UNICEF estimates that 490,000 children are orphans in Haiti. This translates to 6% of Haiti's total population.
In 2004, at the height of intercountry adoptions into the U.S., over 350 children were served through intercountry adoption. Thousands more including local Haitian communities were served by family preservation and other permanency services.
However, over the past three years the processing of adoptions in Haiti has slowed to a crawl. Abandoned children now endure 2 or more years of debilitating effects on their health, development and emotional well-being while awaiting the completion of their adoption.
The delays imposed over the past three years are largely the result of the Haitian government's implementation of an inadequate child welfare and protection law. This law provides insufficient child protections and does not reflect the realities of current Haitian society. While enforcement of current laws are generally seen a positive, this particular law is significantly dated and does not serve the best interest of children in need of a permanent family.
The obvious solution to the crisis is the passage and implementation of a new adoption and child protection law. Such a law has been drafted, introduced into the Haitian National Assembly and supported by the Joint Council on International Children's Services, the U.S. government, the French government and UNICEF.
1) Urge all Members of the U.S. Congress to encourage the Haitian government to pass the new Adoption and Child Protection Law.
2) Urge all Members of the U.S. Congress to support Haitian Presidential Dispensation of adoptions currently in progress.
3) Urge all Members of the U.S. Congress to support the Haitian law and Presidential Dispensation by adding their signature to the statement sponsored by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Senator Sam Brownback, which will be delivered to the Haitian government.