ACCREDITATION AND AUTHORISATION OF ADOPTION AGENCIES
2. (I) The Authority may accredit an adoption agency in the country or authorize a foreign accredited adoption agency to provide adoption services in the country.
(2) In furtherance of sub regulation (1), the Authority shall
(a) develop and administer systems and standards of control to guide recruitment, operations, and monitoring of accredited or authorized adoption agencies to conform to the Act, the 1993 Hague Convention and other relevant enactments in the delivery of adoption services.
(b) Conduct accreditation and authorization fairly and transparently by establishing and following uniform application procedure.
(c) make information about procedure for adoption available to applicants and interested parties.
(d) determine the eligibility of an adoption agency for accreditation or authorization.
(e) investigate and respond to complaints about the conduct of an adoption agency.
(f) take appropriate measures to support an adoption agency to conform to the Act, 1993 Hague Convention and other relevant enactments in the provision of adoption services and;
(g) apply sanctions to an accredited or authorized adoption agency which fails to conform to the standards
RESTRICTIONS ON PROVISION OF ADOPTION SERVICES
3. (1) An agency shall not provide adoption services unless that agency is;
(a) a not-for-profit organization; and
(b) accredited or authorized by the Authority for that purpose.
(2) A residential home shall not be accredited or authorized as an adoption agency
(3) when making a decision to authorize or accredit an adoption agency, the Authority shall consider the general context of adoption prevailing in the country at a particular time and evaluate the need for an additional adoption agency
AUTHORISED ADOPTION SERVICES
4. An accredited or authorized adoption agency may provide the following adoption services:
(a) pre-adoption counselling and training of prospective adoptive parents.
(b) support the Department in the conduct of Child Study investigation and the preparation of Child Study Report.
(c) conduct of home study and the preparation of Home Study Report.
(d) preparation of an adoptable child for placement.
(e) preparation of a prospective adoptive parent and family for child placement
(f) post placement monitoring of an adoptive family.
(g) post adoption counselling and monitoring of an adoptive family.
(h) preparation and submission of post adoption monitoring report and evaluation report to the Authority.
(i) liaison services between the Central Authorities and adoptive parents; or
(j) any other services related to adoption determined by the Authority.
PROCEDURE FOR ACCREDITATION OR AUTHORIZATION
Eligibility for Accreditation or Authorization
5. (1) The Authority may accredit the following to provide adoption services in the country:
(a) a local not-for-profit organization registered in the country; or
(b) a foreign adoption agency of a Non-Contracting State with a bilateral agreement with the Republic.
(2) The Authority may authorize a foreign accredited adoption agency from a Contracting State with the co-operation of the Central Authority of the Contracting State to provide adoption services in the country.
(3) An applicant shall
(a) be a registered not-for-profit organization.
(b) have an identifiable place of business in the country.
(c) have competent staff including a social worker; and
(d) in the case of a foreign adoption agency from a State which is not a member of the 1993 Hague Convention, but has signed a bi-lateral co-operation agreement on inter-country adoption with the Republic, be duly accredited to provide adoption services by a competent authority in the state; or
(e) in the case of a foreign adoption agency from a Contracting State applying for authorization, be accredited in the Receiving State.
APPLICATION FOR ACCREDITATION OR AUTHORIZATION
6. (1) An adoption agency that wishes to provide adoption services shall apply to the Authority for accreditation or authorization.
(2) The application shall be as set out in
(a) Form 1A of the schedule for accreditation of a local adoption agency; or
(b) Form 1B of the schedule for authorization of a foreign adoption agency
(3) An application under sub regulation (2) shall be accompanied with the following:
(a) a certificate of Incorporation;
(b) a certificate to commence Business.
(c) a certificate of recognition from the department.
(d) the requisite documents establishing that all the conditions under regulation 5 have been met including proof of Accreditation in the Receiving State where necessary.
(e) supporting documentation on background and experience of the adoption agency.
(f) the names and qualifications of the members of the Board of Directors, senior officers and key staff involved in adoption.
(g) a detailed description of
(i) programmes and services and
(ii) research studies and publications, if any;
(h) a general activity report
(i) for three preceding years, where the organization has been in operation for at least three years; or
(ii) in the case of an organization with less than three years in operation, the current activity report for the organization;
(i)Statement of audited accounts including sources of funds, adoption fees and charges
(i) for three preceding years, where the organization has been in operation for at least three years; or
(ii) the immediate preceding year, in the case of an organization in operation for less than three years;
(j) the prescribed fees; and
(k) any additional documentation that the Authority may require.
