Friday, February 5, 2010

Karen Rotabi's Open letter to Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton

February 4, 2010
Dear Secretary Clinton:

On February 2, 2010, there were very good opinion pieces in the New York Times about the Haitian Orphan crisis ( We, as professional social workers/human service providers and social work scholars support this discourse, however in the immediate situation we want to underscore a pressing concern. Many of the children who are coming to the USA for emergency medical care are arriving on humanitarian visas and in crisis. We ask that you consider the following:

Some of these children have uncertain identities and in time, determining their family connections will be difficult therefore DNA should be a part of the procedures so that they may be returned to their parents or extended family, when possible.

The USA medical facilities where these children are being treated have the capacity to take tests and, in addition a centralized DNA database must be developed and managed by a party that has no financial interest in intercountry adoption.

The visas that are being issued by the Department of State can be coded as to identify such a child (example: humanitarian/medical/minor Haitian). Coding in this manner would be a second data point for the aforementioned database, insuring that the whereabouts of these children are clear so that they may be returned to their families if and when that is possible.

It is our position that such management of information is necessary so that the best interests of the child are honored and the prevention of child abduction is assured.

All of the above points are explained in greater detail at Americas Quarterly

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