The Council on Accreditation Celebrates National Adoption Month with the Release of Updated Adoption Service Standards

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Expands Focus to Home Study Providers

We appreciate the thoughtful role that COA took in crafting new standards to raise the quality of adoption service provision. -Ryan Hanlon, National Council For Adoption

The Council on Accreditation (COA), an independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization, announces the release of updated standards of best practices for adoption services. With this release, COA is emphasizing key practices that are critical for programs establishing permanent family relationships for children.

Richard Klarberg, COA’s President and CEO stated, “COA is constantly working towards bettering the fields it serves and the release of the standards for adoption services is another example of this. Continuing to identify best practices in the field and updating our standards regularly allows for the COA accredited organizations to improve upon their processes and ensures they provide quality services.”

Notable among the updates include standards relating to: trauma informed care and services; the use of a defined method and tools for completing a home study that is a thorough and unique assessment of each family; child-specific training and preparation for prospective adoptive families; providing proper notice and obtaining consents when birth parents are considering an adoption plan; and the full array of post-placement and post-adoption services that each member of the adoption triad can benefit from. Additionally, the relevant standards for intercountry adoption services that apply to exempt and supervised providers have been integrated into the Adoption Services section, and COA’s Intercountry Adoption Standards are being officially retired.

As the sole national accreditor of intercountry adoption service providers under the Hague Convention and the Intercountry Adoption Act for the last 12 years, COA values the lessons learned about what is really most important to ensuring positive and sustainable outcomes for children, birth parents, and adoptive families. COA looks forward to expanding its focus on adoption more broadly and to the upcoming launch of program accreditation for home study providers which will provide an important validation that home study providers for domestic and international adoptions meet the highest standards of best practice.

The standards were revised in consultation with leading organizations and practitioners in the adoption field. COA extends a special thank you to those who provided contributions to the update process.

Ryan Hanlon, Vice President of Education, Research, & Constituent Services at the National Council For Adoption noted, “We appreciate the thoughtful role that COA took in crafting new standards to raise the quality of adoption service provision. National Council For Adoption (NCFA) was pleased to join many other stakeholders in advising on the newly created standards.”

The revised standards are free and available to the public at

About COA: Founded in 1977, COA is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of the full continuum of social service organizations and programs in the United States and Canada. Over 1,900 programs have either successfully achieved COA accreditation or are currently engaged in the process. Presently, COA is recognized in over 300 instances in 49 states, District of Columbia, Canada, and China. To learn more about COA, please visit

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Jayne Schmidt
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