is substantially out of compliance with applicable 
requirements and the accrediting entity has failed or refused, 
after consultation with the Secretary, to take appropriate 
enforcement action. In other words, the Secretary may take 
enforcement actions against agencies and person only after the 
established avenue of enforcement--that is, by the accrediting 
entity--has been found wanting. In those cases where the 
Secretary does take enforcement action, the affected agency or 
person may be reinstated or re-apply for accreditation or 
approval once the Secretary is satisfied that the deficiencies 
have been corrected.
    Subsection (c) authorizes the Secretary of State to debar 
an agency from accreditation or a person from approval, either 
temporarily (for a minimum of three years, after which time the 
agency or person may apply to the Secretary for withdrawal of 
the debarment) or permanently. Debarment--whether temporary or 
permanent--requires (1) substantial evidence that the agency or 
person is out of compliance with applicable requirements and 
(2) a pattern of serious, willful, or grossly negligent 
failures to comply or other aggravating circumstances 
indicating that continued accreditation or approval would not 
be in the best interests of the children and families 
concerned.
    Subsection (d) provides for judicial review of final 
actions of suspension, cancellation and debarment by the 
Secretary in either the U.S. District Court in the District of 
Columbia or the Federal district court in which the person or 
agencies resides. The court shall review the action in 
accordance with the standards of the Administrative Procedure 
Act.

Sec. 205. State Plan Requirement

    This section amends Part B of Title IV of the Social 
Security Act to add to State plans under that title a 
requirement that States describe activities undertaken for 
children adopted from other countries including the provision 
of adoption and post adoption services. This amendment also 
requires States to collect and report information on children 
who are adopted from other countries and who enter State 
custody as a result of a dissolution or disruption of an 
adoption. Information on disrupted and dissolved adoptions 
should include the aggregate number of children, special needs 
status, the reason for placement into State custody, the age of 
the child, the agency that made adoption arrangements, the 
country from which the child emigrated, and the plans for the 
child. This is a new section that was not included in S. 682 
prior to amendment.

  TITLE III--RECOGNITION OF CONVENTION ADOPTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES


Sec. 301. Adoptions of Children Immigrating to the United States

    Subsection (a) directs the Secretary of State to issue a 
final adoption certificate, or, in the case of a prospective 
adoption, a declaration that legal custody has been granted for 
the purpose of emigration and adoption, if the Secretary 
receives appropriate notification from the central authority of 
the child's country of origin and has verified that the 
requirements of the Act have been met with respect to the 
adoption. The certificate, together with the original adoption 
decree, shall be treated in the United States as conclusive 
evidence that a final adoption has taken place.
    Subsection (b) provides that a final adoption in another 
Convention country, certified by the Secretary of State in 
accordance with the Convention, shall be recognized in the 
United States as a final valid adoption for the purposes of all 
Federal, State, and local laws.
    Subsection (c) provides that no adoption of a child who has 
entered the United States from another Convention country for 
purposes of adoption shall be final unless the Secretary of 
State has issued the certificate required under subsection (a).

Sec. 302. Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments Relating to 
        Children Adopted From Convention Countries

    Subsection (a) amends section 101(b) of the Immigration and 
Nationality Act (INA) to add children adopted in Hague 
Convention countries, or emigrating from such countries for 
purposes of their adoption in the United States, as new 
categories of children who may be classified as immediate 
relatives of U.S. citizens for immigration purposes. These 
children would not need to meet the definition of ``orphan'' 
under the INA, but other requirements of current law would 
continue to apply, including those relating to age and U.S. 
citizenship of the adoptive parents. The Committee has been 
assured that consular officers of the Department of State and 
officials of the Immigration and Naturalization Service will 
continue to be vigilant in identifying cases where there is 
fraud or improper financial inducement related to adoptions. 
While the Convention is intended to help States of origin 
implement protections to ensure that abuse in their countries 
end, the Committee strongly believes that both sending and 
receiving countries must cooperate to guarantee the integrity 
of the adoption process.
    Subsection (b) amends section 204(d) of the INA to provide 
that, in the case of a Convention adoption, an immigrant visa 
shall not be issued to a child as an immediate relative of the 
prospective adoptive parent unless the Secretary of State has 
certified that the central authority of the child's country of 
origin has given notice that the child has been adopted, or 
custody for purposes of adoption has been granted, in 
accordance with the Convention.
    Subsection (c) is a conforming amendment to the definition 
of ``parent'' under the INA.

