Message from the Assistant Secretary regarding the Accrediting Entity Transition

Last Updated: December 7, 2017

Message from Assistant Secretary Carl C. Risch

Dear Intercountry Adoption Community,

As the Assistant Secretary for the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA), I want to assure you that the Department is committed to maintaining ethical intercountry adoption as a viable option for children in need throughout the world. In July 2017, the Department was pleased to designate the Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity, Inc. (IAAME) as a second accrediting entity, in addition to the Council on Accreditation (COA). On October 6, 2017, COA informed the Department that it would be unable to continue to perform its duties as an accrediting entity due to unforeseen circumstances effective 14 months from the notification. Over the next year, we will work to ensure a smooth transition and strong continuity of operations.

COA has been our longest serving accrediting entity and has supported intercountry adoption since the United States became a party to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. I thank them for their service and wish to assure the adoption community there will be no interruption to intercountry adoption in the United States as a result of this transition. IAAME is operated by staff with extensive experience in providing child welfare services and in administering child welfare standards, contracting, licensing, monitoring, and domestic adoption services.

We have begun work on a transition as COA continues to execute its responsibilities and IAAME prepares to assume its duties. Our dedicated team in the Office of Children’s Issues is committed to a smooth transition and the continued viability of intercounty adoptions to and from the United States. Discussions regarding the transition are ongoing, and the Department will share updates with the adoption community as plans finalize. Please regularly check our website for updated notices and FAQs. I encourage you to subscribe to the intercountry adoption listserv, through which these updates and other timely messages are disseminated.   

I am confident we will manage this transition as we have so many challenges before, and I ask for your patience as we proceed. The CA team looks forward to continuing to work with you to provide loving families for children who have not been able to find a permanent home in their own country.