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News: DOS Interim Final Rule On Adoption Service Providers In Intercountry Adoptions

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  • News: DOS Interim Final Rule On Adoption Service Providers In Intercountry Adoptions

    Federal Register, Volume 79 Issue 134 (Monday, July 14, 2014)
    [Federal Register Volume 79, Number 134 (Monday, July 14, 2014)]
    [Rules and Regulations]
    [Pages 40629-40636]
    From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
    [FR Doc No: 2014-16294]
    
    
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    DEPARTMENT OF STATE
    
    22 CFR Part 96
    
    [Public Notice 8792]
    RIN 1400-AD45
    
    
    Adoptions: Regulatory Change To Clarify the Application of the 
    Accreditation Requirement and Standards in Cases Covered by the 
    Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act
    
    AGENCY: Department of State.
    
    ACTION: Interim final rule; request for comments.
    
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    SUMMARY: This rule amends the Department of State (Department) rule on 
    the accreditation and approval of adoption service providers in 
    intercountry adoptions. The revisions reflect the requirement of the 
    Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA) that
    
    [[Page 40630]]
    
    the accreditation standards developed in accordance with the 1993 Hague 
    Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of 
    Intercountry Adoption (Convention) and the Intercountry Adoption Act of 
    2000 (IAA), which previously only applied in Convention adoption cases, 
    apply also in non-Convention adoption cases. Non-convention adoption 
    cases are known as ``orphan'' cases, defined in the Immigration and 
    Nationality Act (INA). This rule also revises the accreditation rule by 
    referring to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Convention home 
    study regulation and deleting obsolete references, such as any 
    reference to temporary accreditation.
    
    DATES: The effective date of this interim final rule is July 14, 2014. 
    The Department will accept comments on the proposed regulation up to 
    September 12, 2014.
    
    ADDRESSES: 
         Internet: You may view this interim final rule and submit 
    your comments by visiting the Regulations.gov Web site at 
    www.regulations.gov, and searching for docket number DOS-2014-0015.
         Mail or Delivery: You may send your paper, disk, or CD-ROM 
    submissions to the following address: Comments on Proposed Rule 22 CFR 
    Part 96, Office of Legal Affairs, Overseas Citizen Services, U.S. 
    Department of State, CA/OCS/L, SA-17, Floor 10, Washington, DC 20522-
    1710.
         All comments should include the commenter's name and the 
    organization the commenter represents (if applicable). If the 
    Department is unable to read your comment for any reason, the 
    Department might not be able to consider your comment. Please be 
    advised that all comments will be considered public comments and might 
    be viewed by other commenters; therefore, do not include any 
    information you would not wish to be made public. After the conclusion 
    of the comment period, the Department will publish a final rule (in 
    which it will address relevant comments) as expeditiously as possible.
    
    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Office of Legal Affairs, Overseas 
    Citizen Services, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/L, SA-17, Floor 10, 
    Washington, DC 20522-1710; (202) 485-6079.
    
    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    
    Why is the Department promulgating this rule?
    
        This rule clarifies that under the Intercountry Adoption Universal 
    Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA), signed into law January 14, 2013, and 
    effective July 14, 2014, the accreditation requirement and standards 
    found in 22 CFR part 96 apply to any person (including non-profit 
    agencies, for-profit agencies and individuals but excluding government 
    agencies and tribal authorities), providing adoption services on behalf 
    of prospective adoptive parents in an ``orphan'' intercountry adoption 
    case described under section 101(b)(1)(F) of the Immigration and 
    Nationality Act. Specifically, under Section 2 of the UAA ``[t]he 
    provisions of title II and section 404 of the Intercountry Adoption Act 
    of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 14901 et seq.), and related implementing 
    regulations, shall apply to any person offering or providing adoption 
    services in connection with a child described in section 101(b)(1)(F) 
    of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(1)(F)), to the 
    same extent as they apply to the offering or provision of adoption 
    services in connection with a Convention adoption.''
        Title II of the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA) (Public Law 
    106-279) requires that any person providing adoption services in a 
    Convention case be an accredited, approved, or an exempted adoption 
    service provider, and section 404 imposes civil and criminal penalties 
    for violations of the Act. On February 15, 2006 the Department of State 
    published implementing regulations at 71 FR 8064, on the accreditation 
    and approval of agencies and persons in accordance with the Convention 
    and the IAA. The UAA extends that rule from Convention cases to 
    ``orphan'' cases. This regulatory change includes a number of technical 
    edits to facilitate interpretation of the regulatory requirements and 
    clarify designated accrediting entities' authority under the UAA and 
    the IAA.
        The Department is amending the regulation to make 22 CFR part 96, 
    as affected by the UAA, easier to read. This rule will aid the 
    accrediting entity applying the standards and adoption service 
    providers required to comply with the standards. In particular, this 
    rule adds references to the UAA where the IAA is referenced; adds a 
    sentence concerning the UAA effective date; redefines ``Central 
    Authority'' to include competent authorities, thereby clarifying how 
    the term applies in countries that are not party to the Convention; 
    redefines adoption records to include non-Convention case records and 
    changes Section 96.25(b) concerning accrediting entity access to non-
    Convention records in cases subject to the UAA; defines the terms INA, 
    IAA, and intercountry adoption; refers to ``accreditation and 
    approval'' instead of to ``Convention accreditation and approval;'' 
    revises Section 96.46(a)(4) to clarify that foreign supervised 
    providers in non-Convention countries may not have a pattern of 
    licensing suspensions relating to key Convention principles; and 
    revises references to ``Convention adoption,'' ``cases subject to the 
    Convention,'' ``Convention case,'' ``Convention country,'' and 
    ``Convention-related activity'' to ensure that such references include 
    non-Convention adoptions, activities, countries, and cases under the 
    UAA.
        Additionally, this rule corrects the references in 22 CFR 
    96.37(f)(2), and 96.47(a)(4) and (b), to refer to the correct 
    Department of Homeland Security (DHS) definition of home study preparer 
    and home study requirements. When the original rule was issued in 2006, 
    DHS had not yet published its final rule concerning home studies in 
    Convention cases. Thus, the 2006 State Department rule referred to the 
    ``orphan'' home study requirements under 8 CFR 204.3(b) and (e), 
    instead of the Convention home study requirements found in 8 CFR 
    204.301 and 311. This rule references the correct DHS regulation. The 
    change clarifies that the home study must be prepared by an accredited 
    agency, approved person, exempted provider, or a supervised provider. 
    In addition, when the home study is not performed in the first instance 
    by an accredited agency, then an accredited agency must review and 
    approve it. The orphan and Convention home study requirements also 
    differ concerning the required elements, applicable definitions, and 
    the duty to disclose. The Department anticipates that DHS will publish 
    specific guidance on how the Convention home study requirements will 
    apply in orphan cases.
        Finally, the rule amends 22 CFR Part 96 to delete obsolete 
    provisions, including any references to temporary accreditation, 
    deleting subpart N in its entirety. Under the IAA, temporary 
    accreditation was only possible for a one- or two-year period following 
    the entry into force of the Convention. Because the Convention entered 
    into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, more than two years 
    ago, temporary accreditation is no longer possible. The rule also 
    deletes the section on ``special provisions for agencies and persons 
    seeking to be accredited or approved as of the time the Convention 
    enters into force for the United States'' and a reference to that 
    section. Further, the rule revises requirements concerning 
    ``notification of accreditation and approval decisions'' and ``length 
    of accreditation or approval period,'' deleting provisions that
    
