Wednesday, January 7, 2015

DOS Alert: Faith International Adoption Accreditation Suspended

On January 6, 2015, the Council on Accreditation (COA) suspended the accreditation of Faith International Adoptions for a minimum of 15 days and until appropriate corrective action has taken place. COA is the Department of State’s designated accrediting entity for adoption service providers under the Hague Adoption Convention (Convention), the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 and the Intercountry Universal Accreditation Act (UAA).  The suspension is due to COA’s finding that Faith International Adoptions failed to maintain substantial compliance with the accreditation standards at 22 Code of Federal Regulations Part 96 Subpart F. For more information regarding this suspension please refer to information on substantiated complaints and adverse actions on the Council on Accreditation’s website. 

As a result of this suspension, Faith International Adoptions must cease to provide all adoption services in connection with intercountry adoption cases for the period of suspension and until corrective action has been taken.  Please note that this suspension affects Faith International Adoptions ability to provide adoption services in both Convention cases and non-Convention cases subject to the UAA. Faith International Adoptions has adoption programs in Ghana, China, India, and Japan, and has provided adoption services in a number of other countries in which it does not have an established program. Persons with an open case with Faith International Adoptions should contact the adoption service provider directly to find out how the suspension will affect their adoption services.  

The suspension will begin on January 6, 2015, and will last for at least 15 days. In order for the suspension to be lifted at the end of the 15 days, Faith International Adoptions must complete corrective action required by the accrediting entity. Updated information will be provided here on adoption.state.gov.

http://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/about-us/newsroom/Faith-International-Adoption-Accreditation-Suspended.html


Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.
http://www.pear-now.org/

Monday, January 5, 2015

DOS Notice : China : Changes to Requirements


The China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) recently announced changes to their intercountry adoption procedures.  The changes that apply to prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) in China fall into three broad categories:  1) the eligibility requirements for PAPs, 2) post-placement requirements, and 3) China’s fees for intercountry adoption. These changes are effective January 1, 2015.
  1.  Changes to the PAP eligibility requirements:
    a.    The CCCWA will now allow couples in which the individuals are over 50 years of age to adopt a child. The age difference between the child and the younger spouse, however, should be no more than 50 years. Single females must be no more than 45 years older than the child they wish to adopt. Additionally, single females are now permitted to adopt non-special needs children.

    b.    The CCCWA has identified additional medical conditions that would make a PAP ineligible to adopt, including being HIV-positive. For additional information on conditions that would make a PAP ineligible to adopt, please see the section, 
    Who Can Adopt, in our Country Information Sheet for China. The CCCWA also added multiple sclerosis to the list of severe diseases that require long-term treatment and that may affect life expectancy. However, CCCWA indicated that if one of the parents is healthy, and the other parent’s medical condition is manageable with treatment, it will consider an exemption to that ineligibility. Given the complexity of these issues, the Department of State advises all PAPs to seek guidance directly from the CCCWA regarding the changes to the medical ineligibilities for PAPs. Contact information for CCCWA may be found on the last page of our Country Information Sheet for China.
    c.    The CCCWA also provided clarification on income requirements. China still requires that an adopting family's annual income equal at least $10,000 for each family member in the household (including the child to be adopted). CCCWA indicates, however, that this requirement may be relaxed where a family’s annual income is less than $10,000 per family member, but is above the average local living standards of the jurisdiction of residence, and the PAPs can provide valid certification to that effect. The CCCWA also requires PAPs to receive pre-adoption training from their U.S. accredited adoption service provider.

    d.    Adopting couples are no longer restricted to having fewer than five children under the age of 18 living in their home.
  2. Changes to post-placement requirements:
    a.    For cases issued a Notice of Coming to China for Adoption after January 1, 2015, CCCWA requires PAPs to submit post placement reports six months, one year, two years, three years, four years, and five years after the adoption registration. 

    b.    The first three reports must be prepared by the social workers who prepared the home study. The last three reports may be written by the families themselves. 
  3. Changes to adoption fees charged by CCCWA
    a.    Adoption applications are now $1,110.  The fee to adopt a step-child is $800 per application.
This information will be incorporated into our Country Information regarding China. The Department of State advises PAPs and ASPs to contact the CCCWA directly regarding the potential impacts of these changes to each PAPs specific situation.  For any further information, please contact the Office of Children’s Issues by telephone at 1-888-407-4747 (toll free) or 202-501-4444 (from overseas) or by e-mail at AdoptionUSCA@state.gov.

http://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/country-information/alerts-and-notices/china14-12-34.html


Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.
http://www.pear-now.org/

Monday, October 6, 2014

DOS Alert: The Department of State Strongly Recommends Against Adopting from the DRC at this time


In light of the DRC’s September 26, 2014 announcement that its exit permit suspension for adopted children remains in effect indefinitely, the Department of State has asked all adoption agencies to cease referring new DRC adoption cases for U.S. prospective adoptive parents at this time. The Department of State strongly recommends against initiating an adoption in the DRC at this time, as adoptive children cannot leave the DRC without an exit permit issued by the DRC’s Directorate of General Migration, even with a finalized adoption.  Congolese courts continue to issue adoption decrees under existing Congolese law, despite the exit permit suspension.
We continue to press the DRC government on lifting the suspension so that Congolese children with finalized adoptions waiting for an exit permit can join their adoptive families as soon as possible.We are committed to working with the DRC government to address their concerns and continue to advocate for opportunities to engage on long-term adoption reforms in the DRC. 


Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.
http://www.pear-now.org/

Thursday, September 25, 2014

USDOS Office of Children’s Issues Announces New Chief of the Adoption Division


Welcome Trish Maskew, New Chief of the Adoption Division

The Office of Children’s Issues is pleased to announce the appointment of Trish Maskew as the new Chief of the Adoption Division. 
Trish joins the Department of State from the Department of Justice where she worked in the Civil Division for almost six years.  Before joining the U.S. government, she held several positions in the intercountry adoption field: as a program coordinator for an adoption agency; a board member and interim administrator for the Joint Council on International Children’s Services; the founder and President of Ethica, a non-profit organization dedicated to ethical and transparent adoptions; and as an expert consultant to the Hague Conference on Private International Law.  She is the author of “Our Own: Adopting and Parenting the Older Child” and numerous articles on adoption ethics and practice.  She earned her J.D. from American University.


Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.
http://www.pear-now.org/

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

American Families Caught Attempting Illegal DRC Exit


According to reports from the Democratic Republic of Congo ("DRC"), officials intercepted an attempt by three American adoptive families to remove their children from Congo without proper authorization (http://radiookapi.net/actualite/2014/09/14/trafic-denfants-la-dgm-demantele-un-reseau-dirige-par-un-citoyen-americain/).  This news story has been reported as "child selling" or trafficking by DRC news outlets (http://youtu.be/Ym4kecKFvIM).  PEAR understands that the three families in question had legally adopted the seven affected children according to DRC regulations, that they had US visas, and that they were attempting to take the children from the country without the permission of the Congolese government in the form of the mandatory exit letter from Congolese immigration (known by its acronym "DGM").  The seven children are all believed to be in the custody of the Congolese government; the American adoptive parents had all left the country prior to the police operation.  Congolese news has reported that one American, M. Jessy Samuel, was implicated in the scheme.

In September 2013, the Congolese government announced a one-year suspension on the issuance of exit permits.(http://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/country-information/alerts-and-notices/DRC9-27-13.html).  In April 2014, the US Embassy stated that the Congolese government was aware that at least five American adoptive families had taken their children out of the country without exit permits (http://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/country-information/alerts-and-notices/DRC4-28-14.html).  We have been informed that many more than five adoptive families have taken their adopted children from Congo without the proper authorization during the suspension, which may have happened with agency complicity and/or through the payment of bribes. In the present case, it is not believed that any adoption agencies were involved in the attempted illegal exit. 

Given that the Congolese government has officially stated that no exit letters will be issued until such time as the suspension is lifted, PEAR does not believe that the United States Embassy in Kinshasa should be issuing any entry visas, as this deliberately contravenes current DRC policy and puts prospective parents in the difficult position of having children that are “legally” adopted in DRC and permitted to enter the U.S., but are unable to leave the country under until such time as the suspension is lifted.  

As such, PEAR calls on the US Embassy in Kinshasa to immediately cease the issuance of entry visas until such time as the suspension is lifted.  Continuing to issue visas during the suspension will only encourage adoptive parents to attempt to circumvent Congolese laws to remove their adopted children from the country.  

We also call on members of the adoption lobby, DRC prospective parents, adoption bloggers, and adoption agencies to be truthful in their knowledge of the issued exit letters, of any “underground” routes that may have been used to illegally remove adoptees from DRC, and to advocate for a fully transparent and legitimate adoption process. We would also remind all adoptive parents with legally adopted children in DRC of the risks of attempting an illegal exit from DRC, and that a valid exit letter from DGM in Kinshasa is required in order for your children to legally exit Congo.


Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.
http://www.pear-now.org/