Not everyone is convinced that the Children in Families First Act is an answer to the problem of international child welfare.
Opponents of the bill, such as the editors of the website Pound Pup Legacy, have expressed concerns that the Act is based on increasing revenues for adoption agencies, not advocating for children’s rights. They point out that the primary supporters of the legislation are people who stand to profit from an increase in international adoptions, such as adoption agencies and adoption attorneys. They argue that the recent decrease in international adoptions is a good thing– it’s a sign that child trafficking has decreased and that orphaned children are only being adopted internationally when it is needed.
Others, like Susan Jacobs, the State Department’s special adviser on children’s issues, believe there is no need for such legislation because existing programs are addressing the needs of orphans worldwide. ”I think we’ve been pretty successful recently. We are proud of the work that we do to protect everyone involved in the adoption process– the birth families, the adopting families, and of course the children,” says Jacobs, according to an article released by the Associated Press. Jacobs says that since joining the Hague Adoption Convention in 2008, the United States has helped improve international adoptions and reduce corruption and abuses. She points to a pilot project that is set to resume some adoptions from Vietnam soon. ”Diplomacy is a slow process and can often be frustrating to people,” she said. “But I think we have a really good record.”
Kathryn Whetten, a professor of public policy and global health and the direct of the Center for Health Policy at Duke University’s Global Health Institute, argues that the bill, while well-intentioned, fails to recognize that sometimes an orphanage or group home is the best option for children. In an opinion article on NJ.com, she expresses her concern that by prioritizing attempts to reunify children with their parents and downgrading the value of orphanages, the Children in Families First Act will actually place children in situations where there opportunities for education, growth, and development will actually be reduced.
Others oppose the bill, acording to the Associated Press, because they are worried that the the reallocation of international child welfare funds will take money from programs that are performing essential work– such as AIDs prevention and treatment– on behalf of children worldwide.