    [[Page 40631]]
    
    applied only during the transitional period to the Convention entering 
    into force and clarifying that for purposes of the notification 
    requirement the phrase ``accreditation or approval decisions'' refers 
    to whether an application is granted or denied.
        Cases that are grandfathered under Section 2(c) of the UAA are not 
    affected by this rule. See the Department's adoption Web site and the 
    DHS/USCIS Web site for information on this grandfathering provision.
        The Department invites comment on the edits to 22 CFR Part 96 
    described above.
    
    Regulatory Analysis
    
    Administrative Procedure Act
    
        The Department is publishing this rule as an interim final rule 
    based on its determination for good cause that delaying the effect of 
    this rule during the period of public comment would be impractical, 
    unnecessary and contrary to public interest under Section 553 of the 
    Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B). Publishing 
    the revision now will allow the rule to be in effect on the date the 
    UAA goes into effect. This will aid the accrediting entity in its 
    accreditation and oversight function and avoid confusion among adoption 
    service providers and other members of the public about how the 
    accreditation standards apply in ``orphan'' intercountry adoption 
    cases.
        The Department will accept comments from the public for 60 days 
    after publication.
    Regulatory Flexibility Act/Executive Order 13272: Small Business
        Consistent with section 605(b) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 
    U.S.C. 605(b)), the Department certifies that this rule will not have a 
    significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
    The rule clarifies the requirements imposed by the UAA and IAA on 
    adoption service providers providing services in ``orphan'' 
    intercountry adoption cases described under section 101(b)(1)(F).
    
    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
    
        Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 
    104-4, 109 Stat. 48, codified at 2 U.S.C. 1532) generally requires 
    agencies to prepare a statement before proposing any rule that may 
    result in an annual expenditure of $100 million or more by State, 
    local, or tribal governments, or by the private sector. This rule will 
    not result in any such expenditure, nor will it significantly or 
    uniquely affect small governments or the private sector.
    
     Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996
    
        This rule is not a major rule as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804, for 
    purposes of congressional review of agency rulemaking under the Small 
    Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121). 
    This rule will not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 
    million or more; a major increase in costs or prices; or adverse 
    effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, 
    innovation, or the ability of United States-based companies to compete 
    with foreign-based companies in domestic and import markets.
    
    Executive Order 12866
    
        The Department of State has reviewed this proposed rule to ensure 
    its consistency with the regulatory philosophy and principles set forth 
    in Executive Order 12866, and has determined that the benefits of this 
    final regulation justify its costs. The Department does not consider 
    this rulemaking to be an economically significant action within the 
    scope of section 3(f)(1) of the Executive Order.
        The rule does not add any new legal requirements to Part 96 but 
    reflects the changes affected by the UAA to apply these accreditation 
    standards in orphan cases. The UAA and this rule benefit prospective 
    adoptive parents, children, and birth families involved in the 
    intercountry adoption process by ensuring that adoption service 
    providers providing services in orphan cases are subject to the same 
    accreditation standards and ongoing oversight and monitoring that apply 
    in Convention cases.
        Concerning the cost of the UAA, the Report from the Congressional 
    Budget Office (CBO) on October 17, 2012, notes that the UAA imposes ``a 
    private sector mandate by requiring all providers of placement services 
    for intercountry adoptions to be compliant with the accreditation 
    standards of the Hague Convention.'' The report notes, further, that 
    ``[t]he initial fees for obtaining accreditation can range between 
    $10,000 and $16,000 depending on the size and annual revenue of the 
    entity seeking accreditation. Annual fees to maintain accreditation are 
    less than $1,000 on average, but are also subject to change based on 
    the revenue of the entity. The cost of liability insurance for adoption 
    agencies varies from state to state and can range between $10,000 and 
    $50,000 per year.'' Overall, CBO concluded: ``Based on information 
    gathered from industry professionals, the Department of Health and 
    Human Services, and an accreditation agency, the number of entities 
    that would be affected is relatively small. Therefore, CBO estimates 
    that the aggregate cost of the mandate to the private sector would fall 
    below the annual threshold established in UMRA ($146 million in 2012, 
    adjusted annually for inflation).''
        The Council on Accreditation (COA), the accrediting entity 
    designated by the Department, reports that approximately forty new 
    agencies have applied for accreditation since the UAA became law in 
    January of 2013. This number is much fewer than COA had anticipated.
    
