Orientation & Initial Training

 

International Family Services Orientation & Initial Training

Introduction

When President Clinton signed the Intercountry Adoption Act (IAA) in the Fall of 2000, the United States embraced legislation that puts into effect the Hague Convention On Protection Of Children And Co-Operation In Respect Of Intercountry Adoption (more briefly called “the Hague Convention” or simply, “the Hague”), concluded in 1993. The IAA designated the U.S. Department of State (DOS) as the Central Authority responsible for the oversight of adoption agencies and adoption cases governed by the Hague Convention. The DOS passed the implementing regulations for the accreditation of adoption agencies in February 2006. Also in 2006, the DOS selected the Council on Accreditation (COA) as the only nationally recognized body that is responsible for accrediting and supervising agencies which perform adoptions covered by the Hague Convention.

The DOS entered into force in respect to the Hague Convention on April 1, 2008, as stated in a notice in the U.S. Federal Register on Dec 18, 2007 (for a copy of the notice, see Hague, USDOS Deposit Articles). In the Notice, the DOS states that the U.S. deposited the articles (‘ratified the Convention’) on December 12, 2007. After April 1, 2008, adoption agencies that wish to conduct adoptions between the U.S. and other countries that have entered into force under the Hague Convention must comply with regulations of the IAA.

Additionally, the Universal Accreditation Act (2012) extends the Hague accreditation and home study requirements to all adoptions from abroad, whether or not the foreign country has entered into force in respect to the Hague Convention.

Regulations which apply the IAA include the following.

IFS staff (clinical or administrative) are not required to read and understand all of these regulations and laws. However, IFS program directors and adoption consultants (even if performing only administrative duties) will need to be familiar with 22 CFR 96 (the section on accreditation standards) and 8 CFR 204.311 (Convention home study requirements). Social workers will necessarily need to be familiar with the home study requirements found in 8 CFR 204.311.

  • 8 CFR Parts 103, 204, 213a et al. (for a copy of the code, see 8 CFR INA re Hague.pdf) – These regulations modify the Immigration and Nationality Act to accommodate the provisions related to Hague Convention countries, including the introduction of new application forms for Convention case and new procedures for approving families and the children. For a summary of this section of the Federal Code, see Hague US Regs Overview.pdf.
  • 22 CRF Part 42 (for a copy of the code, see 22 CFR 42 Consular.pdf)– These regulations outline the Consular Officer procedures when approving an orphan petition.
  • 22 CFR Parts 96, 97 and 98 (for a copy of the code, see 22 CFR 96, 97, 98.pdf) – Part 96 contains the standards for accrediting and supervising adoption agencies under the IAA; Part 97 and 98 outline the requirements for the Department of Homeland Security and USDOS relative to record preservation.
  • 22 CFR Part 99 (for a copy of the code, see 22 CFR 99 Reporting.pdf ) – These regulations describe the reporting requirements to the USDOS by an accredited agency which processes an outgoing adoption case. Since IFS will not be conducting outgoing adoptions, these provisions will not affect our operations.
  • 8 CFR 204.311 (for a copy of the code, see Hague HS, 8 CFR 204.311.doc) – These regulations detail the requirements for a valid home study report in a Hague Convention case. Note that conversion of  a non-Convention home study report to a Convention-compliant report will involve significant work.

IFS Accreditation IFS accreditation was initially received on June 3, 2009. Accreditation was renewed in May of 2012 and will expire in June of 2016. As of July 2015, IFS began the process of accreditation renewal.

Two International Adoption Systems

After the U.S. entered into force in respect to the Hague Convention, on April 1, 2008, most agencies began to conduct two types of adoption cases, Convention (which use the I-800a/800 forms) and non-Convention (which use the I-600a/600 forms).

Convention cases are cases that occur between countries that have both entered into force in respect to the Hague. These cases must comply with the IAA. Adoption cases between two countries where only one has entered into force in respect to the Hague are considered non-Convention cases. Convention Cases As of May 2015, IFS has an adoption program in the following countries which have entered in force with respect to the Hague. Therefore, IFS adoption cases from these countries will be considered Convention cases. They must comply with the provisions of the IAA and will use the I-800a/800 USCIS forms. Agencies involved with Convention cases must be accredited agency or supervised by an accredited agency.

