INTRODUCING THE FAMILIES FOR ORPHANS ACT OF 2009; Congressional Record Vol. 155, No. 96
(Extensions of Remarks - June 24, 2009)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1555-E1556]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                           HON. JOHN BOOZMAN

                              of arkansas

                    in the house of representatives

                        Wednesday, June 24, 2009

  Mr. BOOZMAN. Madam Speaker, today my colleague Rep. Diane Watson and 
I are introducing the Families for Orphans Act of 2009. This bicameral, 
bi-partisan bill seeks to provide children in the United States and 
around the world the best opportunity for the full development of his 
or her potential by growing up in a permanent family.
  Despite good efforts of countless governments and nongovernmental 
organizations, the number of children growing up without parents is at 
epidemic levels. Thus, these children are forced to live on the 
streets, in child-headed households or in institutions, hardly the 
nurturing environments needed for these children to reach their full 
potential as productive citizens of the world. Permanency is one of the 
most important things we can offer children and is something that every 
child craves.
  The United States has long been interested in developing a global 
strategy for providing permanent parental care for orphans; however, we 
still lack a clear diplomatic authority to represent these interests. 
This bill aims to establish the Office of Orphan Policy, Development 
and Diplomacy, a specialized office in the Department of State. A 
specially appointed Coordinator would head this office, which would be 
responsible for developing and implementing comprehensive, evidence-
based strategy to support the preservation of families and the 
provision of permanent families and for orphans. As our diplomats work 
with countries to prevent terrorism and child trafficking,

[[Page E1556]]

this office is one more service we can offer. Our government will now 
be set up to identify and develop government infrastructures, services 
and programs that help forge permanent family care in different 
cultures. The ultimate goal is to find children permanent families with 
the focus on legally-recognized relationships between responsible 
adults and children without parents. It also provides resources for 
preserving families, seeking social, therapeutic and financial programs 
and services designed to enable birth families to provide safe, 
permanent, and nurturing care to their children and strengthen and 
support families at risk of dissolution, separation or domestic 
  The bill establishes a minimum set of standards for the preservation 
of families and provision of permanent care by foreign governments. 
These standards are designed to ensure that partner countries are 
making the necessary steps to reduce the number of abandoned children, 
to reunify children with family when possible, and to promote adoption 
and guardianship when appropriate.
  The millions of children growing up without parents have a 
devastating impact on society across the globe. Without a permanent 
family, the risk of suicide, homelessness, an incomplete education, and 
teen pregnancy is all far greater. Every child deserves to grow up in a 
loving family. This bill is a giant step to ensuring just that for all 
the children of the world.