Sunday, November 20, 2011

Prescription for the Orphan Crisis

Dr. Jane Aronson's prescription for the orphan crisis, published at CNN, is not adoption:
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.

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?
I'll say it again: The only way to solve the orphan crisis is to prevent children from becoming orphans in the first place.


Anonymous said...

there will always be orphans. it's an option for parents who do not parent their children. it's a better option than some alternatives.

Leah said...

Yes! I absolutely agree with this. Unfortunately in places like Eastern Europe there is such stigma surrounding persons with disabilities and so little resources for parenting a disabled child that I fear change will be a long time coming...

Leah said...

I meant that I agreed with your post, Malinda, not Anonymous. Like all symptoms of social inequality, I truly believe that the problem of unwanted children can be solved through aggressive, long-term institutional change. For now, for some (SOME!) of these kids, specifically the mentally and physically disabled, adoption is unfortunately the best option available.

LilySea said...

Hear, hear, Malinda!

Anon: there may always be orphans, but that doesn't mean people who care about children and families shouldn't be working to minimize the problem.