ADVOCACY: the act of pleading or arguing in favor of a cause, idea or policy.
A child’s right to live in a safe, permanent and loving family is a no-brainer, right? Wrong! Believe it or not, for many governments and non-profits family-life is not considered a key indicator to a child’s well-being. Family-life is not even included in the United Nations Millennium Goals nor is it one of UNICEF’s five focus areas. Much is done to ensure children physically survive however too little is done to ensure that they don’t die the type of death that comes from living without a safe and life-long family.
A large part of what we do is to advocate for laws, policies and programs that makes family-life not only a legal right, but a reality for the children of our world. Here are just a few examples of how we have worked to remove barriers, affect change and help over 25,000 children become part of a permanent family.
Campaigns & Initiatives Changing the Future Global Awareness Mobilizing Society International Relations
Guatemala 5000 (2007-current)
A multi-year campaign which resulted in the adoption of over 4,000 children. By leading the effort to secure a ‘grandfather’ clause into the 2007 Guatemalan adoption legislation, children were permitted to be adopted rather than languish in orphanages. With over 160 children now waiting over 4 years, our efforts to end their isolation continue. FFFFFFFF Donate to the Guatemala 5000
The Campaign for Haitian Orphans (2007-current)
Within hours of the earthquake in 2010, we joined forces with other non-profits and the US Department of Homeland Security in crafting and implementing a Humanitarian Parole program which moved 1,100 children out of harm’s way and into their adoptive families. Through partnerships with our members and countless organizations and volunteers, our campaign for Haiti, which began in 2007, provided aid and assistance to over 20,000 Haitian orphans. FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF Donate to the Campaign for Haitian Orphans
The Kyrgyz 65 (2008-current)
65 children were about to be adopted in 2008 when the unexpected suspension of all adoptions ended their chance to be united with their adoptive parents. For the past two years we have partnered with the waiting families, traveled to Kyrgyzstan, met with the Kyrgyz Parliament, Ambassador, UNICEF and others all with a goal of lifting the suspension for the 65 children and for so many others who wait alone in Kyrgyz orphanages. FFFFFFFFFFFFF Donate to The Kyrgyz 65
Build Families, Not Barriers (2010)
In 2010, the U.S. Center for Disease Control implemented an unnecessary barrier between children in need and families willing and able to adopt them. We teamed with a coalition of medical professionals and child advocates and helped reverse the overly restrictive policy. The reversal helps approximately 260 join their adoptive family each year.
P.A.P 10,000 (2009)
Through the P.A.P. 10,000 campaign close to 11,000 children were assured that their adoptions would continue without the undue delay or possibility of cancellation imposed by new U.S. regulations. By mobilizing over 17,000 individuals and over 100 organizations, the regulations were amended and the adoptions stayed on track.
A Child’s Right (2008-current)
Prior to the U.S. government’s decision in 2008 to not renew the adoption agreement with Vietnam and continuing through today, our Child’s Right campaign has involved 147 Congressional offices, thousands of concerned individuals and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. Together we hosted a Vietnam Summit, developed standards for Vietnamese adoptions, led numerous delegations to Vietnam and hosted a Vietnamese delegation in Washington, DC – all with a goal of re-starting adoption between the U.S. and Vietnam. If all goes according to plan, Vietnamese children could have adoption available to them sometime in 2011.
The Nepal Initiative (2007)
This initiative helped 460 Nepalese children complete their adoption. These children were in the process of being adopted by French, Canadian, Italian and Spanish families when a suspension all but ended the adoptions. Through a collaborative effort we worked with adoption service providers and adoptive families to advocate with the Nepal government for the completion of the in-process adoptions.
Families For Orphans (2007-current)
We Are The Truth Campaign (2010)
As part of its Global Awareness Initiative which was initiated in 2005, Joint Council launched two new global awareness campaigns in 2010. The We Are The Truth and the I Am The Answer campaigns brought worldwide attention to those children around the world languishing in institutions or on the streets, as well as the governmental policies and public barriers surrounding those children. The We Are The Truth campaign was prompted by a U.S. mother’s decision to send her seven-year- old adopted son, Artyem Saviliev, back to Russia alone with a note saying she didn’t want him. This event caused widespread public protest in both countries, with Russia threatening to suspend all adoptions to the United States. In response, Joint Council launched the We Are The Truth campaign, which called for collective action from adoptive parents and family members, child welfare professionals, and child advocates. Together the adoption community brought awareness to the successes of intercountry adoption. Hundreds shared stories about their families. Over 25,000 individuals signed a letter to be given to President Medvedev and President Obama to bring attention to the issue. The campaign gave the government and public a fuller sense of the truth. All adoptive families have real struggles, but also triumphs. The Campaign ensured that children continued to receive the right to a safe, permanent, and loving family. Watch a video from the campaign by clicking here.
I Am The Answer (2010)
The I Am The Answer campaign, also known as the 30-Day Challenge, was an ongoing initiative throughout the month of November as part of National Adoption Month. For each day of the month, Joint Council posted the stories of both an adopted child and a non-adopted child on its Be the Answer blog . These stories illustrated both the successes and misfortunes of orphaned children as well as the achievements and misgivings of the orphan care and adoption programs. In addition to these daily stories, Joint Council assigned a daily task to the blog readers with the goal of raising awareness of those children still waiting for permanent and loving families.
In the summer of 2009, Joint Council expanded its global presence by utilizing social networking outlets such as Facebook (link to http://www.facebook.com/JointCouncil), YouTube (link to http://www.youtube.com/user/JointCouncilBTA), and Twitter (link to http://twitter.com/#!/JointCouncil). In 2010, we significantly expanded our use of these outlets resulting in an unprecedented amount of communication between Joint Council and the global community. Further, we continued our much loved monthly e-newsletter, Mbali’s Message and expanded the individuals who receive it to over 60,000.
Followers of Joint Council on Twitter (@JointCouncil) receive up-to-the-minute updates about life at Joint Council, orphan care, the permanency community, and those involved in ensuring ethical and safe intercountry adoptions. By far the most extensive social networking tool for Joint Council is Facebook. Over the course of 2010, our total fan base reached 2,441 with over 122,511 views throughout the year. In addition to providing a forum for discussions (posted daily by Joint Council interns and staff), Facebook has allowed Joint Council to run productive contests, fundraisers, and Calls to Action, while expanding our voice and advocacy efforts.
Due in part to our work in Haiti following the earthquake and our We Are The Truth Campaign, Joint Council’s media presence expanded significantly in 2010. Joint Council presented at such renowned institutions as NPR, CNN, and BBC. In 2010, Joint Council received over 75,000 imprints in local, national, and international media.
Change for Children Campaign