China
India

(For a complete list of Convention countries, see the Convention Status Table. Simply search the web page with the browser’s ‘find’ feature for the country of interest. If the country is listed, be sure to confirm that it has a date entered in the fifth (5th) column of the table, labeled EIF (‘entry into force’). A country may have signed the treaty but not entered into force. If this column is blank for a listed country, or the country does not appear as listed in the table, then the country is not considered a Convention country. This list is continuously updated.)

Non-Convention (“Orphan”) Cases

As of May 2015, IFS has an adoption program in the following countries which have NOT entered in force with respect to the Hague. Therefore, even though the U.S. is a Convention country, IFS adoption cases from these countries will be considered non-Convention cases. These cases are also called “orphan cases” and use the I-600a/600 USCIS forms.

However, since the Universal Accreditation Act (2012) became effective on July 14, 2014, all U.S. adoption agencies must be either accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) or supervised by an accredited agency in order to conduct any international adoption whether or not the country is a Convention country. Additionally, all home studies in non-Convention cases must comply with the Hague home study requirements. Finally, every non-Convention case must have a primary provider that assumes responsibility, either directly or supervision, for the 6 adoption services defined under the Hague regulations.

  1. Choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider
  2. Apply to USCIS to be found suitable and eligible to adopt a child from a Convention country
  3. Be matched with a child by authorities in the child’s country of origin
  4. Apply to USCIS for the child to be found eligible for immigration to the United States and receive U.S. provisional approval to proceed with the adoption
  5. Adopt or gain legal custody of the child in the child’s country of origin
  6. Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for the child and bring your child home

IFS currently offers programs in the following non-Convention countries

Ukraine

Accreditation Personnel Training

In order for IFS to conduct Convention adoption cases, it must become accredited by the DOS/COA. This accreditation process is extensive and requires a more thorough training of its personnel and adoptive families. IFS will document this training through a tracking system.

Orientation Training
All personnel will be trained in the following topics (under the category of “orientation”).

1) The requirements of the Convention, the IAA, the regulations implementing the IAA, and other applicable Federal regulations;

2) The INA regulations applicable to the immigration of children adopted from a Convention country;

3) The adoption laws of any Convention country where the agency or person provides adoption services;

4) Relevant State laws;

5) Ethical considerations in intercountry adoption and prohibitions on child-buying;

6) The agency’s or person’s goals, ethical and professional guidelines, organizational lines of accountability, policies, and procedures;

7) The cultural diversity of the population(s) served by the agency or person.

Initial Training
Additionally, IFS will train its social service personnel (defined as “social service staff that has adoption-related responsibilities involving the application of clinical skills and judgment, such as home studies and child background studies, counseling services, parent preparation, post-placement and other similar services”) in the following topics (under the heading of “initial training”).

1) The factors in the countries of origin that lead to children needing adoptive families;

2) Feelings of separation, grief, and loss experienced by the child with respect to the family of origin;

3) Attachment and post-traumatic stress disorders;

4) Psychological issues facing children who have experienced abuse or neglect and/or whose parents’ rights have been terminated because of abuse or neglect;

5) The impact of institutionalization on child development;

6) Outcomes for children placed for adoption internationally and the benefits of permanent family placements over other forms of government care;

7) The most frequent medical and psychological problems experienced by children from the countries of origin served by the agency or person;

8) The process of developing emotional ties to an adoptive family;

9) Acculturation and assimilation issues, including those arising from factors such as race, ethnicity, religion, and culture and the impact of having been adopted internationally; and,

10) Child, adolescent, and adult development as affected by adoption.

IFS will exempt social service personnel (those who provide adoption-related social services that involve the application of clinical skills and judgment) based upon prior demonstrated international adoption experience and knowledge of the Hague Convention and the Intercountry Adoption Act. Specifically, IFS social service staff that have adoption-related responsibilities involving the application of clinical skills and judgment are exempt from the ‘initial training’ under the following conditions.

