9 Jun 2010

President and CEO of Council on Accreditation Richard Klarberg: Only accredited U.S. agencies should handle adoptions of Russian children

Richard Klarberg, President and CEO of Council on Accreditation non-profit organization that accredits or is in the process of accrediting over 1,500 human and social service providers, told Interfax ahead of the next round of Russian-U.S. talks on adoptions that Moscow and Washington need to secure an agreement in order to prevent any disruption to the process of adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens.

Question: What are your expectations fr om the next round of negotiations between the United States and Russia on international adoptions? What do you want to see in the new agreement between the U.S. and Russia on this subject?

Answer: Most importantly, we would like to see an agreement that allows for the uninterrupted processing of adoptions in all cases wh ere a safe and permanent home for the prospective adoptee cannot be found in Russia. In addition, we would like to know that the agreement clearly supports the principles of the Hague Convention, and that only Hague-accredited U.S. adoption service providers will be permitted to facilitate adoptions in Russia.

Q.: How can you explain those tragic cases with the Russian adopted kids that happened in America recently?

A.: There is no explaining tragedies of this nature. We believe that they result from a series of factors, these include an incomplete understanding of the child’s needs by the adoptive parents, a flawed review of the adoptive parents’ capacity to provide a safe and nurturing environment and a lack of post-adoption support when the adoptive parents or the adopted child are unable to function in a healthy way. This last would require that post-adoption home visits be required.

Q.: What is the importance and value for the accreditation of the adoption agencies?

A.: While accreditation is certainly not a guarantee that tragic events will not occur for whatever reason, it does establish a clear process and clear standards for what is expected of the adoption service provider. In addition, because a part of the process is to establish a means for complaints to be registered and acted on, it ensures that patterns of inappropriate practices will be stopped.
I recognize that this is a highly emotional and political issue. I believe that it is only through an open dialogue that valid concerns and fears can be addressed.

***Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said last week that a date for the third round of talks on adoptions would be set in the near future. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley said earlier that these talks could take place in Washington on June 14-16. However, the Russian authorities have not confirmed this date yet, he added.

Russia proposed signing an accord after an American adoptive mother sent her 7-year-old boy back to Russia unaccompanied in April, saying she could no longer cope with his emotional problems.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov proposed freezing all adoptions of Russian children by U.S. families until an appropriate bilateral agreement was signed following the incident with 7-year-old Artem Savelyev.

According to the Russian Prosecutor General‘s Office, 12 Russian children were killed by their U.S. adoptive parents by 2006, when Russia toughened the adoption rules for foreign citizens.