Sec. 303. Adoptions of Children Emigrating From the United States

    Subsection (a) requires, in regard to a U.S. resident child 
emigrating to another Convention country for purposes of 
adoption, that the accredited agency or approved person 
providing adoption services, or the prospective adoptive 
parents acting on their own behalf, ensure that (1) a 
background study on the child is completed; (2) the accredited 
agency or approved person has made reasonable efforts to 
actively recruit and make a diligent search for adoptive 
parents in the United States, but despite such efforts, has not 
been able to place the child for placement in the United States 
in a timely manner; and (3) a determination is made that the 
placement is in the best interests of the child. The subsection 
also requires the agency or person to furnish the necessary 
documentation to the State court with jurisdiction over the 
case and the U.S. central authority. The Committee expects that 
the requirements to make reasonable efforts to locate a family 
within the United States will result in a small number of U.S. 
children being adopted by citizens of other countries.
    The provision also requires the background report to 
include a criminal background check. While the Committee 
understands that police records in foreign countries may vary 
widely, every effort should be made to investigate criminal 
histories of the prospective adoptive parent or parents. The 
central authorities should work together to improve the quality 
of such checks.
    Subsection (b) provides that an adoption or grant of 
custody for the purpose of adoption in the case of a U.S. 
resident child emigrating to another Convention country for 
purposes of adoption may not proceed unless the court has 
received and verified the documents required under the 
Convention, made the determinations required of the country of 
origin by the Convention, and determined that the placement is 
in the best interests of the child. For children emigrating 
from the United States, the State courts and other appropriate 
authorities should review closely the background and home 
study, including criminal background reviews, to be sure it 
meets acceptable standards. State courts should also obtain a 
child's consent when the child is at appropriate age and 
maturity level.
    Subsection (c) requires the Secretary of State to issue a 
certificate of adoption, or a declaration of custody for 
purposes of adoption, in each case in which the requirements of 
this section have been met.
    Subsection (d) requires accredited agencies or approved 
persons or others to file information as required by the 
registry provision (section 102(e)) on non-Convention 
intercountry adoptions involving emigration from the United 
States.

                TITLE IV--ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT


Sec. 401. Access to Convention Records

    Subsection (a) requires the Secretary of State, in 
consultation with the Attorney General, to issue regulations, 
following notice and comment, that establish procedures and 
requirements for the preservation of Convention records 
(defined in Section 3(11) as information about a Convention 
adoption that has been preserved by the Secretary of State or 
the Attorney General).
    Subsection (b) permits the disclosure of a Convention 
record maintained under the authority of the Immigration and 
Nationality Act (INA) to the adopted child or the adoptive 
parents under applicable Federal law. This subsection also 
provides that unlawful disclosure of a Convention record will 
be punishable under applicable Federal law.
    Subsection (b) further provides that access to a Convention 
record is permitted among the Secretary of State, the Attorney 
General, central authorities, accredited agencies and approved 
persons only to the extent necessary to administer this Act.
    Subsection (c) provides that access to non-Convention 
records, including records of State adoption proceedings, shall 
be governed by applicable State law. Penalties for unlawful 
disclosure of a non-Convention record shall be governed by 
applicable State law.
    In recent years, the issue of access to adoption records 
has been extensively debated in the States, with ballot 
initiatives and court cases providing the battleground. The 
Committee takes no position with respect to that debate, and 
the Committee does not intend this legislation to affect the 
scope of access to adoption records under existing Federal or 
State law. Under current law, Federal records that contain 
information regarding intercountry adoptions are subject to 
Federal laws regarding disclosure and access to information 
maintained by the Federal Government (primarily the Privacy Act 
and the Freedom of Information Act). Records regarding 
intercountry adoptions held by States or in the files of 
adoption agencies are governed by any State law that may apply 
to such records. Applicable State laws vary: some States have a 
restrictive regime with respect to adoption records, others 
have an open regime, and still others take a variety of 
approaches in between. Under section 401, Federal records will 
continue to be governed by applicable Federal law, while non-
Federal records, including records of adoption proceedings 
conducted in the United States, will continue to be governed by 
applicable State law. No State is required by this provision to 
change its laws regarding access to, and disclosure of, 
adoption records.

