Friday, December 11, 2009

Hopeful News for Family Preservation!!

Just in time for the holidays, I have something hopeful to share with you thanks to Neils at Pound Puppy Legacy (PPL) who broke this story about the Joint Council on International Children's Services (JCICS).

Joint Council works to ensure that orphaned and vulnerable children can live, grow, and flourish in a family.  Advocating for high standards, ethical practices, and child-centric policies, Joint Council educates governments, professionals and families all with a goal of finding a safe, permanent, and loving family for every child.

Joint Council on International Childrens Services - Stakeholder initiative

On December 3, 2009, the Joint Council on International Children's Services (JCICS) presented to its members a proposal to change the organization. It seems, if nothing changes, JCICS will have to close is doors somewhere in the year 2010.  [Let us all PRAY!!!]

The proposed plan is confidential and intended for JCICS members only, but was leaked to the internet earlier today. Since it contains interesting information about the workings of JCICS, we decided to republish it on PPL's website.

The document establishes two distinct problems JCICS is facing. First of all the trade association of adoption service providers is in dire straights and needs to seriously cut back its activities to remain financially sustainable. The document is not all that specific how financial sustainability can be achieved without eliminating their core activity "advocacy, awareness and public policy initiatives".
The second issue addressed is even more interesting. JCICS, as a trade association of adoption service providers has a credibility problem. The document states:
Joint Council is seen by many public policy makers, the press, NGOs and the public as:
  • Serving the self-interest of Adoption Service Providers
  • Not having Adoption Service Providers of the highest quality, ethics or standards
  • Having an inherent conflict of interest
  • Protecting individual Adoption Service Providers
  • A trade organization, rather than an objective advocate

It seems public policy makers, the press, NGOs and the public correctly see what JCICS is, a trade association of adoption service providers. JCICS is not happy with this and in self-pity compares itself with the tobacco lobby, another victim of public misunderstanding. [An excellent comparison: both are greedy sharks who do not care how many people they hurt or kill to make a buck!]

While maintaining its status as trade association, JCICS asks its members to approve amending its bylaws to expand its board of directors with people not affiliated with adoption service providers. By being seemingly more neutral, JCICS hopes to gain more influence with public policy makers and NGOs like Unicef and Save the Children.

JCICS also seeks to expand its advocacy efforts in other directions than inter-country adoption, such as family preservation, national adoption, guardianship and kinship care. This expansion seems to be more an obfuscation tactic than a real effort, since inter-country adoption remains the focal point of JCICS.

It would be nice if the outcome of this stake holder initiative will also be leaked. After all it is in the public interest to know how these advocacy groups trade associations operate.

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