Travel.State.Gov > Intercountry Adoption > Adoption Reference > Adoption FAQs > FAQ: Clarification Regarding Primary Provider Rules for Incoming Adoptions
The short answer is yes. Adoption service providers seeking accreditation/approval who intend to provide only a limited number of the defined adoption services must nonetheless substantially comply with 22 CFR 96.44(b), which requires them to be capable of acting as a primary provider in any Convention case. (The Department of State interprets capability as present ability; see the answer to question number 3 for more detail on capability.)
The IAA and its implementing regulations created the accreditation process to accredit agencies and to approve persons to act as primary providers in Convention cases. The intent was to give prospective adoptive parents one accredited/approved adoption service provider that would be responsible for implementing a service plan to provide (either directly or through arrangements with other providers) all of the adoption services in connection with a Convention adoption. Although an accredited/approved adoption service provider may not be the primary provider in every case in which it participates, the IAA and its implementing regulations establish that every accredited/approved adoption service provider is expected to be capable of acting as a primary provider.
The categories supervised and exempted providers were specifically created by the IAA and its implementing regulations to enable smaller or specialized providers to operate under the Hague system in the United States and to work in concert with primary providers. The fact that such a provider is not “accredited” or “approved” does not reflect negatively on the provider’s ability to provide a particular adoption service. It simply reflects the fact that such a provider is not in a position to act as a primary provider.
For purposes of section 96.44(b) of the accreditation regulations on primary providers, the Department of State interprets “capability” to indicate present ability. Thus, a provider must show that it could act as a primary provider with little action or delay.
The Accrediting Entities are assessing whether adoption service providers are in substantial compliance with the applicable standards, in this case, section 96.44(b). This standard refers to infrastructure factors such as organizational structure, financial and personnel resources and policies and procedures. According to the Accrediting Entities, these structural factors will indicate whether an adoption service provider has the capability or not. Some considerations:
The Accrediting Entities recognize that some adoption service providers may not be able to document through case files or other physical evidence that they are in substantial compliance with the standards in 96.44(a), 96.45, and 96.46. The Accrediting Entities will be providing an evidence chart and additional information showing how adoption service providers may demonstrate substantial compliance with these requirements. In lieu of documented experience and performance, we understand that applicants will have the option of submitting the following in support of substantial compliance:
No. Those who file a sworn executive verification must not act as a primary provider. The showing of capability to act as a primary provider does not mean that an adoption service provider accredited or approved on the basis of the affidavit may later unilaterally start acting as a primary provider. Any such proposed change must be brought to the immediate attention of the Accrediting Entity for its approval.
The Intercountry Adoption Act – the Federal law implementing the Hague Adoption Convention – profoundly changed the status quo with respect to intercountry adoptions covered by the Convention. As noted above, under the IAA, an adoption service provider seeking Hague accreditation/approval must be capable of taking on the role of primary provider. The IAA created three basic categories for providers: fully accredited/approved adoption service providers (including temporarily accredited agencies); supervised adoption service providers; and exempted providers. The Department of State and the Accrediting Entities are bound by the IAA and its implementing regulations. Agencies and persons who do not want to be primary providers may operate as supervised providers or, if they provide only home or background studies, can act as exempted providers, neither of which requires accreditation/approval. We encourage agencies and persons to choose the path that makes the most sense for their organization.
Yes. In accordance with 22 CFR 96.21(b)(i), you may apply again in the future to the same Accrediting Entity to which you first applied.
Yes. If you withdraw your application in anticipation of denial, you must apply to the same Accrediting Entity to whom you originally applied. If you otherwise withdraw your application, you may apply in the future to any Accrediting Entity with jurisdiction over your application.