Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April First and the Hague Convention

Today I received the following announcement from the US Department of State:

Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention Enters into Force

From the US Department of State:

On April 1, 2008, the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Convention) enters into force for the United States. As of this date, the provisions of the Convention will govern both immigrating (incoming) and emigrating (outgoing) intercountry adoptions between the United States and other Convention countries.

Implementing the Convention and the IAA has led to many changes in the U.S. intercountry adoption process. Some of these key changes are:

* Federal accreditation, through accrediting entities designated by the Department, of adoption service providers who provide certain key adoption services in connection with Convention adoption cases.
* The replacement of the Department of Homeland Security petition forms I-600A and I-600 for orphans with new forms I-800A and I-800 for “Convention adoptees.”
* New documents will be issued by consular officers overseas in Convention cases stating that the requirements of the Convention and the IAA have been met for an adoption or custody declaration completed overseas. These are the Hague Adoption Certificate (HAC) or Hague Custody Certificate (HCC), which will accompany the IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant visa.
* For the outgoing adoption or custody declaration completed in the United States, the Department will issue the HAC or Hague Custody Declaration (HCD) stating that the requirements of the Convention and the IAA have been met.
* The creation of the Adoption Tracking Service (ATS) through which the Department will track both incoming and outgoing cases. For the first time, it will be possible to track the cases of American children who are adopted by citizens of other (Hague) countries. Previously there was no federal role in these cases, and no system for collecting information from the various states about the numbers and destinations of American children adopted abroad.
* The creation of a Hague Complaint Registry to track public complaints related to intercountry adoptions.

For more information on the Convention’s implementation in the United States, please visit the “Intercountry Adoption” section of our website at www.travel.state.gov or contact the U.S. Central Authority at AdoptionUSCA@state.gov.

We had hoped additional information on accredited agencies would also be released today, but it seems the agencies who didn't make the first cut are still "pending".

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