There are many millions of unparented children growing up in institutions and on the streets worldwide. CAP sees this as violating their most fundamental human right to family. International Adoption (IA) is one of the best available options for providing these children with families. Yet today IA is in crisis, with numbers down precipitously since 2004, after the previous six decades of a steady rise in numbers. IA is needed as much as always – indeed the number of homeless children has grown dramatically. However powerful forces, including UNICEF and our own State Department, have joined with others to close down IA in many countries and to add to the restrictions that make it a limited option for children in other countries.
CAP drafted a Policy Statement on IA and initiated a campaign to secure endorsements in the child and human rights communities. That Policy Statement was adopted in its essential form by several organizations including the American Bar Association, and endorsed by many leading child and human rights experts and organizations. Click here to read CAP’s International Adoption Policy Statement and Supporting Report and review the endorsing individuals and organizations.
Advocacy & Coalition Building
CAP has been playing a major role fighting this trend, and promoting the human rights of children to grow up with parents, including through IA. It has created and led various advocacy groups committed to policy reform. CAP’s coalition-building work includes a partnership with the Center for Adoption Policy to create the “ACT for Adoption” newsletter mobilizing support and the creation of a strategy group of IA advocates, the International Adoption Strategy Group.
CAP has developed and promoted legislative reform designed to change the position of the U.S. Government so that we recognize the child’s human right to family, and recognize that denying that right by shutting down IA should be condemned as a violation of human rights. Click here for information on CAP’s current and pending Human Rights Legislation Promoting the Rights of Unparented Children (Human Rights Reporting On Unparented Children and the Vulnerable Children and Family Act, VCF, Act). Go to other Congressional Legislation to learn about previous legislative efforts.
CAP has structured an international human rights systemic litigation program, with the goal of developing international law recognizing the child’s right to family and condemning shutdowns of IA as a violation of that right. Click here for information on CAP’s Human Rights Litigation on Behalf of Unparented Children
CAP has signed on in support of Amicus briefs related to international child welfare reform (Amicus Curiae Brief of the National Council for Adoption and the Child Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School in support of plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction in Faith International Adoptions v. Pompeo, June 28, 2018)
Events & Conferences
CAP has also organized course panels, conferences and special events to educate students and policy-makers about the issues. In January 2008, we convened a “Workshop” at HLS for representatives of UNICEF, the State Department, and many other high-level policy players. We co-sponsored several conferences on IA with the Center for Adoption Policy.
Click here for a listing of Prof. Bartholet’s publications, including earlier work in International Adoption such as the Russian Shutdown of IA to the US, a CAP-initiated human rights case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a response to the child welfare crisis in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.