The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child states that every child has a right to safety, health and an education, as well as the right to participate fully in family, cultural and social life. The U.S. and the international community must find permanent solutions to address the international orphan crisis. Effective and innovative strategies need to be implemented and more resources must be devoted to preventing child abandonment and helping families to remain intact or to be reunified and reintegrated.I'll say it again: The only way to solve the orphan crisis is to prevent children from becoming orphans in the first place.
Investment in child welfare systems with trained social workers capable of case management in impoverished countries must be the highest priority to strengthen and support families and communities. Families need economic opportunities to make a viable living and social services to help guide them out of poverty. Access to medical care and psychosocial services and universal, free education must be available for all children and their families.
Without such support services, families are more likely to be torn apart by poverty and become victims of depression and hopelessness, which continues the cycle of relinquishment and abandonment. We must figure out how families and communities survive poverty and adversity. What are the intrinsic cultural mechanisms that work in one country and not in another?
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