What is the difference between Accreditation and Certification? Isn't Accreditation only for organizations?
While accreditation within the forensic industry is generally used for the labs themselves, rather than the individuals working there, many other industries do "accredit" people; it is not just for organizations. Accreditation, by definition, is the procedure by which an authoritative body gives formal recognition that a body or person is competent to carry out specific tasks. Both accreditation and certification use criteria and procedures to implement such activities.
Why is it important that accreditation be done by an independent board?
Boards for accreditation in any field should always be independent and non-profit so that they can remain neutral and impartial. We strongly believe that accreditation should not be in the hands of a for-profit organization, and that there should be representation by all the various stakeholders in our field. As a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit, we are more transparent than a for-profit organization and our spending, tax returns, charitable solicitation permits, and board membership are all public.
What is the difference between "Investigative Genetic Genealogy" and "Forensic Genetic Genealogy"?
Both terms have been coined to describe the the use of traditional and genetic genealogy to identify the contributor of unknown DNA left at the scene of a violent crime or unidentified human remains. However, there is considerable debate within the community about which term to use. IGGAB feels that the process aligns much more closely with investigative techniques rather than with forensic science, therefore we support the use of "Investigative Genetic Genealogy" and have chosen to adopt it within our name.
What does the Investigative Genetic Genealogy process actually encompass?
The IGGAB believes that the scope of Investigative Genetic Genealogy begins when the Subject's DNA profile is made available in the Accessible Genetic Genealogy database(s) and concludes with the generation of a Lead. It does not include the SNP-based DNA processing or the bioinformatic processing of the resulting data file, both which happen before the IGG process begins. It also does not include the subsequent traditional investigation or confirmatory DNA-testing which take place after the Lead is generated and the IGG work is concluded.
How were the Standards developed? Did the IGG community have a chance to review them?
A draft of the proposed Standards were published on April 30, 2023 and were open for review and public comment through the end of May 2023. After the public comment period closed, the Board thoroughly reviewed the feedback received from over 80 stakeholders and carefully considered edits before they were finalized in December 2023. View the published Professional Standards and Code of Ethics here.
Can AIGG's be held accountable for standards or ethical violations in the past?
Neither Professional Standards nor a Code of Ethics existed for the IGG field until late 2023, therefore they cannot be enforced retroactively. Furthermore, our field is evolving over time; some concepts/beliefs which were commonplace in 2018, are not considered standard practices today. IGGAB aims to help shape the future of our field by creating a widely accepted code of professional conduct that will advance the industry.
I would like to hire an IGG. What should I look for that will ensure they are competent and ethical?
Until the IGGAB accreditation exam is in place in 2024, here are some important things you can consider:
See our published Professional Standards and Code of Ethics here.
Why is an exam the best way to test competency in this field? What about my professional experience?
Unfortunately, there is no efficient or impartial way to determine someone's IGG qualifications by simply considering their experience. A lot of adoptee/misattributed parentage genetic genealogy and law enforcement work is confidential by their very nature, so portfolios of prior work would not likely be possible. IGGAB believes that a rigorous exam will be the best assessment, along with an agreement to follow a set of ethical standards.
What competencies will the exam test?
What will be the structure of the exam and how and when will it be offered?
The exact structure of the exam, as well as how and when it will be offered is currently under development. The creation of a professional accreditation exam takes a tremendous amount of time and effort, but we hope to begin taking applications for the exam in 2024. Join our email list to stay informed.
Will there be educational requirements or other prerequisites in order to take the exam?
We will not require any specific certificates, college degrees or professional experience as prerequisites to become an AIGG. Many of the best IGGs in the world are self-taught, and we believe what you know is much more important than how or where you learned it.
Will AIGGs be allowed to work in states that require licensing, such as Maryland?
IGGAB encourages any government jurisdictions that require licensing for Investigative Genetic Genealogists to consider adopting the AIGG accreditation as their standard for licensure. However, the decision to adopt AIGG accreditation by any jurisdiction cannot be made until the standards and exam are fully developed. Join our email list to receive updates.
Will reaccreditation be required at regular intervals? What about continuing education?
In a field that is rapidly evolving, we feel that reaccreditation at regular intervals is absolutely essential. The details of reaccreditation requirements are under development. We do not anticipate any formal continuing education requirements, but reaccreditation will likely be focused on changes and updates in the field as well as a review of previously tested competencies.
What is the cost to sit for the accreditation exam?
There will be a fee to take the accreditation exam, however the exact costs have not yet been determined. Exam fees will help cover operating expenses and the advancement of the AIGG program. As a non-profit organization, our financial and operating information is public, so our income and expenses will be transparent.
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IGGAB is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 non-profit - EIN: 92-1559358