(4) where the applicant is a foreign adoption agency, the foreign adoption agency shall nominate a local accredited agency to represent the foreign adoption agency during the procedure for authorization and for the provision of adoption services in the country.
(5) where the adoption agency has programs for children with special needs, the adoption agency shall provide information outlining the specificities of the programme including
(a) a description of the programmes, competencies and qualification of the staff in charge;
(b) the content of the programmes and packages of the adoption agency for the delivery of adoption services; and
(c) the follow up measures put in place subsequent to an adoption
(6) The Authority may request for additional documents or contact the competent authorities of the Receiving state for any further information
(7) A document required to be submitted under this regulation shall be submitted under this regulation shall be submitted in the English language.
EVALUATION OF APPLICATION FOR ACCREDITATION OR AUTHORIZATION
7. (1) The Authority shall, on receipt of an application, evaluate the application and inform the applicant of its decision within sixty days.
(2) In furtherance of sub regulation (1), the Authority shall
(a) review the written application and supporting documents for completeness of the information required under these Regulations;
(b) validate the authenticity of information provided;
(c) analyze the governance system of the adoption agency to verify whether the adoption agency operates under a governing body that approves its programmes, activities and budget with sound management of its funds;
(d) consider any complaints received concerning the applicant if any;
(e) ensure that the information provided by the applicant to the public and prospective adoptive parents is in conformity with the Act, the 1993 Hague Convention and other relevant enactments;
(f) conduct site visit to gather information about the applicant through
(i) interview with adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents, adult adopters served by the adoption agency, employees, other individuals with knowledge about the applicant, where applicable;
(ii) review of site documentation,
(iii) sampling and review of adoption case files worked on by the applicant; and
(iv) review records and data management systems of the applicant; and
(g) give special consideration to an applicant, with programs for children with special needs.
(3) An applicant shall grant the Authority access to information and co-operate with the Authority in the process of evaluation of the application of the Adoption agency.
(4) The Authority may refuse an application of an applicant for accreditation or authorization, if the applicant fails to co-operate with the Authority.
GRANT OF ACCREDITATION OR AUTHORIZATION
8. (1) The Authority shall notify an applicant in writing whether the application, has been approve, denied or pending with reasons.
(2) Where an application is approved by the Authority, the Authority shall issue the applicant with a certificate as set out in
(a) Form 2A of the Schedule for a local adoption agency; or
(b) Form 2B of the Schedule for a foreign adoption agency.
(3) Where an application is pending with reasons, the Authority shall notify the applicant and give the applicant the opportunity to make any clarifications that may be necessary.
(4) An accreditation or authorization granted under these Regulations is valid for a period of one year and is subject to such conditions as the Authority may specify.
RENEWAL OF ACCREDITATION OR AUTHORISATION
9. (1) An adoption agency may apply for the renewal of its accreditation or authorization three months before the expiration of the accreditation or authorization.
(2) The application shall include the following:
(a) a letter requesting for renewal of accreditation or authorization
(b) a report of activities undertaken within the preceding two years with the corresponding accounting documents,
(c) the prescribed fee, and
(d) all relevant information including changes in the activities and staff of the adoption agency.
(3) The Authority shall, in deciding on the renewal of the accreditation or authorization, take into account the performance of the adoption agency.
REFUSAL TO RENEW ACCREDITATION OR AUTHORIZATION
10. (1) The Authority may refuse to renew an application for accreditation or authorization and communicate its decision to the adoption agency within thirty days of receipt of the application.
(2) The Authority shall give reasons for the refusal of the application.
(3) A person whose application is refused under the sub regulation (1) may re-apply.
REVOCATION OF ACCREDITATION OR AUTHORIZATION
11. (1) The Authority may revoke an accreditation or authorization issued to an adoption agency, where
(a) the adoption agency breaches a condition of the accreditation or authorization;
(b) the adoption agency has provided false information in its application for authorization or accreditation
(c) the adoption agency refuses to comply with a directive of the Authority to rectify a violation of the condition of the authorization or accreditation;
(d) the adoption agency has committed an offence under the Act or these Regulations; or
(e) investigations by the Authority reveal that the adoption agency is no longer able to provide adoption services.
(2) The Authority shall give notice to an agency of its intention to revoke the accreditation or authorization and give the adoption agency an opportunity to respond within thirty days of service of the notice to revoke the accreditation or authorization.
(3) After the expiry of the notice period, and considering any representation made by the adoption agency, the Authority may decide whether to take the proposed action or not or take a variant of the proposed action that it considers necessary.
