WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Amy Klobuchar D-Minn., today introduced a bill to help save adoption agencies serving American families. The legislation, titled the “Voluntary Specialized Accreditation for Background Studies and Home Studies Act,” would help to remove barriers to intercountry adoption by increasing flexibility for adoption service providers and providing a new track for accreditation for agencies providing specialized services.
“There are countless children around the world with no parents or family to care for them, yet Americans who want to adopt these children are finding fewer adoption agencies available to help,” Wicker said. “This bipartisan bill would lower barriers for intercountry adoption, making it easier to welcome children into loving families.”
“Local adoption agencies help children around the world find the loving homes they deserve. But too often, families struggle to find accredited adoption service providers to assist them during the adoption process,” said Klobuchar. “By creating a specialized accreditation for small and medium-size providers that offer background and home studies, our bipartisan legislation ensures that families have trusted local agencies to help them navigate the adoption process and give children safe, stable homes.”
Current regulations require any organization wishing to provide adoption services to be accredited under a single standard. This rule means that specialized agencies that provide only a limited range of services have to pursue a costly accreditation that goes far beyond the scope of their work.
This bill would enable agencies that only offer “home studies” or “background studies” to be accredited in their area of expertise without having to be certified in other areas. This would allow specialized adoption agencies to continue operating and would lower the cost and time needed to stay accredited.
Adoption advocates also praised the bill.
“Without this legislation, we’d lose even more accredited agencies, resulting in fewer American families being served by accredited providers who have met the training and oversight requirements for intercountry adoption,” said Ryan Hanlon, President and CEO of National Council For Adoption. “When this legislation passes, it also means that accredited agencies who are only providing limited services do not need to participate in practices that are not applicable to their agency.”
“This legislation means agencies can stay accredited to serve those in the states where they’re licensed, even without an intercountry placement program,” said Tom Velie, President of New Beginnings Adoption & Family Services. “More families will have accredited providers to provide training and support, and more agencies will remain accredited.”
In 2020, Wicker and Klobuchar introduced the Intercountry Adoption Information Act, which proposed major updates in how the federal government procures data on global adoption trends to ease access for American families. The bill passed unanimously in both the House and Senate and became law.
See the full text of the legislation here.