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by Pete Leppanen

I was talking to a friend concerning the Children in Families First (CHIFF) Act that has been introduced in Congress. When I started to discuss the USAID portion of the bill, she asked what I meant by the phrase “child permanency”.

CHIFF defines this concept by calling for a comprehensive approach to placing children in permanent families. It prescribes a common sense protocol that should make sense to all. The first focus is to prevent vulnerable children from being abandoned or orphaned by helping them to stay safe and healthy and in their birth families. For those that have become separated, it calls for reunifying these children with their families whenever possible. When that is not possible, placement with extended family and in-country adoption are considered. Only those children (and unfortunately there are far too many) for whom these options won’t work will be considered for international adoption.

She also asked if there weren’t other U.S. assistance programs already focusing on finding permanent solutions for children? Sadly, there aren’t. While the US government funds many assistance programs, none of them focus on a child’s right to live in a permanent loving family as their primary objective.

If you would like more information about the CHIFF legislation, please visit the CHIFF website at http://childreninfamiliesfirst.org. And remember to click on the “Get Involved” tab for information about how you can help us in moving this legislation through Congress.

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