Joint Council Meets Ambassador Jacobs

8 07 2010

Joint Council’s Tom DiFilipo and Rebecca Harris had the pleasure of meeting Ambassador Susan Jacobs, the newly appointed Special Advisor to the Office of Children’s Issues (OCI) at the Department of State.  The meeting also included Mike Regan, Bill Bistransky and Jill Larson, all with the OCI. (click here for our posting on Secretary Clinton’s appointment of Ambassador Jacobs).

While being ‘on the job’ for only a few weeks, Ambassador Jacobs demonstrated a breadth of knowledge on key issues including the Hague Convention, the Families For Orphans Act and the challenges of ensuring that intercountry adoption serves children not only in concept, but in reality.   She also stated that her position as Consular Chief  in Romania in the mid ’90s, during which she was responsible for intercountry adoption and visited many orphanages, brings a valuable familiarity to the needs of children to her new position.   Ambassador Jacobs also expressed that her desire to work in children’s issues stems from her work with children as a teacher and (day-care provider), camp counselor, baby-sitter, mother and grandmother..

Recognizing that Ambassador Jacobs faces a (relatively steep) learning curve on both intercountry adoption and international child abduction, Joint Council has offered to meet with her to provide Joint Council’s perspective on the many issues, opportunities and barriers facing every child’s right to a permanent and safe family.  In addition, we also offered to conduct quarterly meetings during which specific country issues can be addressed.   Ambassador Jacobs stated her willingness to utilize Joint Council and other NGOs as part of her ongoing efforts at the OCI and to engage on issues of concern to the intercountry adoption community.

Joint Council again extends our congratulation to Ambassador Jacobs on her recent appointment as Special Advisor and looks forward to working with her as we collectively advance the rights of our world’s children.

Tom DiFilipo

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