Thursday, January 21, 2010

HAITI RUMOR CONTROL: Need for Foster Care

In the past few days PEAR has become aware of an increase in organizations and individuals requesting to foster children coming to the US on Humanitarian Parole from Haiti. Some organizations are fundraising and putting much effort into preparing to foster Haitian children. The situation that we blogged about about in Indiana yesterday is a prime example.

It is hard to look at the situation in Haiti and not remember how each state generously took in displaced families after Hurricane Katrina. While it is understandable that many local groups and governments have begun to think about Haiti and its orphans in this manner, under the current Humanitarian Parole guidelines for Haitian children, it is highly unlikely that children coming to the US will be in need of foster homes.

There are two categories of children listed in the guidelines published January 18. Most of the children in Category 1 will be coming to their adoptive parents on Immigrant adoption visas. The remainder of Category 1 and Category 2 children will travel on Humanitarian Parole visas and will be going to their waiting adoptive families as well. While it may be likely that these children will need temporary "foster" care of a day or two while they wait for their adopting family to pick them up, long term care or foster care to adoption placements will be extremely rare. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) already has a protocol and procedure in place to safely care for the children awaiting the arrival and sponsorship clearance of their adopting families.

The situation in Pennsylvania where Governor Rendell arranged to bring 7 children to Pennsylvania who had not been legally relinquished by their families and had not yet been referred to an adoptive family is extremely rare and not within the guidelines. Organizations and individuals should not rely on this case as a basis to believe this will happen again.

Currently in Haiti there are many NGOs working on providing care to orphaned and displaced children, searching for and reuniting families, providing shelter, food, clothing, and trauma counseling for children. According to information provided by the DOS, DHS and DHHS today, UNICEF is coordinating efforts to provide safe locations for all displaced and orphaned children in Haiti. It would be best for these children and organizations if efforts were directed to assist in providing for the needs of displaced and orphaned children in Haiti.

Individuals and organizations looking to help can read about efforts at the following organizations:

UNICEF, Haiti: proving children in Port au Prince with clean water, food, medicine, shelter, and protection. Identifying displaced children and providing a place where they can get support and can be reunited with family who may be desperately looking for them. More information, please click here: UNICEF

Save the Children, Haiti: The agency, with offices in Port-au-Prince, is racing to provide immediate lifesaving assistance, such as food, water, shelter and Child Friendly Spaces. They are now teaming up with UNICEF to better achieve their joint goals. More information please click here: STC

SOS Childrens Villages, Haiti: The emergency relief program of SOS Children's Villages in Haiti includes the following actions: Relief supplies for children and families(food, medicine clothing, shelter material etc.);Temporary care for unaccompanied children in our two SOS Children's Villages in Santo and Cap Haitien and other SOS facilities e.g. the SOS School in Santo; Psychosocial support for traumatised children and their families; Reunification programmes for unaccompanied children; Help families rebuild their houses and their lives with comprehensive social programmes (counselling, vocational training, income generating etc.); Help communities rebuild infrastructure e.g. schools. More informationplease click here: SOS

For individuals and organizations looking for a way to assist families in the process of bringing home children, please consider assisting with flights to Miami for both adoptive families and their children. Anyone wishing to provide transportation for children out of Haiti or for prospective adoptive parents into Miami, please contact PEAR and we will post your information on our blog (use email address:

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

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