The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that four current and former employees of International Adoption Guides Inc. (IAG), an adoption services provider, have been indicted by a grand jury in South Carolina for allegedly conspiring to defraud the United States in connection with IAG’s adoption services in Ethiopia. Click here for the full announcement by the Department of Justice.
While we cannot address the specifics of an ongoing DOJ indictment, we roundly applaud the efforts of the Departments of Justice and State to protect children and families. As we have long advocated, the US government along with state and local authorities should be moving to investigate and, when needed, to prosecute specific organizations and individuals. A targeted approach to corruption not only protects children and families from harm but also provides protection by allowing ethical adoptions to continue.
The action by DOJ has left many adoptive families and Ethiopian families and children with great uncertainty. Our concern and efforts go to them and the Ethiopian children and families who were victimized by the alleged actions of IAG. Our primary concern is ensuring that vigorous efforts to reunite children with their families of birth along with determinations of each child’s legal status are made immediately.
We continue to work with the Department of State and other stakeholders to advocate for appropriate actions including a plan to assist adoptive families and Ethiopian children and families. As we move forward, we will post specific information on these efforts.
The corruption outlined in the announcement by the Department of Justice clearly demonstrates the need for Universal Accreditation for which we have advocated since 2008 and for the changes which are outlined in the Children in Families First Act and the implementation of the US Government’s Action Plan for Children in Adversity. Diligent oversight and regulation are always needed and encouraged. However preventing these types of tragedies are certainly preferable. Creating a US government policy and high ranking office to assist countries with the development of child protections, strengthened social services including family preservation could have prevented the victimization detailed in DOS’s announcement.
Note: Our apologies for the delay in providing this information which was caused by the crash of our websites and email platforms for most of last week.
Disclosure: International Adoption Guides was at one time a member of Joint Council. Based on our ongoing review of Partner organizations, International Adoption Guides was found to be out of compliance with the requirements for Partnership with Joint Council. Their affiliation with Joint Council ended in 2012.