Checking for substantiated claims of potential agencies

An updated version of this post which includes additional claims from late 2017/early 2018 is available here.

I spend a lot of time writing about choosing an agency on this blog. That’s because it’s one of the most important decisions you make during the process. You want to choose an agency that you are confident is ethical, knowledgeable about the process, and charges a reasonable amount of fees. I always suggest that people check the Council on Accreditation’s Substantiated Complaints and Adverse Actions list to see if there have been any issues with a potential agency. However, that file is a billion pages long, so I doubt many people actually do so. I decided to go through and list for you the agencies which have had substantiated claims. I can’t guarantee that I know every single agency with a China program, but I checked all that I was familiar with. Remember that an agency not being on this list doesn’t guarantee that they have no unethical practices. It’s simply one more tool you can use to evaluate your options.

If you see the name of your agency or one that you are considering, the COA reminds people that “It’s not uncommon for programs to have an occasional state licensing or Hague Accreditation/Approval regulatory violation. However, serious or regular on-going violations are reasons for concern.” You might still consider using an agency that is on this list. You can see that some complaints are more concerning than others. I also noted the year so you can see how long ago the claims were. This information is from the April 2017 file.

  1. ATWA– Agency failed to demonstrate that it was financially stable throughout fiscal year 2013 and completed voluntary corrective action.
  2. Adoption Associates (MI)- In 2010, the agency had multiple violations for charging additional fees and expenses beyond those disclosed in the contract.
  3. America World Adoptions– In 2012, the agency failed to report a complaint filed with licensing. In 2016, the agency did not provide sufficient individualized counseling and preparation for the adoptive family in light of the particular child’s special needs.
  4. Bay Area Adoption Services– In 2014, the agency did not follow state licensing and regulatory requirements regarding the finalization of an adoption.
  5. Bethany Christian Services– In 2010, the agency failed to include information about an additional adult household member in a home study and RFE response.
  6. European Adoption Consultants– In April 2016, the COA found a substantiated violation in requiring families take the foreign program fee in cash to China. In December 2016, this agency was disbarred for three years.
  7. Faith International Adoptions– In 2015, the agency was found to have failed to investigate serious allegations that their contact in India was fraudulently facilitating adoptions in their agency’s name. Faith then provided false and conflicting information to COA during the investigation. They also failed to inform COA that an individual in a senior management position had two felony convictions for acts involving financial irregularities. Faith’s COA accreditation was suspended for a time as a result.
  8. Great Wall– In 2012, Great Wall allowed someone to apply and pay fees to adopt from Rwanda despite adoptions from Rwanda being closed. There was also a memo which gave the appearance that Great Wall would buy their accreditation in Rwanda.
  9. Heartsent Adoptions– In 2010, The agency did not report safety concerns to the appropriate authorities in a timely manner.
  10. Lifeline– In 2014, the agency did not provide sufficient individualized counseling and preparation to meet the needs of prospective adoptive parents in light of the particular child’s special needs.
  11. Living Hope– In 2013, The agency’s orientation training did not comply with standards.
  12. WACAP– In 2011, The agency did not provide a copy of its complaint policies and procedures at the time the adoption services contract was signed.
  13. Wasatch International Adoptions– In 2012, The agency failed to properly oversee their contractor’s work. The CCCWA’s procedures were violated and the placing order of children was disrupted. They referred a special focus child to a family who did not complete a home study or dossier causing the child to have a prolonged time where the child was not available to be adopted. In a different complaint in 2012, Wasatch failed to follow-up on parents concerns about a child whose eligibility for international adoption was in question. In 2013, they failed to provide sufficient individualized counseling and preparation to meet the needs of prospective adoptive parents in light of the particular child’s special needs.
  14. Wide Horizons For Children– In 2012, the agency’s grievance procedures were misleading.


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