    Executive Orders 12372 and 13132: Federalism
    
        This regulation will not have substantial direct effects on the 
    States, on the relationship between the national government and the 
    States, or the distribution of power and responsibilities among the 
    various levels of government. Nor will the rule have federalism 
    implications warranting the application of Executive Orders 12372 and 
    No. 13132.
    
    Executive Order 12988: Civil Justice Reform
    
        The Department has reviewed the regulations in light of Executive 
    Order No. 12988 to eliminate ambiguity, minimize litigation, establish 
    clear legal standards, and reduce burden.
    
    Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review
    
        The Department has considered this rule in light of Executive Order 
    13563, dated January 18, 2011, and affirms that this regulation is 
    consistent with the guidance therein.
    
    Paperwork Reduction Act
    
        This rule does not impose information collection requirements 
    subject to the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 
    Chapter 35.
    
    List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 96
    
        Adoption, child welfare, children immigration, foreign persons.
    
        For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Department of State 
    amends 22 CFR part 96 as follows:
    
    PART 96--INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION ACCREDITATION OF AGENCIES AND 
    APPROVAL OF PERSONS
    
    0
    1. Revise the authority citation for part 96 to read as follows:
    
        Authority:  The Convention on Protection of Children and Co-
    operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (done at the Hague, 
    May 29, 1993), S. Treaty Doc. 105-51 (1998), 1870 U.N.T.S. 167 (Reg. 
    No. 31922 (1993));
    
    [[Page 40632]]
    
    The Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000, 42 U.S.C. 14901-14954; The 
    Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012, Pub. L. 
    112-276, 42 U.S.C. 14925.
    
    0
    2. Revise the heading for part 96 to read as set forth above.
    
    0
    3. Revise Sec.  96.1 to read as follows:
    
    
    Sec.  96.1  Purpose.
    
        This part provides for the accreditation and approval of agencies 
    and persons pursuant to the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (42 
    U.S.C. 14901-14954, Pub. L. 106-279,) and the Intercountry Adoption 
    Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (42 U.S.C. 14925, Pub. L. 112-276). 
    Subpart B of this part establishes the procedures for the selection and 
    designation of accrediting entities to perform the accreditation and 
    approval functions. Subparts C through H establish the general 
    procedures and standards for accreditation and approval of agencies and 
    persons (including renewal of accreditation or approval). Subparts I 
    through M address the oversight of accredited or approved agencies and 
    persons.
    
    0
    4. Amend Sec.  96.2 as follows:
    0
    a. Revise the definitions ``Accredited agency'', ``Accrediting 
    entity'', ``Adoption record'', ``Approved home study'', ``Approved 
    person'', ``Central Authority'';
    0
    b. Remove the definition of ``Central Authority function'';
    0
    c. Revise the definitions of ``Child welfare services'' and ``Exempted 
    provider'';
    0
    d. Add the definitions of ``INA'' and ``Intercountry adoption,''
    0
    e. Revise the definitions of ``Legal services'', ``Post-adoption'', 
    ``Primary provider'', ``Public foreign authority'', ``Secretary'', and 
    ``Supervised provider'';
    0
    f. Remove the definition of ``Temporarily accredited agency''; and
    0
    g. Add the definition of ``UAA''.
        The revisions and additions read as follows:
    
    
    Sec.  96.2  Definitions.
    
    * * * * *
        Accredited agency means an agency that has been accredited by an 
    accrediting entity, in accordance with the standards in subpart F of 
    this part, to provide adoption services in the United States in 
    intercountry adoption cases.
        Accrediting entity means an entity that has been designated by the 
    Secretary to accredit agencies and/or to approve persons for purposes 
    of providing adoption services in the United States in intercountry 
    adoption cases.
    * * * * *
        Adoption record means any record, information, or item related to a 
    specific intercountry adoption of a child received or maintained by an 
    agency, person, or public domestic authority, including, but not 
    limited to, photographs, videos, correspondence, personal effects, 
    medical and social information, and any other information about the 
    child.
    * * * * *
        Approved home study means a review of the home environment of the 
    child's prospective adoptive parent(s) that has been:
        (1) Completed by an accredited agency; or
        (2) Approved by an accredited agency.
        Approved person means a person that has been approved, in 
    accordance with the standards in subpart F of this part, by an 
    accrediting entity to provide adoption services in the United States in 
    intercountry adoption cases.
    * * * * *
        Central Authority means the entity designated as such under Article 
    6(1) of the Convention by any Convention country, or, in the case of 
    the United States, the United States Department of State. In countries 
    that are not Convention countries, Central Authority means the relevant 
    ``competent authority'' as defined in this section.
    * * * * *
        Child welfare services means services, other than those defined as 
    ``adoption services'' in this section, that are designed to promote and 
    protect the well-being of a family or child. Such services include, but 
    are not limited to, recruiting and identifying adoptive parent(s) in 
    cases of disruption (but not assuming custody of the child), arranging 
    or providing temporary foster care for a child in connection with an 
    intercountry adoption or providing educational, social, cultural, 
    medical, psychological assessment, mental health, or other health-
    related services for a child or family in an intercountry adoption 
    case.
    * * * * *
        Exempted provider means 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 an 
    intercountry adoption (including any reports or updates), but that is 
    not currently providing and has not previously provided any other 
    adoption service in the case.
    * * * * *
        INA means the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et 
    seq.), as amended.
        Intercountry adoption means a Convention adoption or the adoption 
    of a child described in INA section 101(b)(1)(F).
    * * * * *
        Legal services means services, other than those defined in this 
    section as ``adoption services,'' that relate to the provision of legal 
    advice and information and to the drafting of legal instruments. Such 
    services include, but are not limited to, drawing up contracts, powers 
    of attorney, and other legal instruments; providing advice and counsel 
    to adoptive parent(s) on completing DHS or Central Authority forms; and 
    providing advice and counsel to accredited agencies, approved persons, 
    or prospective adoptive parent(s) on how to comply with the Convention, 
    the IAA, the UAA, and the regulations implementing the IAA or UAA.
    * * * * *
        Post-adoption means after an adoption; in cases in which an 
    adoption occurs in a foreign country and is followed by a re-adoption 
    in the United States, it means after the adoption in the foreign 
    country.
    * * * * *
        Primary provider means the accredited agency or approved person 
    that is identified pursuant to Sec.  96.14 as responsible for ensuring 
    that all six adoption services are provided and for supervising and 
    being responsible for supervised providers where used.
    * * * * *
        Public foreign authority means an authority operated by a national 
    or subnational government of a foreign country.
        Secretary means the Secretary of State, the Assistant Secretary of 
    State for Consular Affairs, or any other Department of State official 
    exercising the Secretary of State's authority under the Convention, the 
    IAA, the UAA, or any regulations implementing the IAA or UAA, pursuant 
    to a delegation of authority.
    * * * * *
        Supervised provider means any agency, person, or other non-
    governmental entity, including any foreign entity, regardless of 
    whether it is called a facilitator, agent, attorney, or by any other 
    name, that is providing one or more adoption services in an 
    intercountry adoption case under the supervision and responsibility of 
    an accredited agency or approved person that is acting as the primary 
    provider in the case.
    
