Where were you 21 years ago?

9 02 2012

Register for the Child Welfare Symposium today!

Twenty one years ago…what were you doing?  Finishing up college?  Having your first child?  Not yet born?  Twenty one years ago, I attended my very first Joint Council Conference (now called the “Symposium“).  I walked in to a room at the 4-H Club in Chevy Chase, MD (what ever happened to Barb Holton?), with about 35 people in attendance.  I  heard people speak that were as passionate as I about children who needed families.  I was hooked (!) and I have only missed one conference since then. The following year, I heard Dana Johnson speak for the first time and the way I looked at children and how institutionalization affects them would never be the same.

In the beginning, I was a “lurker” and just tried to absorb the massive amounts of knowledge that was available at each conference, but soon I had to get involved! It didn’t take long  before the people I looked up to, became my friends.  I would call on them with problems or concerns.  They would reach out to me.  Together we were involved in committees, caucuses, and the medical day.  I remember bloopers from the podium, meeting new friends (Rebecca Harris, now Director of Programs & Services at Joint Council, I remember meeting you for the first time in San Antonio), and reconnecting with old ones.

Some things have changes a LOT in two decades.  Now, instead of lines at the pay phones in-between sessions, people are doing emails and talking on their smart phones!  But, the most important things have never changed.  Adoption still requires passionate, knowledgeable people who are willing to give their all, to each other and to the children, to create families. We need each other.  We need to learn.  We need honest advice.  We need new ideas.  We need accountability.  We need to find families for vulnerable children.  We need to support one another in the hardest times we, as agencies, have seen.

Twenty years from now, where will you be?  Some of us will be gone, some of us will be retired, some of us will still be carrying the torch.  We need the Joint Council Symposium now  more than ever.  Agencies, send your young employees, your experienced ones, your passionate, your willing to work long hours.

I, for one, could not continue to do my job without the relationships and knowledge that have come from Joint Council. I hope to see you in the Big Apple…..I will be the one with bells on!

Best regards,

Sue Orban

Avid Joint Council Symposium Go’er

Outreach & Education Coordinator at Children’s Home Society and Family Services





Adoption Nutrition

25 08 2011

What children eat in their earliest months impact them for the rest of their lives.

New research out of the University of Minnesota shows that under-nutrition in adopted kids is not always obvious and may actually worsen if gone untreated during the period of “catch-up growth” post-adoption.  Joint Council, in partnership with SPOON Foundation, is pleased to announce
AdoptionNutrition.org  – a new, comprehensive resource developed to educate parents about the unique nutritional and feeding needs of adopted and foster children.
AdoptionNutrition.orgwas created with expert input from SPOON Foundation’s medical team, led by Dr. Dana Johnson. It offers critical information in a user-friendly format, covering topics such as:

The site also serves as a venue for adoptive and foster families to share their nutrition-related experiences and ask questions of an expert team.
 




Amercian University to host “Stolen Children: Illegal Practices in Intercountry Adoption”

1 04 2011

The UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic at Washington College of Law, American University is presenting Stolen Children: Illegal Practices in Inter-country Adoption and the Need for Reform on April 4, 2011 from 6:30 – 9:00 pm.

Joint Council’s Tom DiFilipo will participate as a panelist and will address both the role of social services in the prevention of abuse and abuse related consequences of adoption closures.

The event is open to the public and includes the following speakers.  We encourage all who are interested in protecting the rights of children and families to attend and participate in this robust discussion.

Keynote Presentation
Norma Cruz
Guatemalan human rights activist
President of the Fundacion Sobrevivientes (Survivors Foundation)

Panel Discussion
Tom DiFilipo
President & CEO
Joint Council on International Children’s Services

Karen Rotabi
Professor of Social Work
Virginia Commonwealth University

David Smolin
Professor
Cumberland School of Law

Alison Dilworth
Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State





Ethiopia: USCIS to Conduct Briefing on Ethiopian Adoption

25 03 2011

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will facilitate a meeting on Ethiopian adoptions for all stakeholders including adoptive families.  The meeting will take place on April 6, 2011.  The USCIS announcement and invitation is available below or here.

It is our understanding that USCIS will have adequate access lines for all who RSVP (as requested in their invitation).  If you intend on participating, please be sure to RSVP so that USCIS can ensure they have sufficient capacity on the conference call.

___________________________________________________

USCIS Stakeholder Meeting on Ethiopian Adoptions

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 @ 1:00 – 4:00pm (EDT)
White Oak Conference Room
20 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20529

The USCIS International Operations Division and the Office of Public Engagement invite you to participate in a stakeholder meeting in which we will brief on some of the findings of the recent interagency site visit to Addis Ababa to review Ethiopian adoptions. Members of the USCIS and the Department of State team that visited Ethiopia will provide the briefing and answer questions about its content.

This engagement will be available to any interested parties by teleconference and webinar with a small number of in-person participants.  Due to space constraints, in-person participation will be by invitation only. We request that in-person invitees send a single representative to attend in-person unless requesting clearance for a second in advance.

To Participate in the Session

All individuals and organizations planning to participate in this engagement must respond to this invitation. Please contact the Office of Public Engagement at public.engagement@dhs.gov by April 3, 2011, and reference the following in the subject line of your email:

  • If you plan to attend in person, please reference “Ethiopia – In Person”
  • If you plan to attend by phone, please reference “Ethiopia – Phone/Webinar”

Please also include your full name and the organization you represent in the body of the email.

Once an RSVP email has been received, USCIS will provide you call-in and webinar details.
We look forward to engaging with you!





