Child Protection and Haiti
Emergencies should not mean relaxing child protection measures!
There is a New York Times article today that says how the United States relaxed its child protection laws to accommodate adoptions from Haiti after the January earthquake. You can read the article here.
First let me say – the intent is good. However, our experience in cbm is that children are so vulnerable that there is never a time to relax these types of protections. We did see in Haiti desperate parents trying to give children away. We did see some, maybe with the best of intentions, trying to smuggle children out of Haiti. We also know that providing support to families to keep children and be a family is the best way to offer support. There are provisions to ensure that adoptions can take place and be appropriate. An emergency is not the time to relax these provisions.
One of the striking statistics is that children with a disability are more than twice as likely to be physically and sexually abused. That is why Hope and Healing has a strong Child Protection policy. In fact, one of the conditions of partnering with Hope and Healing is to have a strong Child Protection policy in place.