1) the social service staff is qualified under the provisions of the IAA regulations

2) the social service staff has completed 12 international home studies where the home studies

a. involve face-to-face interviews with household members, and b. an evaluation of the prospective adoptive parents’ suitability to adopt.

Ongoing Training

Finally, IFS must also ensure that employees or individuals who provide adoption-related social services that involve the application of clinical skills and judgment receive, in addition to the orientation and initial training mentioned above, no less than 30 hours of training every two years, or more if required by State law, on current and emerging adoption practice issues. Continuing education hours required by State law may count toward the 30 hours of training as long as the training is related to current and emerging adoption practice issues. Training may be counted as suitable if

1) it is recognized by the National Association of Social Workers, or some other professional body

2) it is recognized by a State

In many, if not most cases, social workers will need to seek out appropriate continuing education units suitable for their state licensure. IFS will collect proof of training. This solicitation, however, should not be counted on as a sufficient reminder system for the social workers’ scheduling of their training.

Completing Your Training

The U.S. Intercountry Adoption Act (2000), in implementing the Hague Convention On Protection Of Children And Co-Operation In Respect Of Intercountry Adoption (more briefly called “the Hague Convention” or simply, “the Hague”), requires that accredited adoption agencies train their staff in an ‘orientation’ and ‘initial’ training.

  • All IFS staff and representatives (except clerical) must complete the Orientation.
  • Social workers must complete the Initial Training (exemptions allowed).

IFS personnel who have not yet completed this training will be classified as ‘inactive.’ An inactive status means that the person will not be able to represent IFS in any way. This includes any promotion (voice mail greetings, web page, email auto-signature, mailing information, answering email, etc.), conversations or emails (with current IFS families, inquiring families, other agencies or facilitators about IFS families or programs, etc.), or appearances (seminars, meetings, with IFS on the name tag or in other introductions, etc.) If one can imagine a possible exception, it probably qualifies as ‘any way.’ Of course, one can communicate with IFS staff (agencies and facilitators are not IFS staff), just not to others about or in behalf of IFS or its families.

Training – Individual Report
The 96.38 Staff Training Report.pdf is a document that will be used to report completion of training. This should be completed by all staff and faxed in (as noted on the document) to an IFS electronic fax number, 815-572-0669. The document is broken down into two sections – orientation and initial training. These two sections are listed below.

Orientation (all IFS staff, except clerical)
The orientation training applies to social services staff “who perform adoption-related social service functions that require the application of clinical skills and judgment (home studies, child background studies, counseling, parent preparation, post-placement, and other similar services)”. However, IFS will also require this of all staff (except clerical). This training covers an orientation to IFS operations and to the federal and state laws under which it operates relative to the IAA and the Hague. The topics specified in the IAA are listed as follows. “Orientation” Training Topics (22 CFR 96.38(a))

1. The requirements of the Convention, the IAA, the regulations implementing the IAA, and other applicable Federal regulations Training documents (22 CFR 96.38(a)(1)) * DOS, Intro to Intl Adopt.pdf * Hague PAP Guide wQuiz Aug15.pdf * HG Social Worker Guide.pdf

2. The INA regulations applicable to the immigration of children adopted from a Convention country (22 CFR 96.38(a)(2)) Training documents * Hague US Regs Overview.pdf * Hague Laws Regs Ethics Quiz.pdf

3. The adoption laws of any Convention country where the agency or person provides adoption services (22 CFR 96.38(a)(3)) Training documents * Hague Laws Regs Ethics.pdf * Hague Laws Regs Ethics Quiz.pdf

4. Relevant State laws (22 CFR 96.38(a)(4)) Training documents * Hague Laws Regs Ethics.pdf * Hague Laws Regs Ethics Quiz.pdf

5. Ethical considerations in intercountry adoption and prohibitions on child-buying; (22 CFR 96.38(a)(5)) Training documents * Hague Laws Regs Ethics.pdf * Hague Laws Regs Ethics Quiz.pdf

