Foreign Providers

Guidance on Supervising Foreign Providers

Providing and Facilitating Adoption Services: ACCREDITATION, APPROVAL, AND SUPERVISION

You must be accredited, approved or supervised by an accredited or approved adoption service provider (ASP) if you are providing any of the adoption services defined under 22 CFR 96.2.



Entities/individuals that do not require accreditation, approval, or supervision to provide adoption services:

  • competent authority, including:
  • a prospective adoptive parent acting on her/his own behalf. A prospective adoptive parent cannot, however, supervise another person or provider.
  • home study or child background study preparer per 22 CFR 96.13(a) when that preparer is an exempted provider.  As defined in 22 CFR 96.2, an exempted provider is a social work professional or organization that performs a home study on prospective adoptive parent(s) or a child background study (or both) in the United States in connection with a Convention adoption (including any reports or updates), but that is not currently providing and has not previously provided any other adoption service in the case.
  • a foreign provider not under the supervision of a primary provider per 22 CFR 96.14(c)(3) who has or is securing the necessary consent to the termination of parental rights or to the adoption, or who has prepared or is preparing a child background study or home study, subject to verification by the primary adoption service provider that the services were performed consistent with applicable laws and regulations, and consistent with the best interests of the child.  

What is an adoption service?

The six adoption services are:

  1. Identifying a child for adoption and arranging an adoption;
  2. Securing the necessary consent to termination of parental rights and to adoption;
  3. Performing a background study on a child or a home study on a prospective adoptive parent(s), and reporting on such a study;
  4. Making non-judicial determination of the best interests of a child and the appropriateness of an adoptive placement for the child;
  5. Monitoring a case after a child has been placed with prospective adoptive parent(s) until final adoption; or
  6. When necessary because of a disruption before final adoption, assuming custody and providing (including facilitating the provision of) child care or any other social service pending an alternative placement.

What does it mean to “provide?”

Under the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA), providing an adoption service is defined as including facilitating the provision of the service. Therefore, anyone facilitating the provision of an adoption service is considered to be providing that adoption service.

In general, you will be considered to be providing an adoption service any time that you take an action or otherwise have a role, direct or indirect, in the performance of the adoption service. That role may be limited to preparing a document, advancing the interests of one of the individuals involved in the adoption with a competent authority, or making a payment, if the action contributes to the completion of one of the adoption services.

Note:  The determination of the role will turn on the action of the individual or body, not his/her title.  


What is the primary provider’s responsibility when adoption services were provided in a case prior to her/his involvement?

Accreditation and approval require that in each intercountry adoption case an accredited agency or an approved person will be identified and act as the primary provider. If just one accredited agency or approved person is involved in providing adoption services, the sole accredited agency or approved person must act as the primary provider.  As a reminder, facilitation of an adoption service, even when the prospective adoptive parents perform that service, is provision of the service.

If more than one accredited agency or approved person is providing the adoption services, the agency or person that has child placement responsibility, as determined by the evidence identified in 22 CFR 96.14, must act as the primary provider throughout the case:

Prospective adoptive parents sometimes engage a primary provider late in the intercountry adoption process when some or all of the required adoption services in a case have already been completed.  When this occurs, the primary provider is responsible for ensuring that all adoption services were provided in the case, and for verifying, through review of the relevant documentation and other appropriate steps, that any services provided were done so consistent with applicable laws and regulations, and consistent with the best interests of the child.  

  • The primary provider is responsible for verifying through review of relevant documentation and taking other appropriate steps consistent with 22 CFR 96.46(c) relating to obtaining necessary consents to the termination of parental rights or to the adoption and the preparation of
    • the child background study and report (incoming cases) or
    • the home study and report on the prospective adoptive parents (outgoing cases)

In addition, the primary provider is responsible for ensuring, through review of available documentation and through direct enquiry with the providers, when possible, that all adoption services take place in the best interests of the child; and the primary provider is responsible for preventing the abduction, exploitation, sale, or trafficking of children in accordance with 22 CFR 96.35(a)