Sec. 402. Documents of Other Convention Countries

    This section provides that documents originating in another 
Convention country and related to a Convention adoption shall 
require no authentication or legalization to be admissible in 
U.S. courts, unless a specific and supported claim is made that 
the documents are false, have been altered, or are otherwise 
unreliable.

Sec. 403. Authorization of Appropriations; Collection of Fees

    Subsection (a) authorizes appropriation of such sums as may 
be necessary to agencies of the Federal Government for the 
purpose of implementing the Convention and the Act, and 
provides for such sums to remain available until expended.
    Subsection (b) permits the Secretary of State, subject to 
appropriations, to charge and retain a fee prescribed by 
regulation for new or enhanced intercountry adoption services 
undertaken to meet the requirements of the Act. These fees may 
not exceed the costs of such services.
    Subsection (c) restricts the funds provided in this section 
from being made available to an accrediting entity to carry out 
the purposes of this Act.

Sec. 404. Enforcement

    This section provides for the Attorney General, through the 
Civil Division of the Department of Justice, to seek civil 
money penalties of not more than $50,000 for a first violation 
and not more than $100,000 for each subsequent violation, 
against any person who (1) provides adoption services in the 
United States in connection with Convention adoptions without 
proper accreditation or approval; (2) with regard to a material 
fact, provides false statements or fraudulent statements or 
misrepresentations; (3) gives, solicits, or accepts inducement 
by way of compensation to obtain consent to adoption or the 
relinquishment of parental rights or to influence a decision of 
an accrediting entity or any entity performing a central 
authority function; or (4) engages another person as an agent 
in the United States or abroad who takes any of the actions 
described in (1), (2) or (3) above. The Committee believes that 
the Attorney General should not seek to obtain civil money 
penalties in the case of unintentional or harmless failures to 
comply with the requirements of this Act, or the implementing 
regulations issued under this Act. The section also provides 
for criminal penalties of not more than $250,000, imprisonment 
for up to five years, or both, for knowing and willful 
violations of paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (a).

                      TITLE V--GENERAL PROVISIONS


Sec. 501. Recognition of Convention Adoptions

    This section provides for the recognition in the United 
States of Convention adoptions concluded between two other 
Convention countries before the date the Convention enters into 
force for the United States.

Sec. 502. Special Rules for Certain Cases

    Subsection (a) authorizes the Secretary of State to 
establish by regulation alternative procedures for the adoption 
of children in Convention cases by individuals related to them 
by blood, marriage or adoption. The inclusion of adoption in 
this list reflects that family relationships are established 
through the act of adoption and these individuals are as much a 
part of the family as a relation by blood or marriage.
    Subsection (b) provides that notwithstanding any other 
provision of the Act, to the extent consistent with the 
Convention, the Secretary of State may, on a case-by-case 
basis, waive applicable requirements of, or regulations issued 
under the Act, in the interests of justice or to prevent grave 
physical harm to the child. This authority may not be 
delegated.

Sec. 503. Relationship to Other Laws

    Subsection (a) provides that the Convention and the Act 
shall not be construed to preempt any provision of State or 
local law except to the extent that any such provision is 
inconsistent with either the Convention or the Act, and then 
only to the extent of the inconsistency.
    Subsection (b) provides that nothing in the Act shall be 
construed to affect the application of the Indian Child Welfare 
Act, which gives tribal authorities exclusive jurisdiction with 
respect to adoptions of children with tribal affiliations.
    Subsection (c) provides an exemption from the Paperwork 
Reduction Act with regard to the collection of data, 
maintenance of records, reporting to the Secretary, the U.S. 
central authority, State courts, and other entities, and the 
collection of information for Convention records as defined by 
this Act.

Sec. 504. No Private Right of Action

    This section provides that the Convention and the Act shall 
not be construed to create a private right of action to seek 
administrative or judicial relief, except as expressly provided 
in the Act.

