Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Adoption Services (AS) 13: Intercountry Adoption Program Administration

The program has administrative policies, procedures and systems in place to ensure that the services it provides as an exempt or supervised provider in intercountry adoptions are provided consistent with applicable foreign, federal, state, and primary provider requirements.

NA The program does not provide any services in intercountry adoptions.  

NA The organization only provides foster to adopt services.

NA The organization provides child-focused recruitment only.

2020 Edition

Currently viewing: ADOPTION SERVICES (AS)



Adoption programs establish permanent family relationships for children in need of permanency, and increase the well-being, functioning, and stability of children, birth parents, adoptive families, and adopted individuals.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • QI Plan
  • Records of any complaints received in the last two years related to intercountry adoption services
  • List of any adoptions that have been disrupted or dissolved in the last 4 years or written verification that no disruptions or dissolutions are known to the organization 
  • Documentation of QI activities
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Prospective or adoptive parents
  • Review case records


AS 13.01

The program demonstrates that it is suitable and qualified to provide services in an intercountry adoption by providing current and historical information about its operations and services before it provides services, periodically and as needed thereafter.


 COA’s Executive Verification Form – ICA can be used as evidence and documentation can be provided in the form of an attestation or as otherwise required by the primary providers with whom the program works.

The program must disclose any changes in the information required within the timeframes specified in COA’s self-reporting requirements or as specified by the primary provider and at least within thirty business days of learning of the change.

Examples: Examples of information that should be provided include:
  1. verification of the absence of, or information about, any other names under which the organization has been known;
  2. verification of current insurance coverage;
  3. documentation of current licensure status for adoption services;
  4. documentation demonstrating past history of compliance with licensing and accreditation requirements including any non-compliance with licensing requirements for the last 10 years;
  5. verification of the absence of, or documentation of, any instances in which the organization lost the right or authority to provide adoption services or documentation of any such instance;
  6. verification of the absence of, or documentation of, any instances of known complaints filed against the organization in the last 10 years with or by an domestic or foreign authorities in relation to its provision of adoption services;
  7. verification of the absence of, or documentation of, any instances of known lawsuits or investigations or criminal charges filed against the organization in the last 10 years in relation to its provision of adoption or other child welfare services or financial irregularities; 
  8. a list of all personnel who provide or oversee adoption services which indicates the names of any other adoption service providers they worked for; and
  9. verification of the absence of, or documentation of, any instances in which personnel providing or overseeing adoption services were subject to external disciplinary proceedings, convicted of a crime or, are currently under investigation.


AS 13.02

The program maintains the following data when it learns of a possible or actual disruption or dissolution and promptly reports the situation and the information to the primary provider:
  1. the foreign country from which the child emigrated;
  2. the State to which the child immigrated;
  3. the current age of the child;
  4. the date of the child's placement for adoption;
  5. the date of or planned date for the disruption or dissolution;
  6. the reason(s) for the disruption or dissolution;
  7. information on the child's subsequent placement(s) and final legal adoption;
  8. the names of the agencies or persons that handled the placement and adoption; and
  9. the plans for the child.


When citing reasons for the disruption or dissolution, it can be helpful to specify reasons cited by the adoptive parents separately from reasons being cited by the program in the even they differ.

Fundamental Practice

AS 13.03

Personnel do not take any action to discourage or retaliate against any individual for:
  1. questioning the conduct of the program;
  2. expressing an opinion about the program; 
  3. making a complaint or expressing a grievance; or 
  4. providing information, expressing a concern, or filing a complaint with the primary provider, the accrediting entity or any authority.


AS 13.04

The program promptly complies with any requests for information or data made by the primary provider.


AS 13.05

The program conducts quality improvement activities appropriate to its size and circumstances, and in coordination with the organization's quality improvement program, it makes systematic efforts to improve its adoption services as needed.
Examples: Examples can include: case record review; critical incident reviews; complaint reviews; outcomes measurement; business analytics; and client satisfaction.