JOINT COUNCIL AND THE MEAD JOHNSON NUTRITION FOUNDATION WORK TOGETHER TO HELP VULNERABLE CHILDREN WORLDWIDE

20 09 2011


Alexandria, Va, September 20, 2011 – Recognizing that proper nutrition is critical to every child’s growth and development, The Joint Council on International Children’s Services and the Mead Johnson Nutrition Foundation today announced the launch of a program dedicated to improving nutritional care for vulnerable children living without parental care around the world.

Globally, millions of children live without parental care, with most living in orphanages, group homes and institutions.  While caregivers work diligently to attend to the needs of these children, science-based training and resources on nutrition and feeding practices to help identify nutrition deficiencies are often unavailable.

Through the new program, called A Child’s Best Start, Joint Council and Mead Johnson are leading an initiative to identify best practices for nutritional care among this vulnerable population of children. The program will provide critical nutrition information to individual caregivers through training on the ground in facilities located everywhere from major cities like Shanghaito small towns in rural Mexico.

A Child’s Best Start will support research, establish a free online library of information and resources, implement in-language training programs, and provide support to the individual organizations that care for vulnerable children. The program will launch the online library later this year and start the training pilot program in the first country, China, in the first half of 2012.

Mead Johnson’s nutrition scientists will lend their expertise to materials development, and its offices and employees in countries around the world will help individual orphanages and group homes through programs based on local needs.

“Children living in orphanages and group homes often do not receive the strong nutritional foundation they need in order to grow and flourish.” said Tom DiFilipo, president and chief executive officer of Joint Council. “Our goal through this partnership with the Mead Johnson Nutrition Foundation, is to change that.  We believe A Child’s Best Start is uniquely positioned to serve these vulnerable children by identifying their specific nutritional needs, introducing science based interventions, marshaling the resources of our partner-members and mobilizing local volunteer care givers.”

To get the program underway, Joint Council and Mead Johnson have formed a cooperative agreement with the the SPOON Foundation, a member of the Joint Council network which focuses its efforts on orphan nutrition. Together, the groups established the Global Nutrition Working Group of leading authorities on nutrition and medical care for vulnerable children and children living without parental care, to provide guidance on the development of program materials.

“One way we fulfill our corporate mission to nourish the world’s children for the best start in life is by giving back to and helping to improve the communities where we live, work and operate as a business,” said Stephen W. Golsby, Mead Johnson Nutrition’s president and chief executive officer. “A Child’s Best Start leverages Mead Johnson’s deep scientific expertise and understanding of pediatric nutrition and builds on our century-long heritage of philanthropy and community involvement.  This program will make a real impact on the lives of children, and we are proud to be a founding member of this ambitious effort.”

About Joint Council for International Children’s Services

Joint Council helps vulnerable children living without parental care by advocating on their behalf, marshaling the resources they need, educating those who serve them and mobilizing those who care. Joint Council and its partner organizations provided services to over 2.1 million children and families each year. For more information, go to www.jointcouncil.org/.

About Mead Johnson Nutrition Company

Mead Johnson, a global leader in pediatric nutrition, develops, manufactures, markets and distributes more than 70 products in over 50 countries worldwide. The company’s mission is to nourish the world’s children for the best start in life. The Mead Johnson name has been associated with science-based pediatric nutrition products for over 100 years. The company’s “Enfa” family of brands, including Enfamil® infant formula, is the world’s leading brand franchise in pediatric nutrition. For more information, go to www.meadjohnson.com.


The above map represents the countries for A Child’s Best Start. The countries highlighted in dark green are those that the program will target during year one, and the countries highlighted in light green are those that will roll out subsequently.





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.
 




Ethiopia: US Dept of State Adoption Notice – Delays Expected

5 04 2011

The Department of State has published a Notice on Ethiopian Adoptions: Significant delays remain likely for cases presented to Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs after March 8, 2011. The content of the notice is supported by Joint Council’s understanding of the current status of intercountry adoption in Ethiopia.

The highlights of the notice are;

• Adoption cases presented to the Federal Court of First Instance prior to March 8, 2011 will be processed expeditiously.

• Cases presented to the Court after March 8 will be processed in a more deliberate manner. MOWYCA will process these cases at a rate of approximately 5 per day.

• Prospective adoptive parents who did not reach the court summons stage before March 8, 2011, should expect significant delays in the progression of their paperwork through the Government of Ethiopia.

Click here for the full text of the alert.

 





Ethiopia Meeting & Conference Call: Did You RSVP?

5 04 2011

Please note that if you are intending to participate in tomorrow’s (April 6th) USCIS meeting and conference call regarding Ethiopia, you must RSVP for each person calling in (see below info on registering). USCIS’s dial-in capacity is being limited to only those who have sent their RSVP.