Sec. 505. Effective Dates; Transition Rule

    Subsection (a) (1) provides that specific provisions of the 
Act are to become effective immediately upon enactment, so that 
various preparatory steps can be taken before the Convention's 
entry into force for the United States, including the 
establishment of the U.S. central authority and a case tracking 
system, designation by the Secretary of State of accrediting 
entities, and issuance by the Secretary of State of regulations 
to establish standards and procedures for accreditation and 
approval.
    Subsection (a) (2) provides that the remaining provisions 
of the Act shall take effect upon the entry into force of the 
Convention for the United States, and that the substantive 
provisions of the Act will govern Convention adoptions that are 
finalized after that date.
    The resolution of ratification for the Convention, as 
approved by the Committee (and also reported this day), 
provides that the President may not deposit the instrument of 
ratification for the Convention ``until such time as the 
Federal law implementing the Convention is enacted and the 
United States is able to carry out all the obligations of the 
Convention, as required by its implementing legislation.'' This 
condition is consistent with the position taken by the 
Executive Branch in submitting the Convention to the Senate. In 
other words, the Convention--and therefore many provisions of 
this Act--will not take effect for the United States until the 
Federal Government is in a position to carry out the duties 
under the Convention.
    Subsection (b) provides that the Convention and the Act 
shall not govern adoption cases (1) initiated by the filing of 
an orphan petition or petition to classify an orphan as an 
immediate relative before the Convention's entry into force for 
the United States, or (2) involving foreign nationals seeking 
to adopt children resident in the United States, where the 
prospective adoptive parents initiated an adoption application 
in their home country before the Convention's entry into force 
for the United States.

                           IV. Cost Estimate

    In accordance with rule XXVI, paragraph 11(a) of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following estimate of the cost of this legislation prepared by 
the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, April 14, 2000.

Hon. Jesse Helms
Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 682, the 
Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Sunita 
D'Monte.
            Sincerely,
                                        Steven M. Lieberman
                                     (for Dan L. Crippen, Director)

    [Enclosure.]

               S. 682--Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000


                                Summary

    S. 682 would authorize the United States to implement the 
Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in 
Respect of Intercountry Adoption and would authorize 
appropriations for that purpose. CBO estimates that those 
discretionary costs would be less than $500,000 a year over the 
2001-2005 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary 
amounts. The bill has other provisions that would affect 
governmental receipts (revenues) and direct spending, but CBO 
estimates that those effects would be insignificant. Because 
enactment of S. 682 would affect receipts and direct spending, 
pay-as-you-go procedures would apply.
    Section 4 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
excludes from application of that act bills that would be 
necessary for the ratification or implementation of 
international treaty obligations. CBO has determined that the 
provisions of S. 682 would implement the Convention on 
Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of 
Intercountry Adoption and would thus fall within that 
exclusion.

                Estimated Cost to the Federal Government

    For purposes of this estimate, CBO assumes that the initial 
appropriations for S. 682 would be provided in fiscal year 2001 
and that outlays would follow historical spending patterns. The 
costs of this legislation fall within budget function 150 
(international relations) and 750 (administration of justice).

                   Spending Subject to Appropriation

    The bill would provide an open-ended authorization of 
appropriations for the Departments of State and Justice to meet 
the requirements of the bill and would authorize new consular 
fees, which the State Department could spend subject to 
appropriation action. CBO estimates that the net cost of 
implementing the bill would be less than $500,000 annually over 
the 2001-2005 period.
    Department of State.--S. 682 would designate the State 
Department as the central authority responsible for 
coordinating and implementing international adoptions under the 
convention. Under current law, the State Department has no 
routine role in international adoptions. When it does act, it 
is usually in response to requests from the adopters. The bill 
would establish an official role for the Department and require 
it to:

   Enter into agreements with nonprofit organizations 
        that would accredit and monitor adoption agencies that 
        would provide services under the convention,
   Monitor the performance of accreditation agencies,
   Monitor and facilitate individual cases of adoption 
        under the convention,
   Provide the Congress with an annual report on 
        international adoptions and the implementation of the 
        convention,
   Establish a registry of all international adoptions, 
        and
   Issue certificates when an adoption under the 
        convention has been finalized.

    Based on information from the State Department, CBO 
estimates the Department would spend approximately $4 million a 
year to carry out those responsibilities. This estimate 
includes costs for hiring personnel and contractors and 
implementing a computerized tracking system to monitor 
individual adoption cases. To recover those costs, the bill 
would allow the Department to charge a new fee for its services 
and to retain and spend any collections on consular services, 
subject to appropriation action. CBO estimates the Department 
would charge a $200 fee on approximately 20,000 cases each 
year.
    Civil and Criminal Prosecutions.--Violators of the 
provisions of S. 682 would be subject to civil penalties and 
criminal prosecution. As a result, the Federal Government would 
be able to pursue cases that it otherwise would not be able to 
prosecute. CBO expects that any increase in Federal costs for 
law enforcement, court proceedings, or prison operations would 
not be significant, however, because of the small number of 
cases likely to be involved.

