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GETTING IT ALL ON THE TABLE: ADDRESSING THE ANTI-INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION PERCEPTION Presentation to the Joint Council on International Children’s Services.

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Presentation on theme: "GETTING IT ALL ON THE TABLE: ADDRESSING THE ANTI-INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION PERCEPTION Presentation to the Joint Council on International Children’s Services."— Presentation transcript:

1 GETTING IT ALL ON THE TABLE: ADDRESSING THE ANTI-INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION PERCEPTION Presentation to the Joint Council on International Children’s Services April 9, 2014

2 2 av Save the Children and Families First Our common ground – and our common problem Save the Children & intercountry adoption – core principles Areas of consensus or controversy? Families First – working together Overview

3 3 Our common ground …name that organization helps orphaned and vulnerable children live in a permanent and safe family support and enable families to care for their children; prevent unnecessary family-child separation; and promote appropriate, protective and permanent family care. all children thrive in a safe family environment and no child is placed in harmful institutions put the child’s best interest at the forefront of laws, policies, programs or services; considers a range of placement options including providing support to the family to retain the child, returning the child to his or her biological parents, strengthening the care given by relatives and extended family members, and domestic or intercountry adoption.

4 4 Our common ground: name that organization helps orphaned and vulnerable children live in a permanent and safe family (Joint Council “what we do”) support and enable families to care for their children; prevent unnecessary family-child separation; and promote appropriate, protective and permanent family care. (USG Action Plan for Children in Adversity) all children thrive in a safe family environment and no child is placed in harmful institutions (Save the Children “breakthrough” goal) put the child’s best interest at the forefront of laws, policies, programs or services; (Joint Council “our beliefs”) considers a range of placement options including providing support to the family to retain the child, returning the child to his or her biological parents, strengthening the care given by relatives and extended family members, and domestic or intercountry adoption. (SC policy statement)

5 5 av Our common challenge: Children living without appropriate care Sources of risk and need: family strengthening & family placement: Estimates indicate that anywhere between 2 and 8 million children are in institutional care and 80% have one parent living. Most children living in institutions have been placed there due to extreme poverty or disability rather than parental death or abandonment. More than 17.5 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS, over 14 million of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa.** More than 13 million children are internally displaced as a result of conflict or persecution. Approximately 100 million children are, in some way, living on the street. Sources: UNICEF Global Databases 2012; USG Action Plan for Children in Adversity 2012; Guidelines for Alternative Care of Children SC 2012; State of the World’s Children 2003, UNICEF; State of the World’s Street Children: Research, S. Benitez 2011.

6 6 A common scale of the problem – many solutions needed

7 7 av Families First Program Spotlight: SAFE Democratic Republic of Congo  Reduce unnecessary separation of children from their families through prevention efforts;  Reintegration of children outside of family care with their families/communities;  Capacity development of services and systems to prevent and respond to family separation. SAFE: Appropriate Care for Families and Children

8 SAVE THE CHILDREN AND INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION POLICIES

9 9 Core principles: Article 21 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Ensure that the adoption of a child is authorized only by competent authorities who determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures…that the adoption is permissible in view of the child 's status concerning parents, relatives and legal guardians… Recognize that inter-country adoption may be considered as an alternative means of child 's care, if the child cannot be placed in a foster or an adoptive family or cannot in any suitable manner be cared for in the child 's country of origin Ensure that the child concerned by inter-country adoption enjoys safeguards and standards equivalent to those existing in the case of national adoption Take all appropriate measures to ensure that, in inter-country adoption, the placement does not result in improper financial gain for those involved in it Source: United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)

10 10 Core Principles: Hague Convention “An adoption within the scope of the Convention shall take place only if the competent authorities of the State of origin have determined, after possibilities for placement of the child within the State of origin have been given due consideration, that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests.” Source: Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co- operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (1993) The 1993 Hague Convention for the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Adoption

11 11 Core Principles: Best interests of the child Save the Children believes intercountry adoption should be an option only when it follows standards and regulations contained within the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption and is in the best interest of the child. Save the Children believes that financial or material poverty are not conditions for separation of a child from his/her family. Save the Children considers a range of placement options including providing support to the family to retain the child, returning the child to his or her biological parents, strengthening the care given by relatives and extended family members, and domestic or intercountry adoption. Source: Save the Children International Adoption Policy Brief, June 2012

12 12 Areas of controversy or growing consensus? First phase of emergency response Local solutions first Ensuring appropriate safeguards in place locally and no inappropriate incentives

13 13 Adopting in Emergencies - Never in first phase “In a chaotic environment, children may mistakenly be considered an orphan, even if they have families. … Efforts to trace a separated child’s family should be the first priority in any emergency to make certain that children who have families can be reunified and are not considered for adoption.” Save the Children policy *Source: “Want to adopt from Syria? Adoption agencies urge people to 'slow down,’” NBC Today, March “When there’s so much upheaval in a country, the kids may be separated from parents, but that doesn’t mean that these are kids who are available for adoption” - Kris Faasse, vice president of clinical operations for Bethany Christian Services* “Whenever a huge crisis hits…many people believe adoption should be the first response, when in fact the first priority is reconnecting children with their families and their community” -Susan Cox, vice president of policy and external affairs at Holt International* “When there’s so much upheaval in a country, the kids may be separated from parents, but that doesn’t mean that these are kids who are available for adoption” - Kris Faasse, vice president of clinical operations for Bethany Christian Services* “Whenever a huge crisis hits…many people believe adoption should be the first response, when in fact the first priority is reconnecting children with their families and their community” -Susan Cox, vice president of policy and external affairs at Holt International*

14 14 Subsidiarity: Local solutions first priority “Intercountry adoption should only be consider after all other local family care options have been exhausted, and national adoption should be always prioritized over intercountry adoption where both options are available.” (SC policy) vs. “If an in-country placement serving the child’s best interest and providing appropriate, protective and permanent care is not quickly available, and such an international home is available, the child should be placed in that international home without delay.” (S – “CHIFF”)

15 15 Ensuring effective local safeguards – first do no harm “Save the Children works with governments to help reform the care system including creating, adapting or enforcing laws and policies on alternative care and national and intercountry adoption that promote the child’s best interests. “(SC policy) “All measure of protection and transparency should be in place according to the Convention before adoption proceedings take place.” (SC policy)

16 16 av Finding common cause on behalf of children: How we can work together Effective child protection systems – at all levels – including making Hague work Family strengthening – prevention of separation Family strengthening – support appropriate family placements Regulation and reform of institutions Guidelines for the Alternative Care for Children Building on PL : USG Action Plan for Children in Adversity; Global Alliance for Children Children in Adversity Policy Partnership (CAPP)

17 17 av Working together: Children in Adversity Policy Partnership (CAPP) CAPP seeks to improve children’s well-being through a comprehensive approach that ensures that all children living in adversity: 1. Have a strong beginning; and 2. Grow up within and are supported by appropriate, protective, permanent families; and 3. Are protected from violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation. CAPP Steering Committee: ChildFund Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute KidSave Joint Council on International Children’s Services Save the Children World Vision

18 18 Discussion Greg Ramm (202)


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