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                                                       Calendar No. 539
112th Congress                                                   Report
 2d Session                                                     112-234


                       ACCREDITATION ACT OF 2012


               November 13, 2012.--Ordered to be printed

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


                         [To accompany S. 3331]

    The Committee on Foreign Relations, having had under 
consideration the bill S. 3331, to provide for universal 
intercountry adoption accreditation standards, and for other 
purposes, reports favorably thereon without amendment and 
recommends that the bill do pass.



  I. Purpose..........................................................1
 II. Committee Action.................................................1
III. Discussion.......................................................1
 IV. Cost Estimate....................................................2
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................4
 VI. Changes in Existing Law..........................................4

                               I. Purpose

    The purpose of S. 3331 is to provide for universal 
intercountry adoption accreditation standards, and for other 

                          II. Committee Action

    S. 3331 was introduced by Senators Kerry, Lugar, Landrieu, 
and Inhofe on June 21, 2012. On September 19, 2012, the 
committee ordered the bill reported favorably by voice vote.

                            III. Discussion

    The purpose of S. 3331 is to provide for universal 
intercountry adoption accreditation standards. The bill will 
require any person offering or providing adoption services in 
connection with a child from a country that is not 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 (``the Convention'') to adhere to accreditation standards 
described in the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 
14943) and required previously of any person offering or 
providing adoption services in connection with a child from a 
country that is a party to the Convention.
    This provision of the bill will be effective 18 months 
after the date of enactment.
    The bill also eliminates section 403, subsection (c) in the 
Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 14943). Striking 
this section would remove a restriction on funding for an 
accrediting entity.

                           IV. Cost Estimate

    In accordance with Rule XXVI, paragraph 11(a) of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the committee provides this 
estimate of the costs of this legislation prepared by the 
Congressional Budget Office.

                            United States Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, October 17, 2012.
Hon. John F. Kerry,
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. 3331, the 
Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Sunita 
                                      Douglas W. Elmendorf,


S. 3331--Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012

    S. 3331 would expand the accreditation standards in the 
Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 to cover all international 
adoptions. Currently, those standards apply only to adoptions 
from countries that are parties to the Convention on Protection 
of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption 
(Hague Convention).
    The Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and 
Immigration Services share the responsibility of overseeing 
adoptions from Hague Convention countries and also have staff 
to monitor adoptions from countries that are not parties to the 
convention. Based on information from both agencies, CBO 
estimates that no additional personnel would be required to 
implement the bill but that employees currently handling 
nonconvention cases would need training to implement the 
accreditation standards under the Hague Convention. Thus, CBO 
estimates that the bill would have insignificant discretionary 
costs over the 2013-2017 period, assuming the availability of 
appropriated funds.
    CBO further estimates that under the bill the number of 
adoptions from nonconvention countries would decline. With 
fewer people entering the United States through adoption, the 
demand for government programs such as the Supplemental 
Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid would be reduced. CBO 
estimates that very few people would be affected and, thus, 
that enacting the bill would reduce direct spending for such 
programs by less than $500,000 over the 2013-2022 period.
    Enacting S. 3331 also would increase revenues from civil 
penalties imposed on those who violate the regulations 
governing international adoptions. CBO estimates that few 
people would be affected by such penalties and, thus, that 
additional revenues deposited in the Treasury would not be 
significant over the 2013-2022 period.
    Because enacting S. 3331 would affect direct spending and 
revenues, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, as discussed 
above, CBO estimates that any such effectswould not be 
significant in any year.
    S. 3331 contains an intergovernmental mandate as defined in 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) because it would expand 
federal accreditation and approval requirements to virtually 
every case involving intercountry adoptions. That expansion 
would preempt some state adoption laws that govern the 
licensure and approval of adoption service providers who are 
involved in intercountry adoption services' specifically if the 
state laws are inconsistent with the federal accreditation and 
approval requirements. Currently, only intercountry adoptions 
between the United States and a country that is a party to the 
Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect 
of Intercountry Adoption are subject to federal accreditation 
and approval standards. While the preemption would limit the 
application of state law, CBO estimates that it would impose no 
duty on state, local, or tribal governments that would result 
in additional spending.
    S. 3331 would impose a private-sector mandate by requiring 
all providers of placement services for intercountry adoptions 
to be compliant with the accreditation standards of the Hague 
Convention. Providers would be required to obtain accreditation 
through a designated accrediting agency, pay fees associated 
with obtaining and maintaining accreditation, and purchase 
insurance to cover potential liabilities associated with 
conducting adoption services. The initial fees for obtaining 
accreditation can range between $10,000 and $16,000 depending 
on the size and annual revenue of the entity seeking 
accreditation. Annual fees to maintain accreditation are less 
than $1,000 on average, but are also subject to change based on 
the revenue of the entity. The cost of liability insurance for 
adoption agencies varies from state to state and can range 
between $10,000 and $50,000 per year. Based on information 
gathered from industry professionals, the Department of Health 
and Human Services, and an accreditation agency, the number of 
entities that would be affected is relatively small. Therefore, 
CBO estimates that the aggregate cost of the mandate to the 
private sector would fall below the annual threshold 
established in UMRA ($146 million in 2012, adjusted annually 
for inflation).
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are: Sunita 
D'Monte and Jonathan Morancy (for federal costs), J'nell Blanco 
(for the intergovernmental impact), and Marin Randall (for the 
impact on the private sector). The estimate was approved by 
Theresa Gullo, Deputy 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 most of the agencies providing intercountry adoption 
services have already obtained accreditation by virtue of their 
work in countries that are parties to the Convention. The State 
Department estimates that approximately 200 adoption agencies 
will seek to attain accreditation as a result of this 
legislation. The committee also notes that the legislation 
provides for delayed implementation of accreditation 

                      VI. Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with Rule XXVI, paragraph 12 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 
italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown in 


           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


    (a) Authorization of Appropriations.--(1) In general.--
There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be 
necessary to agencies of the Federal Government implementing 
the Convention and the provisions of this chapter.
    (2) Availability of funds.--Amounts appropriated pursuant 
to paragraph (1) are authorized to remain available until 
    (b) Assessment of Fees.--(1) The Secretary may charge a fee 
for new or enhanced services that will be undertaken by the 
Department of State to meet the requirements of this chapter 
with respect to intercountry adoptions under the Convention and 
comparable services with respect to other intercountry 
adoptions. Such fee shall be prescribed by regulation and shall 
not exceed the cost of such services.
    (2) Fees collected under paragraph (1) shall be retained 
and deposited as an offsetting collection to any Department of 
State appropriation to recover the costs of providing such 
services. Such fees shall remain available for obligation until 
    [(c) Restriction.--No funds collected under the authority 
of this section may be made available to an accrediting entity 
to carry out the purposes of this chapter.]