Joint Council strongly urges everyone who is interested in Ethiopian adoptions, the protection of children and families and our collective roles in ensuring ethical adoption remains a viable option for children, to participate in the call tomorrow.

To RSVP, send an email to public.engagement@dhs.gov and include “Ethiopia – Phone/Webinar” in the subject line.

To read the full announcement and invitation, please click here.

We look forward to your participation during tomorrow’s call.

 





Human Rights Fellowship at Joint Council

3 04 2011

Through a collaborative effort with the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, we are pleased to announce Onur Yilmaz as Joint Council’s Legislative Fellow beginning on April 10th.

Onur is a founding Board Member of Gündem: Çocuk! (Agenda: Child!), a Turkish non-profit organization that advocates for children’s rights and works towards the universal adoption and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Onur received his Master’s in Human Rights at Hacettepe University Institute of Social Sciences in Ankara, Turkey, where he is currently a Doctoral candidate.

Onur is one of thirteen accomplished and influential professionals working in the Turkish parliament, government ministries, local government offices, and civil society groups chosen to participate in a prestigious exchange program meant to promote greater citizen engagement in the legislative process. These legislative fellows are a part of a wider State Department-funded program which will sponsor Turkish MPs visiting the U.S. in the fall, as well as reciprocal visits by U.S. fellows to Turkey this summer and in Spring 2012.

Joint Council is very honored at being selected to participate in this program. We look forward to Onur’s participation in Joint Council’s work, to assist him in developing his skills and to benefit from his work in children’s rights.





Joint Council 2011 Service Award Honorees

2 04 2011

Each year, Joint Council publicly recognizes four individuals who have demonstrated the highest level of service to children and families.  Whether they are volunteers, professionals or public servants, they have served as examples to us all.   We will continue this tradition of honoring excellence by presenting these prestigious awards to the following individuals at our annual Conference & Medical Institute in New York City on April 11th and 12th. Please join us in congratulating our honorees and in recognizing their outstanding service to children and families.

Karen Eckert Award for Government Service to Children

Bill Bistransky
U.S. Department of State
In recognition of his untiring service during the Haiti Crisis of 2010, for his leadership of the Adoption Unit, Department of State, Office of Children’s Issues; for his recognition that adoptions are not cases, but are children with dreams, hopes and love; for demonstrating that laws, regulations and rules can be used to not only govern but to truly serve families and children; for his integral role in negotiating a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Russia; for giving meaning to the words ‘public servant’ and for his continuing efforts to ensure that all children live, grow and flourish in a safe, permanent and loving family.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Susan Soon-Keum Cox
Holt International
In recognition of a lifetime of service to children and families, for her leadership in bringing the exceptional value, perspective, knowledge and life experience of the adult adoptee to the field of intercountry adoption; for her uncompromised ethics and standards; for her leadership at Holt International, Joint Council and numerous other organizations; for her willingness, skill and success in the public arena; for her diplomacy around the world; and for a lifetime of protecting and advocating for the right of every child to a safe, permanent and loving family.

Maureen Evans Award for Outstanding Service to Children and Families

Chuck Johnson
National Council For Adoption
In recognition of his selfless and untiring service to ensure that Russian orphans retain their right to a family through intercountry adoption;, for his skilled diplomacy in leading our community; for his selfless approach and invaluable knowledge; and for his continuing efforts in “protecting and advocating for the right of every Russian child to a safe, permanent and loving family.”

Outstanding Child Advocate

Kyrgyz Waiting Families
Represented by Pamela Allen, Ann Bates, Suzanne Boutilier, Teresa Edwards, and Lisa Brotherton

In recognition of a dedication to the rights of Kyrgyz children in a way that inspires us all; for leading us in what we hope is a brighter tomorrow for the children of Kyrgyzstan; for an unwavering commitment to the children you hope to adopt; for personal sacrifice that is extraordinary; and for advocacy that is exemplary.





Christian Alliance Adoption Summit on May 12-13

2 04 2011

The Christian Alliance for Orphans will hold their seventh orphan summit, SUMMIT VII, on May 12-13, 2011 in Louisville, KY.

Tom DiFilipo along with Kathleen Strottman, Executive Director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and Chuck Johnson of the National Council For Adoption, are the scheduled luncheon presenters on the state of intercountry adoption. While we have attended six of the seven Summits, this is the first year that we will support the SUMMIT by presenting. We greatly appreciate the work of the Christian Alliance for Orphans and value our growing collaborations.

Details on SUMMIT VII including registration, can be found at any of the following links: Summit Events, Special Features, and Sessions.

We look forward to seeing you at the Joint Council Conference and Medical Institute on April 11-13 (click here for details or to register) and at SUMMIT VII.





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.








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