    [[Page 40633]]
    
        UAA means the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 
    2012, (42 U.S.C. 14925, Pub. L. 112-276 (2012)).
    
    
    Sec.  96.4  [Amended]
    
    0
    5. Amend Sec.  96.4 by removing the parenthetical phrase ``(including 
    temporary accreditation)'' in paragraph (a) and removing the 
    parenthetical phrase ``(including temporarily accredit)'' in paragraph 
    (b).
    
    0
    6. Amend Sec.  96.6 by revising paragraphs (c), (d), (g) and (j) to 
    read as follows:
    
    
    Sec.  96.6  Performance criteria for designation as an accrediting 
    entity.
    
    * * * * *
        (c) That it can monitor the performance of agencies it has 
    accredited and persons it has approved (including their use of any 
    supervised providers) to ensure their continued compliance with the 
    Convention, the IAA, the UAA, and the regulations implementing the IAA 
    or UAA;
        (d) That it has the capacity to take appropriate adverse actions 
    against agencies it has accredited and persons it has approved;
    * * * * *
        (g) That it has the capacity to conduct its accreditation and 
    approval functions fairly and impartially;
    * * * * *
        (j) That it prohibits its employees or other individuals acting as 
    site evaluators, including, but not limited to, volunteer site 
    evaluators, from becoming employees or supervised providers of an 
    agency or person for at least one year after they have evaluated such 
    agency or person for accreditation or approval.
    
    
    Sec.  96.7  [Amended]
    
    0
    7. Amend Sec.  96.7 as follows:
    0
    a. Remove the phrase ``and/or temporary accreditation'' in paragraph 
    (a)(1);
    0
    b. Remove the phrase ``, temporarily accredited agencies,'' in 
    paragraphs (a)(3), (a)(4) and (a)(7);
    0
    c. Remove both iterations of the phrase ``, temporarily accredited 
    agency,'' in paragraph (a)(5);
    0
    d. Remove the term ``Convention'' and add in its place the term 
    ``intercountry adoption'' in paragraph (a)(8); and
    
    0
    e. Remove the phrase ``the regulations implementing the IAA'' and add 
    in its place the phrase ``the UAA, the regulations implementing the IAA 
    or UAA'' in paragraph (c).
    
    
    Sec.  96.8  [Amended]
    
    0
    8. Amend Sec.  96.8 as follows:
    0
    a. Remove the term ``Convention'' and add in its place the term 
    ``intercountry adoption'' in paragraph (a)(1);
    0
    b. Remove both iterations of the term ``Convention'' in paragraph 
    (b)(1);
    0
    c. Remove the phrase ``full Convention'' and ``; and'' and add a period 
    at the end in paragraph (b)(2); and
    0
    d. Remove paragraph (b)(3).
    
    
    Sec.  96.9  [Amended]
    
    0
    9. Amend Sec.  96.9 by removing both iterations of the phrase ``, 
    temporary accreditation,'' in paragraph (b) and removing the phrase ``, 
    temporarily accredited agencies,'' in paragraph (c).
    
    
    Sec.  96.10  [Amended]
    
    0
    10. Amend Sec.  96.10 as follows:
    0
    a. Remove the phrase ``the regulations implementing the IAA'' and add 
    in its place the phrase ``the UAA, the regulations implementing the IAA 
    or UAA'' in paragraph (a);
    0
    b. Remove the phrase ``or a temporarily accredited agency is 
    substantially out of compliance with the standards in Sec.  96.104'' in 
    paragraph (c)(1);
    0
    c. Remove the phrase ``, temporarily accredited agencies,'' in 
    paragraph (c)(7).
    
    0
    11. Amend Sec.  96.12 by revising paragraphs (a) introductory text, 
    (a)(1), (a)(3), and (c) to read as follows:
    
    
    Sec.  96.12  Authorized adoption service providers.
    