Dr. Jane Aronson Open Letter to Pres Clinton

16 03 2011

Dr. Jane Aronson, Founder and CEO of Worldwide Orphans Foundation and Joint Council Board Member, has issued an “open letter” to former President Bill Clinton where she pressed for stronger diplomatic efforts to reverse the Ethiopian government’s recent decision to halt international adoption in the country.

Aronson urged President Clinton to step in as a U.S. statesman to help negotiate between the Ethiopian government and American adoption agencies and parents, as he helped to secure the release of young journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee from North Korea.

A strategic plan for the de-institutionalization of orphaned children and community building is required to ensure the care and well-being of millions of Ethiopian orphans, stressed Aronson. “The Ethiopian government’s concerns must be addressed, but so must the concerns of the waiting parents and most of all, of the children.”

She said WWO and other nongovernmental organizations were prepared to sit down with Ethiopian government officials and large international NGOs like Unicef to assist the government in providing concurrent planning to strengthen adoption and social welfare infrastructures and to fill in the gap to ensure transparency in the adoption process.

The full letter can be found by clicking here.





Ambassador Jacobs Travels to Cambodia and Vietnam

15 03 2011

The US Department of State has issued the following statement regarding Special Advisor for Children’s Issues Ambassador Susan Jacobs visit to Cambodia and Vietnam.

Since joining the Office of Children’s Issues, Ambassador Jacobs has been a tireless advocate traveling to Kyrgyzstan, Guatemala, South Korea and Ethiopia.  Joint Council both appreciates and supports Ambassador Jacobs continuing efforts to work with governments around the world.

The full text of the Department of State’s statement can be found below and here.

 


Special Advisor for Children’s Issues Ambassador Susan Jacobs will visit Cambodia and Vietnam March 16 – 23 for meetings on intercountry adoptions.

In Cambodia, she will meet with government officials and non-governmental adoption stakeholders to discuss how the United States can work together with the Cambodian government to further support Cambodia’s efforts to fully implement a new law on intercountry adoption. Adoption from Cambodia was suspended in 2001.

In Vietnam, Ambassador Jacobs will meet with government officials to discuss Vietnam’s stated goal of acceding to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. The United States welcomes Vietnam’s strong efforts to create a child welfare system and an intercountry adoption process that will meet its obligations under the Convention. The processing of adoptions for Vietnam was suspended in 2008.

For more information about intercountry adoption in Cambodia and Vietnam, visit:
http://adoption.state.gov

For updates on Special Advisor Susan Jacobs’ trip, follow her on twitter: http://twitter.com/childrensissues





China Opens Adoption to Single Women

15 03 2011

The China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) has announced that single women may once again adopt in China beginning today, March 15, 2011.

Single adoptions, which once comprised over a quarter of all intercountry adoptions in China, will now be used to find families for Chinese children with special needs.  The new singles program is specific to finding families for children designated as Special Focus.  This designation usually indicates the child has a special need, is pre-school  or school age and has been on the shared waiting list for more than 60-days.  It can also indicate a non-special needs child of school age who has been on the shared waiting list for more than 60-days.

If you or someone you know, are considering an adoption in China, please contact a Joint Council affiliated Adoption Service Provider to learn more about this new program.

Following is the full text of the CCAA announcement.

____________________________________________

Government departments and adoption agencies in receiving countries, In order to promote special needs child adoption and guarantee the basic interests of the orphaned and disabled children, CCAA decides to accept the adoption applications from female single applicants to adopt according to the requirements listed in this notice, starting from March 15, 2011:

  • Female single applicants are allowed to adopt special focus children listed on the special Needs System of CCAA.
  • One applicant can only adopt one special focus child at a time, with an interval of at least one year between two adoptions.
  • The applicant shall have reached the age of 30 years and are under 50. For applicants over 50, the age difference between the child to be adopted and the applicant shall be no more than 45 years.
  • The applicant shall provide her civil status certificate. Unmarried applicants shall provide certification for being single and non-homosexual; divorced applicants shall provide the divorce certificate of the last marriage; and widowed applicants shall provide the death certificate of their ex-spouse.
  • The reason of being single and attitude towards marriage. Applicants shall have clear indication of willingness to appoint male figures as role models for the adopted child, and welcome male friends to join family gatherings.
  • Applicants shall have received inter-country adoption training and training specifically for special needs child adoption so as to understand fully the physical and psychological needs of special needs children.
  • Detailed nurturing and rehabilitation plan. Applicants shall be qualified personally and socially for caring special needs children and have wide social and family supporting network which can provide assistance any time.
  • Guardians appointed by the applicants shall provide written statement as consent to act as the guardian of the adopted child. X. If the applicant has a stable relationship and lives with a male partner, t he requirements of couple applicants shall be applied.
  • Applicants shall be healthy both physically and mentally according to the requirements by CCAA for prospective adoptive couples.
  • Applicants shall be law abiding with no criminal records, and have good moral quality and conduct
  • The family annual income shall reach $10,000 per family member, including the prospective adoptee and the family net assets value should reach $100,000.
  • The applicant shall have good medical insurance which can cover the medical expense of the adopted child.
  • Applicants shall be experienced in child caring or be occupied in child-related fields, such as doctor, nurse, teacher, child psychological counselor, etc. It’s best that the applicants have already had successful experience in caring for special needs children.
  • The number of children in the applicant’s family under the age of 18 years shall be no more than two, and the youngest one should have reached the age of 6 years old.
  • Applicants shall be fully prepared for adopting a special focus child.
  • Social workers shall provide the following information fully and timely in the home study reports besides family visit interviews: Adoption motive. The decision to adopt a special focus child shall be well-considered. Applicants shall be capable of caring for a special need child and be responsible for the well-being of the child.







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