The Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 becomes Law

On January 14, 2013, the President signed The Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA), one of the last bills passed in the final days of the 112thCongress. The effective date of the UAA is July 14, 2014, 18 months after the President's signature.

The UAA has broad implications for all U.S. adoption service providers (ASPs) active in intercountry adoption. It affects currently accredited or approved ASPs and those ASPs with programs only in non-Hague Adoption Convention countries of origin, where federal accreditation or approval was not previously required.

The purpose of the UAA is to apply the provisions of the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA) concerning the accreditation of ASPs to agencies and persons providing adoption services in cases involving children described in Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 101(b)(1)(F) and adopted through the orphan process. By requiring all ASPs handling cases under 101(b)(1)(F) and 101(b)(1)(G) (concerning children habitually resident in Hague Adoption Convention countries) to receive the same accreditation under federal standards, families adopting internationally will have the assurance that regardless from where they adopt, the ASP they choose to work with will be in substantial compliance with the same ethical standards of practice and conduct.

Previously, the conduct of accredited agencies in non-Convention cases did not generally fall under the oversight and monitoring responsibilities of the Department of State-designated accrediting entities (AEs). Such conduct is now subject to the oversight and monitoring by AEs. The UAA also extends the enforcement provisions of the IAA to ASPs providing adoption services in orphan cases.

The UAA provides for transition cases (grandfathering) in certain situations; ASPs providing adoption services in grandfathered cases do not need to be accredited.

A copy of the UAA is available in pdf format at this link.

Additional information on the UAA is available in our UAA FAQ.  Please review the FAQ materials before contacting us for additional information.  We welcome your questions – email us at AdoptionUSCA@state.gov  and watch the Notices section of this website for additional general information.