                      Direct Spending and Revenues

    Because violators of the provisions of S. 682 could be 
subject to criminal and civil fines, the Federal Government 
might collect additional fines if the bill is enacted. 
Collections of criminal fines are recorded in the budget as 
governmental receipts (revenues), which are deposited in the 
Crime Victims Fund and spent in subsequent years. Civil fines 
are recorded as receipts and deposited into the general fund of 
the Treasury. CBO expects that any additional receipts and 
direct spending would be less than $500,000 each year.

                      Pay-As-You-Go Considerations

    The Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act sets 
up pay-as-you-go procedures for legislation affecting direct 
spending or receipts. CBO estimates that the net changes in 
both outlays and governmental receipts that are subject to pay-
as-you-go procedures would be negligible.

              Intergovernmental and Private-Sector Impact

    Section 4 of UMRA excludes from application of that act 
bills that would be necessary for the ratification or 
implementation of international treaty obligations. CBO has 
determined that the provisions of S. 682 would implement the 
Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in 
Respect of Intercountry Adoption and would thus fall within 
that exclusion.

                         Previous CBO Estimate

    On April 7, 2000, CBO prepared a cost estimate for H.R. 
2909 as ordered reported by the House Committee on 
International Relations. The bills are identical except for two 
additional subsections in S. 682, which do not change the 
estimated costs.
    Estimate Prepared By: Federal Costs: International 
Affairs--Sunita D'Monte. Immigration Law and Enforcement--Mark 
Grabowicz. Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments--Leo 
Lex. Impact on the Private Sector--Keith Mattrick.
    Estimate Approved By: Robert A. Sunshine, Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                   V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact

    In accordance with rule XXVI, paragraph 11(b) of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has concluded that 
there will be minimal regulatory impact from this legislation 
because many of the agencies providing intercountry adoption 
services already have undertaken many of the requirements of 
the legislation. In addition, the legislation provides for 
delayed implementation of all requirements for smaller agencies 
currently providing adoption services. The State Department 
estimates that 200-300 adoption agencies will seek to attain 
accreditation to provide intercountry adoption services.
                      VI. Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of Rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italics, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

                 SECTION 422 OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT


                 STATE PLANS FOR CHILD WELFARE SERVICES

    Sec. 422. (a)  * * *
    (b) Each plan for child welfare services under this subpart 
shall--
            (1)  * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

            (11) contain a description, developed after 
        consultation with tribal organizations (as defined in 
        section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and 
        Education Assistance Act) in the State, of the specific 
        measures taken by the State to comply with the Indian 
        Child Welfare Act; [and]
            (12) contain assurances that the State shall 
        develop plans for the effective use of cross-
        jurisdictional resources to facilitate timely adoptive 
        or permanent placements for waiting children[.];
            (13) contain a description of the activities that 
        the State has undertaken for children adopted from 
        other countries, including the provision of adoption 
        and post-adoption services; and
            (14) provide that the State shall 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 who handled the placement or 
        adoption, the plans for the child, and the reasons for 
        the disruption or dissolution.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                              ----------                              


                    IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                            TITLE I--GENERAL

                              definitions

    Section 101. (a)  * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (b) As used in titles I and II--
    (1) The term ``child'' means an unmarried person under 
twenty-one years of age who is--
            (A)  * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

