Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Families for Orphans Act Online Petition JULY 27, 28, and 29

The Joint Council, helped draft the Families for Orphans Act, which was recently introduced into the House( H.R.3031) and Senate (S.1458 ). The ultimate goal of the legislation is to develop an office within the Department of State to coordinate efforts to preserve families and provide legal, permanent relationships for orphans. This would also create a formal diplomatic channel to discuss related topics, something that doesn't currently exist in the U.S. Government.
The Joint Council website (http://www.jcics.org/ ) and attached press release can describe the initiative in far greater detail. The organization has also launched a Call to Action for July 27, 28 and 29 (http://www.jcics.org/call_to_action.htm) to drum up Congressional support. This involves constituents signing an online petition, as well as calling their Congressional leadership during this 72-hour window. I would really appreciate it if we could publish this information since this could ultimately benefit kids like the ones living at Starfish. Thanks to Joelle for sharing this information with us.

Life, Love and Laughter,
Amanda
Starfish Children's Services
US Tax number: 20-4682916
Xian China

At Starfish, we have taken care of 92 children to date, arranged more than 55 surgeries and had 21 international adoptions, so our little starfishes live all over the globe: the US, Netherlands, Norway and Spain and our latest adoption to France. We currently have 49 babies under the age of 3 at two foster homes.
www.thestarfishfosterhome.org
http://chinesestarfish.blogspot.com
http://chinesestarfishcleft.blogspot.com
chinese.starfishthrower@gmail.com
Cell: 86.1348.812.4847


Bill Introduced to Address Global Lack of Parents for Epidemic Numbers of
Children
The Families for Orphans Act (FFOA) will place a new emphasis on the need to improve US
policy for supporting healthy development of children globally. AIDS, war and poverty are
causing an explosion in the number of children worldwide who are growing up without parents in orphanages and long term foster care. Spearheaded by Representatives Diane Watson (D-CA) and John Boozman (R-AR), The Families for Orphans Act will empower the US government to proactively address a global gap in the most basic of human rights - a permanent family for every child.
Washington, DC (PRWEB) June 29, 2009 -- The Families for Orphans Coalition announces support today for The Families for Orphans Act, introduced in the House on Friday (HR 3070). The Families for Orphans Act (FFOA) will place a new emphasis on the need to improve US policy for supporting healthy development of children globally.
AIDS, war and poverty are causing an explosion in the number of children worldwide who are growing up without parents in orphanages and long term foster care. Spearheaded by Representatives Diane Watson (D-CA) and John Boozman (R-AR), The Families for Orphans Act will empower the US government to proactively address a global gap in the most basic of human rights - a permanent family for every child.
If enacted, The Families for Orphans Act would establish the Office of Orphan Policy, Diplomacy and Development within the Department of State and provide diplomatic authority to help the 30 million children orphaned worldwide and the 100 million plus vulnerable children who have lost one parent or are at risk of losing parental care. The new office would be responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy to support diplomacy and policy focusing on the preservation of families and the provision of permanent families
and legal, permanent relationships for orphans. This function is currently not a part of the US government's diplomatic portfolio.
Research has shown that families are essential to the healthy development of children, and those unfortunate children who grow up without the support of a permanent family often face homelessness, suicide, incomplete education, teen pregnancy and emotional disorders. "The human cost for children growing up without parents is steep," said Terry Baugh, President of Kidsave, and a member of the Coalition. "Children lose one month of development for every three months in an orphanage. With this handicap it is not hard to understand why these
children are unprepared for independent living when turned out of institutions starting as young as 8-years-old. As a result an estimated 50% turn to crime and prostitution, over one-third experience a period of homelessness and most are highly vulnerable to human trafficking and to adults recruiting terrorists and child soldiers." The Bucharest Early Intervention Study appears to support Baugh's assessment. The Study, conducted over five years by notable researchers from Harvard Medical School, the University of Maryland, Tulane, the University of
Virginia and the University of Minnesota reported that children living outside of family care suffered decreased brain activity (including lower IQ's), poor growth and a variety of emotional delays. "An investment in permanent family care for children is an investment in the health of the global economy," said Thomas Difilipo, President of the Joint Council of International Children's Services, a member of the Coalition. "Cost benefit data shows that effective, high-quality interventions to improve parenting skills and reduce child maltreatment save between $2 and $8 for every dollar spent. In a global economic crisis it only makes sense that
every country - and every community -- would begin to invest in permanent family care."
The new office will elevate the plight of children, giving the US a clear, dedicated, diplomatic authority to represent the interests of orphaned children. The office will advise the Secretary of State and President in all matters related to global family preservation and permanent parental care for orphans, as well as developing global strategy, including the coordination of all foreign policy and assistance related to global family preservation. The new office will also conduct research designed to better understand the size of the population of children living without parental care and global efforts to support these children. Oversight of three grant
programs directly related to preserving families and providing permanent parental care for families is an additional function of this new office. "The Families for Orphans Act emphasizes that activities that keep a child in the country of birth through family preservation, domestic adoption, legal guardianship and kinship care, are always the preferred child welfare
methods. However, when these are not timely options, a family through international adoption is clearly in the best interests of those children languishing in orphanages or living in temporary foster care," said Chuck Johnson, Coalition member and Chief Operating Officer for the National Council For Adoption.
The Families for Orphans Coalition was established in 2008 to support both domestic and foreign efforts that ensure every child lives, grows and thrives in a safe, permanent and loving family.
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