        (a) Except as provided in section 505(b) of the IAA (relating to 
    transitional cases), and once the UAA becomes effective, except as 
    provided in section 2(c) of the UAA (relating to transitional cases), 
    an agency or person may not offer, provide, or facilitate the provision 
    of any adoption service in the United States in connection with an 
    intercountry adoption unless it is:
        (1) An accredited agency or an approved person;
    * * * * *
        (3) An exempted provider, if the exempted provider's home study or 
    child background study will be reviewed and approved by an accredited 
    agency pursuant to Sec.  96.47(c) or Sec.  96.53(b).
    * * * * *
        (c) Neither conferral nor maintenance of accreditation or approval, 
    nor status as an exempted or supervised provider, nor status as a 
    public domestic authority shall be construed to imply, warrant, or 
    establish that, in any specific case, an adoption service has been 
    provided consistently with the Convention, the IAA, the UAA, or the 
    regulations implementing the IAA or UAA. Conferral and maintenance of 
    accreditation or approval under this part establishes only that the 
    accrediting entity has concluded, in accordance with the standards and 
    procedures of this part, that the agency or person conducts adoption 
    services in substantial compliance with the applicable standards set 
    forth in this part; it is not a guarantee that in any specific case the 
    accredited agency or approved person is providing adoption services 
    consistently with the Convention, the IAA, the UAA, the regulations 
    implementing the IAA or UAA, or any other applicable law, whether 
    Federal, State, or foreign. Neither the Secretary nor any accrediting 
    entity shall be responsible for any acts of an accredited agency, 
    approved person, exempted provider, supervised provider, or other 
    entity providing services in connection with an intercountry adoption.
    
    
    Sec.  96.13  [Amended]
    
    0
    12. Amend Sec.  96.13 as follows:
    0
    a. Remove the phrase ``temporary accreditation,'' and both iterations 
    of the phrase ``or temporarily accredited agency'' in paragraph (a);
    0
    b. Remove the phrase ``temporarily accredited,'' in paragraphs (b), 
    (c), and (d);
    0
    c. Remove the phrase ``temporarily accredited, or'' in paragraphs (b) 
    and (c);
    0
    d. Remove the phrase ``a Convention'' and add in its place the phrase 
    ``an intercountry'' each of the four times it appears in paragraphs (b) 
    and (c); and
    0
    e. Remove the term ``Convention'' and add in its place the term 
    ``foreign'' in two places in the first and second sentences of 
    paragraph (d).
    
    
    Sec.  96.14  [Amended]
    
    0
    13. Amend Sec.  96.14 as follows:
    0
    a. Remove the phrases ``, temporary accreditation'', ``, a temporarily 
    accredited agency'', ``temporarily accredited agency'' and all three 
    iterations of the phrase ``, temporarily accredited agency,'' in 
    paragraph (a);
    0
    b. Remove the term ``Convention case'' and add in its place the term 
    ``intercountry adoption case'' in paragraph (a);
    0
    c. Remove the term ``Convention'' and add in its place the term 
    ``foreign'' in paragraphs (a)(2) through (4), (c), (c)(2), and (e);
    0
    d. Remove the phrase ``, and Sec.  96.104(g), in the case of 
    temporarily accredited agencies'' in paragraph (b);
    0
    e. Remove the phrase ``, temporarily accredited agency,'' in paragraphs 
    (b)(1);
    0
    f. Remove the phrase ``or temporarily accredited agency'' in paragraph 
    (b)(2); and
    
    [[Page 40634]]
    
    0
    g. Remove the phrase ``, and Sec.  96.104(g) of subpart N, in the case 
    of temporarily accredited agencies'' in paragraph (c).
    
    
    Sec.  96.15  [Amended]
    
    0
    14. Amend Sec.  96.15 as follows:
    0
    a. Remove both iterations of the term ``Convention'' and add in its 
    place the term ``foreign'' in Example 1;
    0
    b. Remove the phrase ``temporarily accredited,'' in each place it 
    occurs in Examples 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12;
    0
    c. Remove the phrase ``a Convention'' and add in its place the phrase 
    ``an intercountry'' in each place in Examples 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7;
    0
    d. Remove the phrase ``this Convention'' and add in its place the 
    phrase ``this intercountry'' in Example 3;
    0
    e. Remove the term ``temporary accreditation,'' in Examples 5, and 6;
    0
    f. Remove the term ``Convention country'' and add in its place the term 
    ``foreign country'' in Examples 7, 8, and 11;
    0
    g. Add the phrase ``or the UAA'' after ``requirements of the IAA'' in 
    Examples 8 and 9.
    0
    h. Remove the term ``Convention Country'' and add in its place the term 
    ``Foreign Country'' in Examples 9 and 12;
    0
    i. Remove the term ``Convention'' and add in its place the term 
    ``intercountry'' in Example 10; and
    0
    j. Remove the phrase ``is eventually disrupted'' and add in its place 
    the phrase ``eventually disrupts'' in Example 10.
    
    0
    15. Revise Sec.  96.16 to read as follws:
    
    
    Sec.  96.16  Public domestic authorities.
    
        Public domestic authorities are not required to become accredited 
    to be able to provide adoption services in intercountry adoption cases, 
    but must comply with the Convention, the IAA, the UAA, and other 
    applicable law when providing services in an intercountry adoption 
    case.
    
    0
    16. Revise Sec.  96.17 to read as follows:
    
    
    Sec.  96.17  Effective date of accreditation and approval requirements.
    
        The Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 
    2008. As of that date, the regulations in subpart C of this part govern 
    Convention adoptions between the United States and Convention 
    countries, and require agencies or persons providing adoption services 
    on behalf of prospective adoptive parent(s) to comply with Sec.  96.12 
    and applicable Federal regulations. The Secretary maintains for the 
    public a current listing of Convention countries. The effective date of 
    the UAA is July 14, 2014. As of that date, consistent with the UAA, the 
    regulations in subpart C of this part will govern adoptions of children 
    described in INA Sec.  101(b)(1)(F), and will require agencies or 
    persons providing adoption services on behalf of prospective adoptive 
    parent(s) in connection with a child described in section 101(b)(1)(F) 
    to comply with Sec.  96.12 and applicable Federal regulations.
    