            (E)(i) a child adopted while under the age of 
        sixteen years if the child has been in the legal 
        custody of, and has resided with, the adopting parent 
        or parents for at least two years: Provided, That no 
        natural parent of any such adopted child shall 
        thereafter, by virtue of such parentage, be accorded 
        any right, privilege, or status under this Act; or
            (ii) subject to the same proviso as in clause (i), 
        a child who: (I) is a natural sibling of a child 
        described in clause (i) or subparagraph (F)(i); (II) 
        was adopted by the adoptive parent or parents of the 
        sibling described in such clause or subparagraph; and 
        (III) is otherwise described in clause (i), except that 
        the child was adopted while under the age of 18 years; 
        [or]
            (F)(i)  * * *
            (ii) subject to the same provisos as in clause (i), 
        a child who: (I) is a natural sibling of a child 
        described in clause (i) or subparagraph (E)(i); (II) 
        has been adopted abroad, or is coming to the United 
        States for adoption, by the adoptive parent (or 
        prospective adoptive parent) or parents of the sibling 
        described in such clause or subparagraph; and (III) is 
        otherwise described in clause (i), except that the 
        child is under the age of 18 at the time a petition is 
        filed in his or her behalf to accord a classification 
        as an immediate relative under section 201(b)[.]; or
            (G) a child, under the age of sixteen at the time a 
        petition is filed on the child's behalf to accord a 
        classification as an immediate relative under section 
        201(b), who has been adopted in a foreign state that is 
        a party to the Convention on Protection of Children and 
        Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption done 
        at The Hague on May 29, 1993, or who is emigrating from 
        such a foreign state to be adopted in the United 
        States, by a United States citizen and spouse jointly, 
        or by an unmarried United States citizen at least 
        twenty-five years of age--
                    (i) if--
                            (I) the Attorney General is 
                        satisfied that proper care will be 
                        furnished the child if admitted to the 
                        United States;
                            (II) the child's natural parents 
                        (or parent, in the case of a child who 
                        has one sole or surviving parent 
                        because of the death or disappearance 
                        of, abandonment or desertion by, the 
                        other parent), or other persons or 
                        institutions that retain legal custody 
                        of the child, have freely given their 
                        written irrevocable consent to the 
                        termination of their legal relationship 
                        with the child, and to the child's 
                        emigration and adoption;
                            (III) the child is not the 
                        grandchild, niece, nephew, brother, 
                        sister, aunt, uncle, or first cousin of 
                        one or both of the adopting parents, 
                        unless--
                                    (aa) the child has no 
                                living parents because of the 
                                death or disappearance of, 
                                abandonment or desertion by, 
                                separation from, or loss of, 
                                both parents; or
                                    (bb) the sole or surviving 
                                parent is incapable of 
                                providing the proper care for 
                                the child and has in writing 
                                irrevocably released the child 
                                for emigration and adoption; 
                                and
                            (IV) in the case of a child who has 
                        not been adopted--
                                    (aa) the competent 
                                authority of the foreign state 
                                has approved the child's 
                                emigration to the United States 
                                for the purpose of adoption by 
                                the prospective adoptive parent 
                                or parents; and
                                    (bb) the prospective 
                                adoptive parent or parents has 
                                or have complied with any pre-
                                adoption requirements of the 
                                child's proposed residence; and
                    (ii) except that no natural parent or prior 
                adoptive parent of any such child shall 
                thereafter, by virtue of such parentage, be 
                accorded any right, privilege, or status under 
                this Act.
    (2) The term ``parent'', ``father'', or ``mother'' means a 
parent, father, or mother only where the relationship exists by 
reason of any of the circumstances set forth in (1) above, 
except that, for purposes of paragraph (1)(F) (other than the 
second proviso therein) and paragraph (1)(G)(i) in the case of 
a child born out of wedlock described in paragraph (1)(D) (and 
not described in paragraph (1)(C)), the term ``parent'' does 
not include the natural father or the child if the father has 
disappeared or abandoned or deserted the child or if the father 
has in writing irrevocably released the child for emigration 
and adoption.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                         TITLE II--IMMIGRATION

Chapter 1--Selection System

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                procedure for granting immigrant status

    Sec. 204. (a)  * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (d)(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) 
and (b) no petition may be approved on behalf of a child 
defined in [section 101(b)(1)(F)] subparagraph (F) or (G) of 
section 101(b)(1) unless a valid home-study has been favorably 
recommended by an agency of the State of the child's proposed 
residence, or by an agency authorized by that State to conduct 
such a study, or, in the case of a child adopted abroad, by an 
appropriate public or private adoption agency which is licensed 
in the United States.
    (2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and 
(b), no petition may be approved on behalf of a child defined 
in section 101(b)(1)(G) unless the Secretary of State has 
certified that the central authority of the child's country of 
origin has notified the United States central authority under 
the convention referred to in such section 101(b)(1)(G) that a 
United States citizen habitually resident in the United States 
has effected final adoption of the child, or has been granted 
custody of the child for the purpose of emigration and 
adoption, in accordance with such convention and the 
Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000.