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Children in Families First Act of 2013 (CHIFF)

The Problem:

Every day, all over the world, more children find themselves living without families - on the streets, in orphanages, in refugee camps. By some estimates, there are over 150 million orphans in the world. But the U.S. government, through our foreign policy and programming, isn't helping turn this around.

Americans know that family is the bedrock of any society, and that children need the permanent love, care, and protection of a family to grow into healthy, productive adults. Although U.S. foreign policy in theory emphasizes preserving or creating safe, permanent families for children, through family preservation, family reunification, and family creation from domestic, kinship, or intercountry adoption, the structures and coordination aren't there to make it happen. We need new and better law.

The Solution:

CHIFF redirects some U.S. resources to focus more on ensuring that all children grow up in families and realigns certain agencies to help achieve this critical goal.

CHIFF:

  • Creates a focal point within the Department of State for vulnerable children and family security that will become the foreign policy and diplomatic hub on international child welfare. The current Office of Children's Issues, Adoption Division would be moved out of the Bureau of Consular Affairs and turned into a new, stronger Bureau in the human rights secretariat. The new Bureau would help build international capacity to implement effective child welfare systems, with particular focus on family preservation and reunification, and kinship, domestic, and intercountry adoption. While the new Bureau would remain the Central Authority on intercountry adoptions for diplomatic purposes, operational responsibilities would be transferred to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS);
  • Streamlines, simplifies and consolidates responsibility for all processing of intercountry adoption cases in USCIS (except final immigrant visa processing, which remains with State); transfers adoption service provider accreditation from the Department of State to USCIS; and
  • Establishes a Center of Excellence within USAID, dedicated to implementation of the 2012 National Action Plan on Children in Adversity, A Framework for International Assistance, and provides necessary authority and oversight of resources to the USAID Senior Coordinator for Children in Adversity to implement a demonstration program in target countries.

Recent Congressional Actions on CHIFF:


CHIFF in the News:

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Northeast Office

U.S. Courthouse
300 Fannin St., Room 2240
Shreveport, LA 71101

Phone: 318-676-3085

Fax: 318-676-3100

Central Office

Federal Building
707 Florida St., Room 326
Baton Rouge, LA 70801

Phone: 225-389-0395

Fax: 225-389-0660

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703 Hart
Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Phone: 202-224-5824

Fax: 202-224-9735

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