I hope we can do whatever we can to help JCICS, as we owe them so much for helping us with the I600A so that we could continue our adoption of Sophie.
So, please consider helping Joint Council pass the landmark: Families for Orphans Act
Go here to follow the steps to help pass the act:
Below is the crux of the act.
Thanks so much friends!
The Families For Orphans Act
UNICEF estimates 143 million children live as orphans. Some have lost both parents; others are at risk of being orphaned. Millions more live outside the scope of available census data: on the streets, in temporary care, or in unregistered institutions. Deprived of basic human rights, these unknown children are denied the nurturing needed to thrive as children and later as members of our global society. They lack the physical and emotional safety that only a permanent family can provide. Perhaps most importantly, they are deprived of the love needed to realize their full human potential.
A Gap Exists
Efforts by the aid and development community are currently focused on survivability: nutrition, housing, education, and medical care. Community development programs only indirectly prevent family dissolution and do not appropriately address the needs of children living outside of permanent parental care. A continuum of care is needed to ensure that children mature into productive members of the world community. This continuum lacks the programs, funding, focus, and leadership needed to move these children from survivability to permanent family life. The focus on survivability creates a gap between surviving in temporary care and thriving in a permanent family. This gap only increases the world orphan crisis and leads to the continuing deterioration of the world's social fabric. Evidence based research, in the U.S. and internationally, clearly supports the need for permanent family life in preventing incarceration, suicide, mental health disorders, and deterioration of physical health. In addition to assuring the human right to a permanent family, this research also points to the validity of expanding aid and development efforts to include permanent family life.
Within U.S. strategies, four hurdles impede efforts to ensure a permanent family for every child:
- Currently U.S. programs are disconnected, are without an overriding policy or goal and discount the basic human need of a permanent family. Programs exist in a silo structure, which often results incounterproductive and mutually exclusive programs.
- A lack of proactive diplomacy results in reactionary initiatives, which address problems and not the cause. Further, U.S. agencies and officials lack the authority and resources needed to engage foreign governments.
- While developing countries are actively seeking assistance with the development of sound public policy and support for permanency programs, U.S. expertise, leadership and support are restricted by current U.S. mandates and structure.
- There is a lack of definitions and metrics. Without definitions on terminology (i.e. orphans) and little verifiable data including the number of children living outside of permanent parental care, the scope and depth of the problem cannot be quantified and program evaluations are therefore unreliable.
The Families for Orphans Act overcomes these barriers by establishing the Office of Orphan Policy, Development and Diplomacy. The office, headed by an appointed Coordinator, will promote and support the preservation and reunification of families and the provision of permanent parental care for orphans. The primary functions of the office as related to family preservation and permanent parental care are:
- Act as the Primary Advisor to the Secretary of State and President
- Provide Diplomatic Representation on matters related to permanent parental care
- Develop an evidence-based Comprehensive Global Strategy
- Support foreign governments through Sound Policy and Technical and Financial Assistance
- Develop Best Practices and ensure Cultural Sensitivity in the area of permanency
- Support in-country family preservation, reunification and permanency as Primary Solutions
- Coordinate Foreign Policy related to family preservation and permanent parental care
- Coordinate U.S. Domestic and International Permanency Policies
- Conduct a Biennial Census of children without permanent parental care
- Develop Permanency Indicators and metrics
- Report Annually to Congress