WASHINGTON — Imagine growing up without a mother, without a father, without a bed or even a home. This is a situation that over 200 million children around the world face daily. These children are orphans; they have no one to guide them, no one to raise them, no one to be their family. These are children that the United States can help.
Of the various issues that U.S. foreign policy supports, there is still a lack of any sort of legislation and significant funds to aid children in need of families. The Children in Families First foundation, or CHIFF, is striving to change this. The foundation is petitioning that the $2 billion that the U.S. currently spends on children abroad be directed to better assist orphaned children.
The foundation’s main purpose is passing the Children in Family First Act, S. 2475 in the Senate and H.R. 4143 in the House. This act would serve to implement a couple of important changes, including that adoptions among different countries be placed under the responsibility of U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services. This would simplify the adoption process and would present the process as one that is much quicker and far less daunting to those interested in adopting abroad.
The Children in Family First Act would also focus U.S. foreign aid on assisting these orphans around the world, especially in the countries most in need. Child welfare would also become a much higher priority. Lastly this act will solidify CHIFF as a bureau in the Department of State in order to ensure there is always an eye kept on the welfare of orphaned children internationally.
Children without a family often have a very low likelihood of success. Without parents to raise them, many perform very poorly in school – either dropping out or never attending school – they become involved in crime, and are at a much higher risk of human trafficking and sexual abuse.
Science has also proven that being raised in an institution rather than by a parent can significantly damage an individual’s brain due to a lack of dependable emotional interaction.
Unfortunately, the bill introduced just about a year ago has only a nine percent chance of actually being enacted. However, CHIFF has certainly brought awareness to the issue at hand. One can only hope that this type of involvement and care for the children of the world will continue and that awareness will increase as others spread the word and advocate for these orphaned children.
You can also call your congressional leaders in support of The Children in Family First Act here.
– Kathleen Lee