February 9-11, 2011 was the beginning of a five month initiative of CCAI that focuses on six countries in Africa – Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda – and how U.S. policymakers and international players can best support efforts toward placing children in family-based care through the full continuum of care as expressed in the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.
The magnitude of the orphan crisis in Africa is understandably overwhelming for nations already challenged by poverty, war, and disease. The initial global response to this crisis resulted in the development of child welfare frameworks that are heavily reliant on institutional care and focused on providing for orphans’ and vulnerable children’s basic needs (housing, health care, food) – needs that a family might otherwise provide. Over the past several years, efforts have been made to transition away from these orphanage-based systems to move toward providing family-based care for children without parents.
With this in mind, The Way Forward Project seeks to bring together a group of international experts to discuss opportunities and challenges facing governmental, non-government organizational leaders in these African nations. Four working groups comprised of leaders from the legal, medical, social work, and development communities will present their findings and recommendations at an international policy summit this summer.
For more information on the countries the project is focusing on, the scope of the project, and a list of expert participants, visit The Way Forward Project’s website at www.thewayforwardproject.org.