    0
    17. Revise Sec.  96.18 to read as follows:
    
    
    Sec.  96.18  Scope.
    
        (a) Agencies are eligible to apply for ``accreditation.'' Persons 
    are eligible to apply for ``approval.'' Applications for accreditation 
    or approval will be processed in accordance with Sec. Sec.  96.19 and 
    96.20.
        (b) If an agency or person is reapplying for accreditation or 
    approval following cancellation of its accreditation or approval by an 
    accrediting entity or refusal by an accrediting entity to renew its 
    accreditation or approval, it must comply with the procedures in Sec.  
    96.78.
        (c) If an agency or person that has been accredited or approved is 
    seeking renewal, it must comply with the procedures in Sec.  96.63.
    
    
    Sec.  96.19  [Removed]
    
    0
    18. Remove Sec.  96.19.
    
    
    Sec.  96.20  [Redesignated as Sec.  96.19]
    
    0
    19. Redesignated Sec.  96.20 as Sec.  96.19.
    
    
    Sec.  96.19  [Amended]
    
    0
    20. In newly redesignated Sec.  96.19, remove the second sentence in 
    paragraph (a).
    
    
    Sec.  96.21  [Redesignated as Sec.  96.20]
    
    0
    21. Redesignate Sec.  96.21 as Sec.  96.20.
    
    
    Sec.  96.21  [Reserved]
    
    0
    22. Add reserved Sec.  96.21.
    
    0
    23. Revise Sec.  96.23 to read as follows:
    
    
    Sec.  96.23  Scope.
    
        The provisions in this subpart govern the evaluation of agencies 
    and persons for accreditation or approval.
    
    
    Sec.  96.25  [Amended]
    
    0
    24. Amend Sec.  96.25 as follows:
    0
    a. Add the phrase ``and cases subject to the UAA'' after the phrase 
    ``Convention adoption case files'' in paragraph (b);
    0
    b. Add ``other'' before the term ``non-Convention cases'' in paragraph 
    (b);
    0
    c. Add the phrase ``not subject to the UAA'' before the phrase ``prior 
    to their inspection by the accrediting entity.'' in paragraph (b); and
    0
    d. Remove the phrase ``, temporarily accredited agency,'' in paragraph 
    (c).
    
    
    Sec.  96.27  [Amended]
    
    0
    25. Amend Sec.  96.27 as follows:
    0
    a. Remove the term ``Convention'' in the last sentence of paragraph 
    (c);
    0
    b. Remove the phrase ``temporarily accredited'' in paragraph (d);
    0
    c. Remove the phrase ``and the IAA'' and add in its place the phrase 
    ``, the IAA, and the UAA'' in paragraphs (d) and (g);
    0
    d. Remove the phrase ``has had its temporary accreditation withdrawn,'' 
    in paragraph (e); and
    0
    e. Remove the term ``Convention cases'' and add in its place the term 
    ``intercountry adoption cases'' in paragraph (g).
    
    Subpart F--Standards for Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and 
    Approval
    
    0
    26. Revise the Subpart F heading to read as set forth above.
    
    0
    27. Revise Sec.  96.29 to read as follows:
    
    
    Sec.  96.29  Scope.
    
        The provisions in this subpart provide the standards for 
    accrediting agencies and approving persons.
    
    
    Sec.  96.30  [Amended]
    
    0
    28. Amend Sec.  96.30 by removing the term ``Convention'' and adding in 
    its place the term ``foreign'' in paragraph (d).
    
    
    Sec.  96.31  [Amended]
    
    0
    29. Amend Sec.  96.31 by adding ``qualifies'' before the phrase ``for 
    nonprofit status'' in paragraph (a).
    
    
    Sec.  96.33  [Amended]
    
    0
    30. Amend Sec.  96.33 by removing both iterations of the term 
    ``Convention cases'' and adding in their places the term ``intercountry 
    adoption cases'' in paragraph (e) and removing the phrase ``Convention-
    related'' and adding in its place the phrase ``intercountry adoption-
    related'' in paragraph (g).
    
    
    Sec.  96.37  [Amended]
    
    0
    31. Amend Sec.  96.37 as follows:
    0
    a. Remove the phrase ``a Convention adoption'' and add in its place the 
    phrase ``an intercountry adoption'' in paragraph (a);
    0
    b. Remove the term ``INA'' in paragraph (f)(2); and
    0
    c. Remove the citation ``8 CFR 204.3(b)'' and add in its place the 
    citation ``8 CFR 204.301'' in paragraph (f)(2).
    
    
    Sec.  96.38  [Amended]
    
    0
    32. Amend Sec.  96.38 as follows:
    
    [[Page 40635]]
    
    0
    a. Remove the phrase ``the regulations implementing the IAA'' and add 
    in its place the phrase ``the UAA, the regulations implementing the IAA 
    or UAA'' in paragraph (a)(1);
    0
    b. Remove the phrase ``adopted from a Convention country'' and add in 
    its place the phrase ``described in INA 101(b)(1)(F) and 101(b)(1)(G)'' 
    in paragraph (a)(2);
    0
    c. Remove the term ``Convention country'' and add in its place the term 
    ``foreign country'' in paragraph (a)(3); and
    0
    d. Remove the phrase ``and the IAA'' and add in its place the phrase 
    ``, the IAA, and the UAA'' in paragraph (d).
    
