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Families For Orphans Act (FFOA)

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The Families For Orphans Act (FFOA) was introduced by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA), and Rep. John Boozman (R-AR), and written with the goal of working towards permanency for all children on an international level.

The bill would provide for the creation of an Office of Orphan Policy, Diplomacy and Development within the U.S. Department of State, which would be given diplomatic authority to help the millions of vulnerable children worldwide who have lost one or both parents or are at risk of losing parental care. The office would be responsible for supporting child-friendly policies, including that of intercountry adoption, and pursuing diplomatic relations with the international community in order to encourage permanent parental care for children in need.

We strongly support the goal of the Families for Orphans Act: to achieve permanency for all children throughout the world. In an effort to avoid institutionalized care--which has been shown to have severe negative effects on children's health and development--we advocate for a continuum of care in order to find permanency for children. This means that a child should be kept at home with his or her biological family if it is in the child's best interests; if not, a placement with the child's relative(s) or kin is preferred. If this is impossible, placing the child for domestic adoption, within his or her own country and culture, is the next best option. Finally, if it is the only way to avoid permanent foster care or institutionalized care, the child should be freed for an intercountry adoption.

By creating a specific office within the U.S. Department of State to advocate for international permanency for children, the Families for Orphans Act would enable the United States to assist other countries in developing systems of care to better meet the needs of all children.

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