Every Child Deserves a Family

Every child counts, it's time to let your voice be heard.

Jennifer Mellon May 17, 2018
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When I first entered the adoption field in 2004 working for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, it was the first time I was faced with the reality that there are over 100 million orphans living outside of permanent care. As Executive Director of Joint Council on International Children’s Services, I was confronted daily with the reality that not every child is counted, and if they are not counted, they do not count to the governments and systems meant to protect them. We know exactly how many children are affected with polio every year, we know the statistics for children’s vaccinations globally, yet we still do know how many children live outside the love and protection of a forever family.

The United Nations, global human rights groups, and child welfare organizations list the many basic human rights every man, woman, and child should be afforded. However, often left off those lists is the basic human right every child deserves: to be raised in a safe, permanent loving family.

As the Founder of Trustify, I see pro-bono cases that we work on finding missing and trafficked children. These children often have been a part of the foster care system. Foster care is a beautiful, wonderful option for many children to keep them safe and secure, but it should not be used for long-term placement. Children have a right to a forever family and permanent loving care.

As we see changes in our current Administration’s policies regarding intercountry adoption, we are left as adoption professionals, parents, and advocates wondering if our own government views safe, permanent, loving care as a basic human right all children deserve. Many people understand there is an orphan crisis, but may not realize the extent of this issue of our time. As regulations become more stringent in the United States, and more countries close intercountry adoption as an option for permanent care, adoption advocates are left wondering what they can do. Advocating for safe, loving forever homes to your Member of Congress, petitioning the White House to roll back recent changes to intercountry adoption (that have made it more prohibitive), and connecting with adoption agencies and orphan care organizations to volunteer your time and talent for our world’s most vulnerable population—those living outside of a forever family— are a few ways you can help every child realize their right to a forever family.

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Jennifer Mellon

Jennifer Mellon has worked in the child welfare field for more than a decade, serving in varying capacities as the Executive Director and Chief Development Officer of Joint Council on International Children's Services (JCICS) and the Corporate Communications Program Manager for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). Jennifer has served on the Board of the Campagna Center, which provides critical educational services to children and families in the DC Metro Area and on the Development Committee for the National Council for Adoption. She is the mom of three children and resides in Alexandria, Virginia.

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