    
    Sec.  96.40  [Amended]
    
    0
    33. Amend Sec.  96.40 as follows:
    0
    a. Remove the term ``a Convention adoption'' and add in its place the 
    term ``an intercountry adoption'' in paragraph (b);
    0
    b. Remove the term ``Convention country'' and add in its place the term 
    ``country of origin'' in paragraphs (b)(3), (5), and (6);
    0
    c. Remove the term ``Convention'' before ``court documents'' in 
    paragraph (b)(5);
    0
    d. Remove the term ``Convention countries'' and add in its place the 
    term ``foreign countries'' in paragraph (f); and
    0
    e. Remove the term ``Convention country'' and add in its place the term 
    ``foreign country'' in paragraphs (f), (g), and (g)(3).
    
    
    Sec.  96.41  [Amended]
    
    0
    34. Amend Sec.  96.41 by removing the phrase ``or the regulations 
    implementing the IAA'' and adding in its place the phrase ``the UAA, or 
    the regulations implementing the IAA or UAA'' in paragraph (b).
    
    
    Sec.  96.42  [Amended]
    
    0
    35. Amend Sec.  96.42 by removing the phrase ``under the Convention'' 
    and adding in its place the phrase ``in intercountry adoption cases'' 
    in paragraph (d).
    
    
    Sec.  96.43  [Amended]
    
    0
    36. Amend Sec.  96.43 as follows:
    0
    a. Remove the term ``intercountry'' and add in its place the phrase 
    ``Convention and non-Convention'' in paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2);
    0
    b. Remove the phrase ``in both Convention and non-Convention cases'' in 
    paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2);
    0
    c. Remove the phrase ``Convention country or other'' and add in its 
    place the term ``foreign'' in paragraph (b)(1)(i);
    0
    d. Remove the phrase ``, Convention country, or other'' and add in its 
    place the phrase ``or foreign'' in paragraphs (b)(1)(iii) and 
    (b)(2)(iii);
    0
    e. Remove the phrase ``Convention country or other'' and add in its 
    place the term ``foreign'' in paragraph (b)(2)(ii);
    0
    f. Remove the phrase ``a Convention'' and add in its place the phrase 
    ``an intercountry'' in paragraphs (b)(3), (b)(4) and (b)(5);
    0
    g. Remove the term ``Convention'' and add in its place the term 
    ``foreign'' in paragraphs (b)(3)(i) and (b)(4)(i); and
    0
    h. Remove the term'' Convention adoptions'' and add in its place the 
    term ``intercountry adoptions'' in paragraph (b)(6).
    
    
    Sec.  96.44  [Amended]
    
    0
    37. Amend Sec.  96.44 by removing the term ``Convention'' and adding in 
    its place the term ``intercountry'' in paragraph (b).
    
    
    Sec.  96.46  [Amended]
    
    0
    38. Amend Sec.  96.46 as follows:
    0
    a. Remove the term ``Convention'' and add in its place the term 
    ``foreign'' in the section heading, and in paragraphs (a), (a)(1), 
    (a)(3), (a)(5), and (b); and
    0
    b. Add the phrase ``or the Convention's principles of ensuring that 
    intercountry adoptions take place in the best interests of children and 
    preventing the abduction, exploitation, sale, or trafficking of 
    children'' after the phrase ``germane to the Convention'' in paragraph 
    (a)(4).
    
    
    Sec.  96.47  [Amended]
    
    0
    39. Amend Sec.  96.47 as follows:
    0
    a. Remove the citation ``8 CFR 204.3(e)'' and add in its place the 
    citation ``8 CFR 204.311'' in paragraphs (a)(4), (b), and (c)(1);
    0
    b. Remove both iterations of the phrase ``or temporarily accredited 
    agency'' in paragraph (c); and
    0
    c. Remove the citation ``8 CFR 204.3(b)'' and add in its place the 
    citation ``8 CFR 204.301'' in paragraph (c)(2).
    
    
    Sec.  96.48  [Amended]
    
    0
    40. Amend Sec.  96.48 by removing the term ``Convention'' and adding in 
    its place the term ``foreign'' in paragraph (b)(1) and removing the 
    term ``Convention'' and adding in its place the term ``intercountry'' 
    in paragraph (b)(8).
    
    
    Sec.  96.49  [Amended]
    
    0
    41. Amend Sec.  96.49 by removing the term ``Convention'' and adding in 
    its place the term ``foreign'' in paragraphs (a), (d)(1), and (d)(2).
    
    
    Sec.  96.50  [Amended]
    
    0
    42. Amend Sec.  96.50 by removing both iterations of the term 
    ``Convention'' and adding in place of them the term ``foreign'' in 
    paragraph (g) and adding the phrase ``in Convention adoptions is'' 
    before the phrase ``entered in compliance with'' in paragraph (h)(1).
    
    
    Sec.  96.52  [Amended]
    
    0
    43. Amend Sec.  96.52 as follows:
    0
    a. Remove the term ``Convention'' and add in its place the term 
    ``foreign'' in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c);
    0
    b. Remove the phrase ``a Convention'' and add in its place the phrase 
    ``an intercountry'' in paragraph (e); and
    0
    c. Remove the phrase ``or any regulations implementing the IAA'' and 
    add in its place the phrase ``the UAA, or any regulations implementing 
    the IAA or UAA'' in paragraph (e).
    
    0
    44. Revise the undesignated center heading above Sec.  96.53 to read as 
    follows:
    * * * * *
    
    Standards for Convention Cases in Which a Child Is Emigrating From the 
    United States (Outgoing Cases)
    
    * * * * *
    
    
    Sec.  96.53  [Amended]
    
    0
    45. Amend Sec.  96.53 by adding the term ``Convention'' before 
    ``cases'' in the section heading and removing both iterations of the 
    phrase ``or temporarily accredited agency'' in paragraph (b).
    
    
    Sec.  96.54  [Amended]
    
    0
    46. Amend Sec.  96.54 by adding the term ``Convention'' before the term 
    ``cases'' in the section heading.
    
    
    Sec.  96.55  [Amended]
    
    0
    47. Amend Sec.  96.55 by adding the term ``Convention'' before the term 
    ``cases'' in the section heading.
    
