Standards for Canadian organizations

2020 Edition

Adoption Services (CA-AS) 12: Adoption Program Administration

The program has administrative policies, procedures, and systems in place to ensure the provision of ethical adoption services and:
  1. adoptions take place in the best interests of children;
  2. the program has taken all appropriate actions to prevent the exploitation, sale, abduction, or trafficking of children; 
  3. persons whose consents are required have the opportunity to give consent and those consents are given freely without any undue influence; and
  4. fees and compensation do not inappropriately influence adoption decisions.
NA The organization provides child-focused recruitment only.
2020 Edition

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Purpose

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.
Note: Elements (c) and (d) might not be applicable to all programs.
1
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.
2
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.
3
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. 
4
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
  • Policy on ethical adoption practice
  • Compensation procedures
  • Procedures for donations
  • Fee policy
  • Fee schedule
  • Procedures for the collection of information, record keeping and retention, and information disclosure
  • Documentation of licensure or credentials of collaborating organizations or individuals
  • Service agreements and contracts
  • Records of any complaints received in the last two years related to the adoption program
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Clients
  • Observe record storage area
  • Review financial records of compensation and fees paid by adoptive parents

Fundamental Practice

CA-AS 12.01

The program has written policies and procedures in place which:
  1. prohibit its employees and agents from giving money or other consideration, directly or indirectly, to a child's parent(s) or other individual(s), or entities as payment for the child or as an inducement to release the child;  
  2. prohibit compensation of any individual who locates or refers children, prospective birth mothers, or birth parents on a contingent or incentive basis; and
  3. ensure that payments are not excessive and are only for activities appropriately related to the adoption when compensation is permitted or required to be paid directly or indirectly to individuals whose consents may be required.

Interpretation

 
Procedures should include provisions relating to documentation and close oversight of requested payments and actual compensation and purchase of services or goods. The program reinforces these policies and procedures in periodic training for personnel, contractors, or other agents acting on behalf of the program, and through information it provides to birth parents and prospective adoptive parents who might be involved in such payments. 
 
Examples: Examples of activities appropriately related to the adoption include: 
  1. adoption proceedings;
  2. pre-birth and birth medical costs; 
  3. care of the child; 
  4. care of the birth mother while pregnant and immediately following birth of the child; and 
  5. the provision of child welfare and child protection services generally. 

CA-AS 12.02

Compensation paid to program personnel and any other individuals directly or indirectly involved in providing adoption services:
  1. is not unreasonably high in relation to the services rendered and other appropriate factors;
  2. is on a fee-for-service, hourly wage, or salary basis rather than a contingent fee basis; and
  3. is only paid for services actually rendered or for reimbursement of appropriate expenses incurred.

Interpretation

 When the program allows for the payment of compensation in advance, the procedures should detail how the advanced compensation will be returned if services are not rendered.  

This does not prohibit an organization or person from providing in-kind or other donations not intended to influence or affect a particular adoption.
Examples: Evaluation of the reasonableness of compensation can take into account, for example:
  1. norms for compensation in the region in which the adoption services are provided;
  2. norms for compensation within the adoption community;
  3. norms for compensation within the organization; 
  4. qualifications of staff; and
  5. workload requirements, such as the scope and complexity of the work.

CA-AS 12.03

If it accepts or makes charitable donations, the program has safeguards in place in its policies and procedures to ensure that such donations do not influence child placement decisions in any way.

Interpretation

Making donations to individuals or entities who are involved in obtaining or consenting to the adoption can compromise the integrity of the process. Such arrangements should generally be avoided. If such donations are made, the program should take significant steps to ensure the integrity of the process and keep thorough documentation.


CA-AS 12.04

The program itemizes and discloses in writing information for each of the following separate category of fees and estimated expenses:
  1. home study, including any fees for updates;
  2. placement or other program fee(s);
  3. fees charged by other individuals or entities;
  4. fees and expenses for the care of the child; 
  5. document and translation expenses;
  6. required donations or contributions;
  7. post-placement and post-adoption services;
  8. other third party fees; and
  9. travel and accommodation.

Interpretation

 
Translation and document expenses should include costs for obtaining, translating, or copying records or documents required to complete the adoption, costs for court documents, and costs for notarizations and certifications.
 

NA The organization does not charge prospective adoptive parents any fees for its services.


CA-AS 12.05

The program does not routinely charge additional fees and expenses beyond those disclosed in the adoption services contract and only collects and retains fees for services rendered.

Interpretation

If the program charges fees in advance or the delivery of services, it should have procedures in place to accurately account for those funds, and must have procedures for refunding fees for services that are not rendered.

NA The organization does not charge prospective adoptive parents any fees for its services.


CA-AS 12.06

The program returns any funds to which the prospective adoptive parent(s) may be entitled within sixty days.
 

Interpretation

If fees are charged or paid in advance, best practice is to maintain the funds collected separately from general operating expenses so that they can be properly accounted for and refunded promptly when necessary.
NA The program does not charge prospective adoptive parents any fees for its services.  

CA-AS 12.07

The program makes readily available to the adoptee and the adoptive parent(s) upon request all non-identifying information in its custody in accordance with applicable legal requirements and contractual obligations.

Related Standards:

CA-AS 12.08

The program ensures that personal data gathered or transmitted in connection with an adoption is used only for the purposes for which the information was gathered and safeguards sensitive individual information.
Related Standards:

CA-AS 12.09

In the event that the program ceases to provide or is no longer permitted to provide adoption services, it has a plan for:
  1. transferring custody of adoption records that are subject to retention or archival requirements to an appropriate custodian and ensuring the future accessibility of those adoption records, and 
  2. transferring open cases to other programs.

Interpretation

 
It can be helpful to detail transfer plans in an agreement with another adoption service provider in advance and to plan for how clients may be provided with choices in the transfer process.  The plan should also address the refunding of fees paid for services not yet rendered and expenses not yet incurred.

CA-AS 12.10

When working in collaboration with other individuals or organizations for the provision of adoption services, the program operates under a written agreement with that provider which specifies:
  1. the adoption services to be provided by each party;
  2. fees and compensation;
  3. applicable laws, regulations, and standards that govern the provision of services;
  4. the lines of authority between the providers including who is responsible for oversight of the services provided
  5. terms and conditions for terminating the agreement;
  6. documentation, record keeping, and confidentiality requirements; and
  7. timely communication and the exchange of information between the parties and with clients.

Interpretation

 Provisions relating to fees and compensation should articulate the amount of fees and compensation; which party will bill the client; conditions under which fees are paid and compensation is made including required documentation; and provisions for refunds.
 

NA The organization does not collaborate with other providers.