Haiti: International Relations Initiative

August 6, 2008

Joint Council led a delegation to Haiti the week of July 28, 2008. During meetings with orphanage and crèche directors, IBESR, UNICEF, and U.S. Consular Offices, the Joint Council delegation advocated for implementation of a new child protection law and a reduction in adoption processing timelines.

Currently, adoption processing times regularly exceed 18 months and in some cases exceed 24 months. Recognizing that such extended timelines are not in the best interest of children, Joint Council is seeking support from all stakeholders in reducing the timeline to less than 12 months.

Joint Council supports this draft law as it provides added protections to children including the elimination of independent adoptions and requires registration of orphanages, crèches and service providers. With a new Prime Minister appointed last week and the anticipated appointment of a new cabinet of Ministers, we are hopeful that the new Haitian government will act quickly in addressing the needs of its children.

Many stakeholders continue to express concerns regarding the current level of practices in the Haitian child welfare system including intercountry adoption. To address these concerns and to prevent potential abuses, Joint Council is working with orphanages, crèches, UNICEF and others to effectively advocate for the highest standard of practice.

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