A Human Rights Based Approach Universal Declaration of Human Rights –Family is “the natural and fundamental unit of society” –As such the family, including children, must be protected United Nations Programme for the International year of the Family –“the family provides the natural framework for…the growth and development of its members, particularly infants and children”
A Human Rights Based Approach United Nations Convention on the rights of the Child Provides each child with: –The right to survival, –The right to develop to the fullest, –The right to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation, –and the right to participate fully in family, cultural and social life.
A Human Rights Based Approach Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption –“Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.”
Governments Role The International Community has agreed that governments have a responsibility to set public policies which protect the family and all of its members, including infants and children.
The Family’s Role The World Community agrees; The family has the greatest potential to protect children and provide for their physical and emotional safety. The privacy and autonomy of the family are valued in all societies and is guaranteed in international human rights instruments. Preventing or responding to violence against children is challenging in the context of the ‘private’ family. However, –children’s rights to life, survival and safety do not stop at the door of the family home, nor do States’ obligations to ensure these rights for children.
Protection Against Institutionalization Family Preservation Family Reunification Kinship Care Foster Care Adoption –Domestic –International Group Homes Independent Living
Deinstitutionalization vs. Family Life Global Trend Towards Deinstitutionalization –Columbia, new child’s rights law, 2007 –China, foster care replacing ICA –Ukraine, foster care –Africa, preventing institutions as an option –United States, foster care & adoption –India, street children
Fixing One Problem - Causing Another United States – deinstitutionalization –Homelessness (street children) –Foster Care system overwhelmed Increase in violence against children Increase in incarceration rates
Fixing One Problem - Causing Another Colombia child rights law & deinstitutionalization –Up to 2 years to permit an adoption –Lack of funding –Decrease in services
Fixing One Problem - Causing Another Russia deinstitutionalization –Increase in violence
The Goal of Public Policy Provide each child with: –The right to survival, –The right to develop to the fullest, –The right to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation, –and the right to participate fully in family, cultural and social life. Create a safe, permanent and loving family for each child
Safety, Permanency & Love Adoption vs. Foster Care –Safe but not permanent –Motivation of Foster Family Domestic Adoption vs. International Adoption –Fewer protections for domestic –More protections for international
The Colombian Model All Placements –Parents assessed by licensed social worker –Parents must visit prior to placement –Pre-adoption education requirements –Post Placement requirements –Equal status requirements
The United States Model Domestic Adoption –Parents assessed by licensed social worker, physicians, police Emotional, physician, financial, criminal –Parents must visit prior to placement –Post Placement requirements –Equal status requirements Insurance, education, rights, inheritance International Adoption –None
The Russian Model International Adoption –Parents assessed by licensed social worker, physicians, police and Federal Government Emotional, physician, financial, criminal –Parents must visit prior to placement –Pre-adoption education requirements –Post Placement requirements –Equal status requirements Insurance, education, rights, inheritance
The Russian Model International Adoption –12 deaths in 52,511 adoptions –.02 % –1 in every 4,357 adoptions
A Common Thread The Home Study –Training of prospective adoptive parents –Interview of prospective adoptive parents –Home Visit –Health Statements –Income Statements –Background Checks –Autobiographical Statement –References
Parent Training Training of prospective adoptive parents –Parenting a child with a history of physical and/or sexual abuse –Parenting a traumatized child –Parenting a child with Developmental Delays –Parenting the older child –Search & Reunion Issues of the adopted child –Integration into the extended family Siblings Relatives –Nontraditional Families
The Interview Interview –Family Background –Education –Employment –Relationships –Daily Life –Parenting –Neighborhood –Religion –Readiness for Adoption
The Assessment A report integrating all elements of the Home Study into a summary statement and the social worker's recommendation. –If not approved, the report may include recommended interventions. –Some prospective adoptive parents may receive a conditional approval. –If approved for adoption, the report includes the age range and number of children for which the family is approved.
Equal Protections Regardless of the placement (birth, kinship, foster, adoption) –A human rights approach –Focus on creating a safe, permanent & loving family Trained & educated professionals Assessment of the child Assessment of the child’s best interest Assessment of the kinship, foster or adoptive family Education of kinship, foster or adoptive family Post Placement support and supervision
If you want to go fast, go alone If you want to go far, travel together African Proverb