The Department of State designated the Council on Accreditation (COA) and the Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity (IAAME) as accrediting entities to carry out the accreditation and approval of U.S. adoption service providers (ASPs).
The accrediting entities accredit agencies and approve persons and oversees and enforces substantial compliance with the accreditation standards. Starting July 14, 2014, when the Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA) went into effect, the accreditation standards that apply in Convention cases were also applied in non-Convention or "orphan" adoption cases described in section 101(b)(1)(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The UAA requires all adoption service providers in intercountry adoption to adhere to the ethical standards of practice embodied in the accreditation regulations. In addition, it provides for uniform monitoring and oversight of ASPs as they carry out their day-to-day work helping families adopt abroad. For more information about the UAA, see our UAA Webpage.
The accrediting entities make accreditation and approval decisions based upon the standards and procedures in federal accreditation regulations (22 CFR Part 96). In this role, COA and IAAME perform a number of tasks, including:
The State Department monitors the accrediting entities to ensure they perform their functions consistent with the Hague Adoption Convention, the Intercountry Adoption Act (IAA), the UAA, the regulations implementing the IAA and UAA, other applicable laws, and its written agreement with the Department. The Department conducts regular site visits and conference calls with the accrediting entities and a formal annual review as part of this monitoring.
The Department has the authority to suspend or cancel an accrediting entity's designation if it determines the accrediting entity is substantially out of compliance with the applicable laws and regulations and its written agreement with the Department. An accrediting entity may be considered substantially out of compliance with the Convention or the IAA under circumstances such as: