World Vision statement on child adoption from Haiti

    
    Aid organization urges temporary moratorium on newly instigated adoptions
       Protecting, tracing and reuniting children with relatives must
                               be first focus
    

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Jan. 20 /CNW/ - World Vision warns that the generous impulse to help Haitian children displaced by last week's massive earthquake may lead to rushed adoptions that inadvertently separate families or risk a lapse in child protection, with unintended consequences.

The organization notes that its concern is not for adoptions that are already in process. Its call applies only to new adoptions of children presumed to be orphaned by last week's deadly earthquake.

"Hearing about the specific needs of children often sparks a desire to adopt those who seem to have lost their families," said Dave Toycen, president and CEO of World Vision Canada. "However, early in a crisis, it is better for children to be protected while remaining in their home countries until the locations of their family members can be confirmed and adoption possibilities explored within their own communities."

"International adoption may be the best solution for a few children, but it is too early to be certain in the first weeks of a crisis," said Toycen.

The following is a statement today from World Vision and other aid agencies:

"World Vision calls on the Government of Haiti to introduce a temporary moratorium on new adoptions of children within and outside Haiti during this emergency phase. It is vital that organizations and authorities responding to the crisis prioritize child protection and family reunification and that they ensure their actions do not inadvertently encourage family separation.

In the outset of crises like natural disasters, children are always the most vulnerable. Because of separation from their families, their safety and security is of paramount concern. The extreme poverty in Haiti puts many children there at risk of exploitation and abuse, and the separation from families or primary caregivers only increases this vulnerability.

While World Vision has already begun to identify lost children and establish temporary safe refuge for them there, our concern is that this migration of separated children is likely to increase over coming days and weeks as insecurity worsens.

We call for this temporary moratorium to be in place until children can be properly identified, the family tracing process completed, and legal protection measures taken. This will lessen the risk of children being exploited, trafficked and permanently separated from their families.

As early recovery activities proceed, efforts also should be made to develop a policy providing clear guidelines on how to respond to the needs of separated and unaccompanied children in the medium to longer term, drawing on recently adopted international guidelines for children at risk."

    
    -   World Vision donors support more than 52,000 children in Haiti,
        including more than 10,800 children sponsored by Canadians.
    -   Canadians have donated more than $9 million for World Vision's work
        in Haiti. For more information, please visit worldvision.ca or call
        1-800-268-5528.
    -   World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy
        organization dedicated to working with children, families and
        communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves
        all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.
    

SOURCE World Vision Canada

For further information: For further information: To interview World Vision staff or for more information or visuals, please contact: Yoko Kobayashi, (905) 565-6200 ext. 2151, (416) 671-0086 (cell), yoko_kobayashi@worldvision.ca; Britt Hamilton, (905) 565-6200 ext. 3973, (416) 419-1321 (cell), britt_hamilton@worldvision.ca


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