US Dept of State Announcement: Ethiopia

17 03 2011

The following announcement was issued by the U.S. Dept of State, Office of Children’s Issues on March 16, 2011.  It can also be found on their website.

U.S. Department of State, Office of Children’s Issues, Adoption Division hosted a conference call for Adoption Service Providers on March 11, 2011 at 10:45 am to discuss recent announcements made by the Ethiopian Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs (MOWCYA). Below is a summary of information presented on the call.

As was stated in the March 9, 2011 Adoption Alert, the Department of State received information on the announcement made by the MOWCYA regarding the planned reduction in workload processing.

  • MOWCYA planned to implement a reduction of case processing from approximately 50 cases reviewed per day to no more than 5 cases reviewed per day.
  • MOWCYA has stated that this reduction is to improve screening of adoption cases while also devoting existing resources to other priorities on vulnerable children.
  • MOWCYA reviews each adoption case at two points in the process: after the match with prospective adoptive parents and after the final court decree to approve issuance of new birth certificate and passport for child.
  • MOWCYA has not announced any implementation guidelines on how reduction in processing will affect each stage of the process
  • If only 5 cases are reviewed per day, delays could be significant. Calculations based on rough estimates of cases in process (around 1000) indicate delays of one year or more.
  • Department of State defines ‘cases in process’ as those whose dossier has been accepted up to those cases that have received the final letter approving issuance of passport and birth certificate.
  • We are working on getting more details on implementation guidelines.

Since announcement, the Department of State has heard many rumors, but none have been substantiated.  The U.S. Embassy can confirm that the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs has shuffled the portfolios of key adoption personnel.  The Embassy has not been able to confirm how this reorganization may affect the processing of cases through the ministry.

Additionally, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa is discussing the possibility of developing a consolidated assistance proposal to MOWCYA to find out what the resource needs are and find what assistance can be given to allow MOWCYA to accomplish their goals.

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:

For updates on Special Advisor Susan Jacobs’ trip, follow her on twitter:

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

Secretary Clinton Appoints Special Advisor

7 07 2010

Secretary of State Clinton has appointed Ambassador Susan Jacobs as Special Advisor  to the Office of Children’s Issues (the office responsible for intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction).   The Secretary’s announcement can be found below.

We are very encouraged by the creation of the position of Special Advisor and the selection of Ambassador Jacobs.   Both international parental child abduction and intercountry adoption are important to ensuring that children live Read the rest of this entry »

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