6. The agency’s or person’s goals, ethical and professional guidelines, organizational lines of accountability, policies, and procedures (22 CFR 96.38(a)(6)) Training documents * Board Policy Minutes 101907.pdf * IFS Org Chart 2015.pdf * IFS Agency Goals 2015.pdf * Anti-Child Buying Training & Policy; also watch this video, Not for Sale: End Human Trafficking and Slavery (1:01 minutes) * HG, IFS Population Served.pdf

“Initial” Training (clinical staff)

Initial training applies to social services staff “who perform adoption-related social service functions that require the application of clinical skills and judgment (home studies, child background studies, counseling, parent preparation, postplacement, and other similar services).” Exemptions from these elements are based on (22 CFR 96.38(d))

1) the social service staff is qualified under the provisions of the IAA regulations, specifically

(a) a master’s degree from an accredited program of social work or in another human service field; or (b) a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program of social work; or a combination of a bachelor’s degree in any field and prior experience in family and children’s services, adoption, or intercountry adoption; and (c) are supervised by an employee of the agency who has a master’s degree from an accredited program of social work or in a related human service field; and

2) the social service staff has completed 12 international home studies where the home studies

a. involve face-to-face interviews with household members, and b. an evaluation of the prospective adoptive parents’ suitability to adopt.

Initial Training Topics (22 CFR 96.3(a))

1. The factors in the countries of origin that lead to children needing adoptive families; (22 CFR 96.38(b)(1)) Training documents * Factors leading to adoption.pdf

2. Feelings of separation, grief, and loss experienced by the child with respect to the family of origin; (22 CFR 96.38(b)(2)) Training documents * Treatment of Abused Childre.pdf

3. Attachment and post-traumatic stress disorders; (22 CFR 96.38(b)(3)) Training documents * UMN IAC on Attachment.pdf * Treatment of Abused Children.pdf

4. Psychological issues facing children who have experienced abuse or neglect and/or whose parents’ rights have been terminated because of abuse or neglect; (22 CFR 96.38(b)(4)) Training documents * Treatment of Abused Children.pdf

5. The impact of institutionalization on child development; (22 CFR 96.38(b)(5)) Training documents * Adoption Development Stages.pdf * Adoption Effects.pdf

6. Outcomes for children placed for adoption internationally and the benefits of permanent family placements over other forms of government care; (22 CFR 96.38(b)(6)) Training documents * Dissolution, disruption rat.pdf

7. The most frequent medical and psychological problems experienced by children from the countries of origin served by the agency or person; (22 CFR 96.38(b)(7)) Training documents * JAMA Adoptees behavior ment.pdf * CH, Med Issues, General, Aa.pdf * CH, Med Issues, Rickets, Aa.pdf * CH, Med Issues, Lead, Aaron.pdf * CH, Lead blood levels.pdf

8. The process of developing emotional ties to an adoptive family; (22 CFR 96.38(b)(8)) Training documents * UMN IAC on Attachment.pdf

9. Acculturation and assimilation issues, including those arising from factors such as race, ethnicity, religion, and culture and the impact of having been adopted internationally; and, (22 CFR 96.38(b)(9)) Training documents * Impact on Adopted Persons.pdf * Adoption Effects.pdf

10. Child, adolescent, and adult development as affected by adoption. (22 CFR 96.38(b)(10)) Training documents * Adoption Development Stages.pdf   Action Points

In summary,

*read the above material (as it applies to you) *take the following 4 quizzes (fax to 815-572-0669)

Anti-Child Buying Quiz (p. 8 of Anti-Child Buying Training document) Hague Laws Regs Ethics Quiz.pdf Parents Want Answers Quiz (for non-clinical staff only; p. 6 of the Parents Want Answers: Clinical or Administrative document) Hague PAP Guide quiz.pdf

*complete the 96.38 Staff Training Report (fax to 815-572-0669)

Prepared by Richard Price December 2007 (Rev. May 2015)


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