Major Orphan Legislation Introduced in U.S. Senate

Today, the “Children in Families First Act” (CHIFF) was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Mary Landrieu and a strong, bi-partisan coalition of Senators.  CHIFF would effect significant reforms designed to help ensure that the U.S. government prioritizes family for children who lack it.   Without growing the size of government, CHIFF would place special focus in U.S. policies and programs on family preservation, family reunification, and adoption.

Senator Landrieu first announced her plans for this legislation at the CAFO Summit this year in Nashville.  See the video of her speech at Summit announcing CHIFF HERE or below:

Government can deliver many vital resources on a mass scale, from emergency food to medication and shelter.  But children require more than physical goods alone to truly thrive.  Most of all, children require the protection, love and nurture that family uniquely provides.  It is understandable that government typically gravitates towards providing the physical things it is most able to deliver on a mass scale.  But this isn’t enough for the millions of children in the world who lack families.  CHIFF helps ensure that U.S. policy aligns with a simple truth that most every American shares:  every child deserves a family.
As today’s CHIFF press release describes:


  • Prioritizes family as a key element of U.S. foreign policy so that every child can have a permanent, safe and nurturing family through family preservation, family reunification and family creation through kinship, domestic and international adoption.
  • Realigns U.S. departments and agencies to support the objectives of the 2012 International Action Plan on Children in Adversity, which includes as a central goal that all children grow up in families.
  • Reallocates a portion of existing international assistance funding for children so that it will do more to support family preservation, family reunification, and family creation through kinship, domestic and international adoption.
  • Streamlines the roles of U.S. Government agencies in adoptions so that they will be better partners with states, the faith-based community, and accredited adoption agencies in their mission to unite children with families.

CAFO’s focus is not government or lobbying.  We seek to inspire and equip the Church to be the primary answer for the needs of orphans, from adoption and fostering to support of orphan care worldwide.  But we’re keenly aware that government policies can either enable or undercut the ability of churches, families and individuals to care effectively for orphans.  So we seek to celebrate and support positive public policy like CHIFF.

Learn more at the main CHIFF website HERE and help spread the word via the CHIFF Facebook page HERE.

  • califmom

    Children overseas live in orphanages with inadequate food, clothing, medical care, and nurture. They grow up with little to no schooling and when they age out at 16, they are thrown out into the street. Girls become prostitutes, or, if they are lucky, domestic servants. Boys are conscripted into the military for 2 years. After that they are left to fend for themselves. The suicide rate is approximately 25%. They have not learned to to relate to other people, they are usually functionally illiterate and have no job skills. Many are starved, beaten or sexually abused in orphanages.

    U.S. foster care is superior in many ways to the systems of foreign countries. And no American foster child is going to starve to death or be tied to a bed 24/7 because he or she has Down syndrome or cerebral palsy.

    To condemn these children to a living hell by saying Americans should simply take care of American children is saying that these little children are worthless and is the worst sort of callousness. The foreign systems simply do not have the infrastructures in place to care for these children. If they did, these orphans would not exist for adoption and the issue would be solved. Logic says to leave the children in their countries of origin. Compassion says to put them where they can have loving families.

  • Jeremiah

    It’s a start. Actually, if this makes it easier to adopt both internationally and domestically, it could help alleviate the problems of the foster kids in the US, along with kids overseas, some of whom face being kicked out of their orphanages at age 16 (Ukraine does this), with little or no prospects or government help, and many will be prostitutes, in gangs, in prisons, and suicides. Many will be dead in 5 years. I think I’d rather change their culture than allow that. Ukraine does favor their citizens first, but many are too old to be adopted, and face a much bleaker future than an American orphan. Either way, it is the Lord’s work. My challenge to those who don’t like international adoptions because of the US orphans in foster homes: why aren’t you adopting some of them? How do you covet a neighbor’s child when the child has no family that cares about them? I will give Senator Landrieu high marks for a noble cause. I just hope it makes the situation better for all of the kids out there who need adoption.