U.S. intercountry adoptions nearly tripled from more than 8,000 to more than 22,000 between fiscal years 1994 and 2004. While the Department of State (State) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) manage the process, factors ranging from corruption to inadequate legal frameworks in foreign countries could lead to abuses such as the abduction of children. GAO (1) describes the U.S. intercountry adoption process, (2) assesses the U.S. government's efforts to manage the intercountry adoption process, (3) assesses U.S. efforts to strengthen safeguards and mitigate against the potential for fraudulent adoptions, and (4) describes the Hague Convention (Convention) and the statuses of U.S. and top sending countries' implementation of the Convention.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Homeland Security||To improve the management of the U.S. intercountry adoption process, the Secretary of Homeland Security should work with the Director of USCIS to formalize its quality assurance mechanisms so that the agency can assess the quality of the intercountry adoption process over time, ensure that senior officials from USCIS and State are aware of the outcomes of the quality assurance process, and identify opportunities where additional training or guidance may be warranted.|
|Department of Homeland Security||To improve the management of the U.S. intercountry adoption process, the Secretary of Homeland Security should work with the Director of USCIS to consider establishing a formal and systematic approach to document specific incidents of problems in intercountry adoptions that it has identified in foreign countries to retain institutional knowledge and analyze trends of individuals or organizations involved in improper activities.|