    0
    48. Revise Sec.  96.57 to read as follows:
    
    
    Sec.  96.57  Scope.
    
        The provisions in this subpart establish the procedures for when 
    the accrediting entity issues decisions on applications for 
    accreditation or approval.
    0
    49. Revise Sec.  96.58 to read as follows:
    
    
    Sec.  96.58  Notification of accreditation and approval decisions.
    
        (a) The accrediting entity must routinely inform applicants in 
    writing of its accreditation and approval decisions--whether an 
    application has been granted or denied--as those decisions are 
    finalized. The accrediting entity must routinely provide this 
    information to the Secretary in writing.
        (b) The accrediting entity may, in its discretion, communicate with 
    agencies and persons that have applied for accreditation or approval 
    about the
    
    [[Page 40636]]
    
    status of their pending applications to afford them an opportunity to 
    correct deficiencies that may hinder or prevent accreditation or 
    approval.
    0
    50. Revise Sec.  96.60 to read as follows:
    
    
    Sec.  96.60  Length of accreditation or approval period.
    
        The accrediting entity will accredit or approve an agency or person 
    for a period of four years. The accreditation or approval period will 
    commence on the date that the agency or person is granted accreditation 
    or approval.
    
    
    Sec.  96.62  [Amended]
    
    0
    51. Amend Sec.  96.62 by removing the second sentence.
    
    
    Sec.  96.63  [Amended]
    
    0
    52. Amend Sec.  96.63 by removing both iterations of the term 
    ``Convention'' and adding in their places the term ``intercountry 
    adoption'' in paragraph (a).
    
    
    Sec.  96.65  [Amended]
    
    0
    53. Amend Sec.  96.65 by removing the second and third sentences.
    
    
    Sec.  96.68  [Amended]
    
    0
    54. Amend Sec.  96.68 by removing the phrase ``or the regulations 
    implementing the IAA'' and adding in its place the phrase ``the UAA, or 
    the regulations implementing the IAA or UAA'' and removing the last 
    sentence.
    
    
    Sec.  96.69  [Amended]
    
    0
    55. Amend Sec.  96.69 by removing the term ``Convention adoption'' and 
    adding in its place the term ``intercountry adoption'' in paragraphs 
    (b) and (c).
    
    
    Sec.  96.70  [Amended]
    
    0
    56. Amend Sec.  96.70 by removing the phrase ``temporarily accredited 
    agencies, and'' and by adding the phrase ``, and agencies temporarily 
    accredited for one or two years after the Convention entered into 
    force'' after the term ``approved persons'' in paragraph (b)(1).
    
    
    Sec.  96.71  [Amended]
    
    0
    57. Amend Sec.  96.71 by removing the phrase ``or the regulations 
    implementing the IAA'' and adding in its place the phrase ``the UAA, or 
    the regulations implementing the IAA or UAA'' in paragraph (b).
    
    
    Sec.  96.74  [Amended]
    
    0
    58. Amend Sec.  96.74 by removing the second and third sentences.
    
    
    Sec.  96.75  [Amended]
    
    0
    59. Amend Sec.  96.75 by adding ``, the UAA,'' after ``IAA'' in the 
    introductory text and removing the term ``Convention'' and adding in 
    its place the term ``foreign'' in paragraph (e).
    
    
    Sec.  96.77  [Amended]
    
    0
    60. Amend Sec.  96.77 by removing all six iterations of the term 
    ``Convention cases'' and both iterations of the term ``Convention 
    adoption cases'' adding in their places the term ``intercountry 
    adoption cases'' in paragraphs (b) and (c).
    
    
    Sec.  96.81  [Amended]
    
    0
    61. Amend Sec.  96.81 by removing the last two sentences.
    
    
    Sec.  96.83  [Amended]
    
    0
    62. Amend Sec.  96.83 by removing the phrase ``under the Convention'' 
    in paragraph (b)(3).
    
    
    Sec.  96.87  [Amended]
    
    0
    63. Amend Sec.  96.87 by removing both iterations of the term 
    ``Convention cases'' and both iterations of the term ``Convention 
    adoption cases'' adding in their places the term ``intercountry 
    adoption cases''.
    
    
    Sec.  96.90  [Amended]
    
    0
    64. Amend Sec.  96.90 by removing the second sentence.
    
    
    Sec.  96.91  [Amended]
    
    0
    65. Amend Sec.  96.91 as follows:
    0
    a. Remove the phrase ``Once the Convention has entered into force for 
    the United States'' in paragraphs (a) and (b);
    0
    b. Remove the phrase ``withdrawal of temporary accreditation,'' in 
    paragraph (a)(3); and
    0
    c. Remove the phrase ``a withdrawal of temporary accreditation,'' in 
    paragraph (b)(2).
    
    
    Sec.  96.92  [Amended]
    
    0
    66. Amend Sec.  96.92 by removing the phrase ``Once the Convention has 
    entered into force for the United States'' in the introductory text.
    
    
    Sec.  96.93  [Amended]
    
    0
    67. Amend Sec.  96.93 as follows:
    0
    a. Remove the phrase ``and any withdrawals of temporary accreditation'' 
    in paragraph (a)(3);
    0
    b. Remove the term ``Convention'' and add in its place the term 
    ``intercountry adoption'' in paragraph (b)(2); and
    0
    c. Remove the phrase ``or withdraws an agency's temporary 
    accreditation'' in paragraph (c)(3).
    
    Subpart N [Removed]
    
    0
    68. Remove subpart N, consisting of Sec. Sec.  96.95 through 96.111.
    
        Dated: July 7, 2014.
    Michele T. Bond,
     Acting Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of 
    State.
    [FR Doc. 2014-16294 Filed 7-11-14; 8:45 am]
    BILLING CODE 4710-06-P
    
    
    
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