(4) Where the Authority revokes the accreditation or authorization of the adoption agency, the adoption agency shall cease to provide adoption services and shall surrender accreditation or authorization
NON-TRANSFERABILITY OF ACCREDITATION OR AUTHORIZATION
12. An accreditation or authorization granted by the Authority under these regulations is not transferrable
CHANGE OF NAME OF ADOPTION AGENCY
13. Where an adoption agency changes its name, the adoption agency shall notify the Authority of the change in name within seven days of the change and the Authority shall re-issue the accreditation or authorization under the new name.
OBLIGATIONS AND ACTIVITIES OF ADOPTION AGENCY
OBLIGATIONS OF AN ADOPTION AGENCY
14. (1) An adoption agency shall submit the relevant documents on a prospective adoptive parent including a Home study Report to the Authority.
(2) An adoption agency shall bear the full cost of activities, including site visits associated with the processing and approval of the application.
POST ADOPTION OBLIGATIONS OF A FOREIGN ADOPTION AGENCY
15. A foreign adoption agency shall
(a) transmit records on the adopted child to the Embassy or High Commission of Ghana in the Receiving State;
(b) ensure that the adoption is registered with the relevant authority of the Receiving state
(c) produce and transmit follow up reports to the Authority in accordance with the Act;
(d) support the adoptive family in preserving the Ghanaian cultural heritage of the adopted child; and
(e) produce an annual report of activities with the corresponding accounting documents to the Authority
ACTIVITIES OF AN ADOPTION AGENCY IN THE COUNTRY
16. (1) For purposes of inter-country adoption, a foreign adoption agency shall provide support services for a prospective adoptive parent including
(a) arranging for accommodation and the translation of documents into the English language; and
(b) facilitating a meeting between the prospective adoptive parent and the adoptable child.
(2) An adoptive agency shall not act as a legal representative of a prospective adoptive parent in the country
MANAGEMENT OF ADOPTION RECORDS
17. An adoption agency shall maintain records on a child, the parent, guardian or relative of the child and a prospective adoptive parent including
(a) the medical history
(b) the medical report
(c) the criminal clearance report on the prospective adoptive parent
(d) the child study report
(e) the home study report of the prospective adoptive parent, and
(f) any other information relevant to the pre-adoption and adoption processes, and post adoption monitoring and reporting.
INDIVIDUAL CASE FILE
18. An adoption agency shall develop and maintain a case file on an adopted child
CONFIDENTIALITY OF ADOPTION RECORD
19. (1) An adoption agency shall
(a) treat an adoption record as confidential; and
(b) restrict access to an adoption record to authorized personnel only
(2) An adoption agency shall protect from disclosure the information on the identity of an adopted child, the parent, guardian or relative of the child and the adoptive parent of the child.
RETENTION AND DISPOSITION OF FILES
20. (1) An adoptive agency shall submit a closed adoption file to the authority
(2) Where an adoptive agency closes its operations in the country, the adoption agency shall transfer all adoption and confidential records to the authority within thirty days of its closure.
21. (1) An adoption agency which is dissatisfied with a decision of the Authority may lodge a complaint with the secretariat of the Authority for an amicable settlement.
(2) Where an adoption agency is dissatisfied with a decision under sub regulation (1), the adoption agency may apply to the Multidisciplinary Review Committee established under section 70 of the Act within fourteen days for a review of the decision
(3)An adoption agency which is dissatisfied with a decision under sub regulation (2) may petition the Minister within fourteen days for a re-consideration of the decision
(4)An adoption agency which is dissatisfied with a decision under sub regulation (3) may proceed to court for a determination of the matter.
FEES CHARGED BY ADOPTION AGENCY
22. (1) An adoption agency shall charge fees determined by the Authority in consultation with the adoption agency
(2) The adoption agency shall keep a record of all fees charged by the adoption agency for each adoption service and include the record of all fees charged by the adoption agency in the annual financial report of the adoption agency.
23. (1) Where an adoption agency undertakes a humanitarian activity, the adoption agency shall
(a) inform the Authority of the humanitarian activity;
(b) keep a record of the humanitarian activity separately from the adoption services and programmes; and
(c) have two separate accounting records for the humanitarian activity, and the adoption services and programmes
(2) For purposes of this regulation, ‘’humanitarian activity’’ includes support given to a residential home, child sponsorship, educational, family preservation and medical programmes.
SHARING OF INFORMATION
24. The Authority may share information about unethical acts of an adoption agency with its counterpart in a Receiving state
25. (1) A person who provides adoption services without accreditation or authorization contrary to these Regulations commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than seven hundred and fifty penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than three years, or to both.
(2) An adoption agency which charges fees contrary to the determined in consultation with the Authority commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than one thousand penalty units and not more than three thousand penalty units.