Russia: Making Progress, Thanks to You

12 12 2011

In 2010, you sprang into action when Joint Council asked you to show your support of Russian adoptions through our We Are The Truth campaign. Thank you for your support!

What a difference a year makes. This past July, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov signed a bilateral adoptions agreement that will strengthen procedural safeguards in adoptions between our countries.

Can we say that your participation, your calls for change and your support of our efforts on behalf of Russian children in need of a family made that agreement happen? Maybe not directly, or individually, but together we made a BIG difference. Your voice gave strength to our work and thanks to people like you, Russian adoptions are back on track.

This year also brought a celebration of the achievements of one very talented Russian adoptee, Tatyana McFadden. Tatyana, who faced multiple health challenges as a child and is a wheelchair user as a result of late-diagnosed spina bifida, was nominated for an ESPY Award this spring! We are all so proud of Tatyana. She truly represents the resiliancey and strength of the human spirit, even when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds.

And that’s what it’s all about for these orphaned children — beating the odds.

You’ve helped us before and now we need your help again. Please make a tax-deductible donation to Joint Council today. Your donation will allow us to continue working with the Russian Federation, the United States government, and adoption advocates everywhere, to ensure that Russian – U.S. adoptions continue well into the future.

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Guatemala – Broken Promises, Unfulfilled Dreams

12 12 2011

This year has been another difficult one for the more than 300 children who are still trapped in the broken system that has halted intercountry adoptions in Guatemala. Only 32 adoptions of Guatemalan children by families in the United States were completed in the past year. Only 32 more children are now spending their holidays in the arms of their new loving family. Clearly, our work in Guatemala is far from done.

But the year has had some bright spots. This year Sen. Landrieu made two trips to Guatemala to advocate for children and potential adoptive families, and she continues to champion orphans across the globe. In October, reason.tv released a documentary that focused on elimination of intercountry adoption in Guatemala in a way not often discussed in the media. The documentary can be viewed on our website.

Much like the scrutiny and attention by the international community exposed the corruption of the prior system, this same community must now refocus their attention to bring to light Guatemala’s ineffective implementation of the Hague Convention and its subsequent impact on institutionalized children and Guatemalan families.  Adoption reform in Guatemala has not resulted in the prosecution of criminals, nor has it served the best interest of children. What it has done is force thousands of children into orphanages, onto the streets, or even worse.

Joint Council needs your help to continue advocating for the ethical and legal finalization of all adoptions initiated prior to the closure of intercountry adoption in Guatemala, and for the formation of services that are desperately needed to ensure that children retain their right to a family.  Please help us in our efforts to call on all stakeholders who previously asked for reforms to move with speed in order to provide these much needed services.

 





Vietnam Adopts Hague Convention – and You Helped!

12 12 2011

Because of your involvement with Joint Council’s efforts on behalf of Vietnamese children in need of a family, we wanted to make sure you knew that the U.S. State Department has announced that Vietnam has ratified the Hague Adoption Convention, and that it will go into force beginning February 1, 2012.

Under U.S. law, the United States Central Authority (USCA) must now evaluate whether procedures leading to the adoption of a child in Vietnam conform to the standards established by the Convention and the U.S. Intercountry Adoption Act (IAA).  While this is a very positive development, it certainly has been a long time in coming and there is still much work to be done before adoptions between the U.S. and Vietnam resume. We hope you will continue to support us in this extended campaign.

We wish to thank all of you for participating in our Child’s Right campaign, which involved 147 Congressional offices, thousands of concerned individuals like you and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute — all with a goal of re-starting adoption between the U.S. and Vietnam.  Together we hosted a Vietnam Summit, developed standards for Vietnamese adoptions, led numerous delegations to Vietnam and hosted a Vietnamese delegation in Washington, DC. It is thanks to your dedication that Vietnamese children are so much closer to having adoption available to them in 2011.

Joint Council needs your support to continue our work on behalf of vulnerable children throughout the world. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Joint Council this holiday season.

On behalf of everyone at Joint Council, thank you again for your support and we hope you have a wonderful holiday season.





A Picture Perfect Moment Photo Contest- Help Us Choose the Winners!

6 12 2011


We received over a hundred beautiful pictures for our 2011 A Picture Perfect Moment Photo Contest. Help us choose the winners from our top 14! Select one of the picture below and cast your vote.  Please only vote once! Make sure to vote by 11:59 PM EST on December 18th, 2011! Winners will receive gift cards from national companies.

Winners will be announced the week of December 19th, 2011.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Please note: If Joint Council suspects inappropriate behavior on the part of an individual regarding voting, Joint Council reserves the right to disqualify the individual’s votes and/or pictures.





Announcing Joint Council’s 4th Annual National Adoption Month Photo Contest!

1 11 2011

Is there a special child or children in your life? Do you have a picture of them lying around the home that you just love? Share it with us in honor of National Adoption Month for the chance to win a gift card to a national company!

Our 4th annual National Adoption Month Photo Contest will be open for submissions November 1st- November 30, 2011. We are looking for beautiful, inspiring photos of all types of children- children in orphanages, foster homes, or adoptive families, engaged in all types of activities- children at play, in reflection, or just being loved. Click here to learn more about the contest.




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.





Raising Awareness, Affecting Change

16 08 2011

Last week we distributed an Executive Report to Joint Council Members which forecasts the continued suffering of children in need of a safe and permanent family. If current policies are not changed, in the next ten years over 250,000 children will be denied their basic human right to a family.

On August 26th, the folks over at Both Ends Burning will bring much needed attention to this tragedy through their Step Forward for Orphans March. The march will highlight the needs and suffering of children living without parental care and the impact the crash of intercountry is having on them.

The march from the National Mall to the Capital is intended to raise awareness, motivate public action and most importantly, to enable more children to live in permanent, safe and loving families.

For more information on the March or to learn how to participate, see the Both Ends Burning Invitation Video or Events Page.








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