In Haitian “Orphans”: A US Social Worker’s Caution and Recommendations for Policy by Karen Smith Rotabi, PhD, MSW, MPH Karen reports:
"Right now, children are being flown into the USA on humanitarian visas for medical care. For example, the Shriners Hospital of Springfield, Massachusetts has a specialty in Orthopedics and they are receiving a small number of children for care. “Once these children enter into a phase of rehabilitation, they will need temporary care with families in the USA and we are already beginning to work on that issue” said social worker DeGuerre Blackburn, Executive Director of Voices for International Development and Adoption (VIDA). Blackburn, who has been consulting with the project emphasized that DNA tests will be essential because eventually reuniting these children with their families in Haiti, whenever possible, is the number one priority. Because some of these children have uncertain identities, as is the case with major disasters, creating a DNA databank is essential in Blackburn’s opinion. VIDA is currently taking the lead in investigating the options for DNA testing and developing a strategy for this small group of children."
I was with Karen in Guatemala when we both saw first hand how DNA tests are phonied. She thus suggests:
"...a third party organization with a strong information management system which has no financial interest in intercountry adoption will be critical to a step towards developing a [DNA testing] system which has the best interests of the child at heart. This may be a government organization or even better, a reputable non-governmental organization which can quickly and assuredly set forth the process, collaborating with the private sector which can donate the tests as a part of their humanitarian disaster assistance. Developing protocol for such a DNA testing and information management system could provide valuable lessons for disaster management and humanitarian aid on a global-basis.
"Such a system would insure that the best interests of the child with the primary goal of child reunification with their family or kinship group. While we may argue how to do this efficiently, the fundamental value for a systematic and ethical child welfare response is non-negotiable."