The Joint Council on International Children's Services admits to having a credibility problem

Yesterday a representative of the Joint Council on International Children's Services (JCICS) sent us a message in which they respectfully requested that we kindly remove the posted information regarding their Stakeholder's Initiative. The complaint relates to a document leaked late last week, which describes proposals of JCICS to change their organization in response to impending bankruptcy.

Upon reception of said request, we were faced with the dilemma to either honor the request or to ignore it. The message written was certainly most polite, making it harder for us to simply ignore it. So eventually we decided to choose neither the option to honor nor the option to ignore the request and instead pay some more attention to the document we obtained.

When a document is leaked to the media, this is often done by someone closely affiliated to an organization. Who else has access to confidential information? Often material is leaked because a public interest is being served, sometimes it is done for personal or political motives. Apparently someone close to JCICS sees a public interest in divulging this information, or has personal or political motivations to leak this confidential information. That by itself would already be compelling reason to publish the provided documents. It makes us wonder who within JCICS sees benefit in making information public about both the dire financial situation the organization is in and the lack of credibility the organization has with governments and certain NGO's like Unicef and Save the Children.

Could it be that there are people working for JCICS memberships organizations that actually agree with us that the Families for Orphans Act 2009 as co-written by JCICS is a total abomination, like we demonstrated in The Families for Orphans Act 2009 and the inter-country adoption agenda? There certainly must be ethical adoption workers out there, equally appalled by the language in that bill.

Given JCICS made such an issue of working on this atrocity of a piece of legislation, could it be that some social worker decided: enough is enough. If this is what JCICS stands for, lets spill the beans that JCICS is neither solvent nor credible.

We may never know the motivations behind leaking the Stakeholders Initiative document, but we do know that JCICS acknowledges they are at the brink of bankruptcy and more importantly, that they are not a credible organization. Especially the latter is worthy of public interest.

It is understandable JCICS would really want the public not to know about their own admission they lack credibility, it doesn't look good when organizations do that. It looks silly when organizations speak the truth for once, but at the same time discredit themselves.

Still we do feel it is in the public's interest, JCICS took this refreshing step to speak truthfully about their own credibility. We wish they would do so more often.

For those too lazy to open a PDF document and read what is being said, here follows the section about JCICS's problems being a credible organization. Please note how they compare themselves to the tobacco lobby:

The Challenges to Joint Council’s Credibility

Joint Council is seen by many public policy makers, the press, NGOs and the public as:

  • Serving the self-interest of Adoption Service Providers
  • Not having Adoption Service Providers of the highest quality, ethics or standards
  • Having an inherent conflict of interest
  • Protecting individual Adoption Service Providers
  • A trade organization, rather than an objective advocate

These perceptions and realities minimize the validity of Joint Council’s advocacy

  • Examples
    • Some NGOs refrain from associating with Joint Council due to perceptions related to credibility and ‘trade association’. This despite the fact that some were founded by adoptive families and as a direct result of IA.
    • One such example is the highly respected Half The Sky Foundation which serves Chinese children through a wide variety of programs and services
    • Another example is Global Action for Children, an influential child advocacy organization and funded in part by Angelina Jolie.
    • USAID also refrains from direct association with Joint Council. Despite direct requests, neither Joint Council nor any member of the Families For Orphans Coalition is a member of the Orphans and Vulnerable Children Working Group.

Trade Associations can be effective advocates for a particular group of for-profit and/or non-for-profits. However, in addition to the funding challenges inherent in Joint Council’s association structure, effective advocacy by trade groups is largely dependent upon the total budget of the association.

Even with significant funding, trade groups which in are perceived as placing the financial interests of their members ahead of the public good are most often ineffective.

  • Example: Tobacco Lobby
    Despite independent research, the tobacco trade groups claimed that cigarettes did not cause cancer or cardio vascular disease. This led to the continued decrease in the credibility of the tobacco trade groups. Their PR efforts, political lobbying and general advocacy were ineffective. Today, most western countries limit the advertising, distribution, sale and use of tobacco.
  • Example: Good Year Tire
    Despite independent research, the Tire Industry claimed that Goodyear tires were not causing blowouts, car accidents and deaths. Goodyear and the trade group argued in part that The disparity between trade research, evidence and claims and independent research caused Goodyear’s credibility to plummet. After more evidence came to light, Goodyear ultimately was forced to issue a massive recall and settle hundreds of lawsuits.

Trade Associations and Agreements

This may come as no great surprise, but I never trusted any of those pro-adoption groups like the JCICS or the Evan B Donaldson Adoption Institute.  Maybe if either took a strong stand against post placement abuse, I could better appreciate their missions, but I tend to see these sort of groups/organiszations working hard so certain salaries can grow big and strong.  That being my automatic mind-set, allow me to share an opinion, knowing many times I see words that trigger, making me want to react to concept, not necessarily content.  The phrase "trade association" caught my eye, and automatically, the word "agreement" came to mind.  Suddenly, I could care less about what it is that JCICS wants to protect and keep from public view.

It's been my own experience that most people do not want to see adoption as a trade agreement.  Most want to see it as a humanitarian act...a that benefits the lives of children.  Most do not want to acknowledge there is tremendous money being made (and saved) when a child is traded from one family and or country, to another.  Most do not want to acknowledge many times children are being removed from families and homes (home-lands), and put in situations that are neither healthy nor safe, (yet sure enough, the workers involved are still being paid!).

I don't know how many can follow my jumping logic, but what sickens me is seeing how health-care has become part and parcel of the trade (child for money) agreement. 

Over and over, I see a not-so-subtle theme operating within the adoption industry.  It's as if certain budget leaders barter for health-care services, using adoption as their "moral" crusade or excuse.  ["Give us your children, we'll give you some health-care assistance" seems to be the underlying message within these two recent comments:  Some of these families are declaring "medical needs" and   This issue.]  But I see another more subtle message being sent, especially to those with little means and money... it's as if there are those with money, education and arrogance truly believe the poor are too selfish and stupid to care for their own.  The solution?  Take their children away as a lesson... the lesson being, do not grow to become poor and stupid (like your first parents).

Problem is, not every person needing financial assistance is poor or stupid, (or a disease infected alcoholic/drug addict).  Not only that, but in many cases, the financial assistance given/granted by governing agencies is typically not enough to help those who really do need financial assistance for decent living conditions and good quality health care.  This fact applies to intact biologic families, as well as adoptive ones.

What makes this "trade agreement" even more complex and interesting is, on the one hand, there are very good decent people adopting children who have very expensive medical needs... needs they may or may not be expecting to pay.  Meanwhile, in some cases, there is a shadier-hand at work and play, at parent and child expense.  Documented and reported cases prove there are many foster/adoptive parents using the government granted money (adoption subsidies) on everything but their specially chosen adopted child's needs.  [The Leekin story being a most offensive case to read.]

Maybe when the general public sees adoption not as a humanitarian gesture, but a high-costing trade agreement, people will take these polite requests to remove key pieces of information, (made by fine folks at well-respected groups like the JCICS),  a bit more seriously.

JCICS and health care

It is interesting how you point out the health care aspect related to inter-country adoption. When talking about the Joint Council on International Children's Services (JCICS), many people think about adoption agencies, but several members of JCICS are in fact health care providers.

It is no secret that health care is big business. The current attempt at health care reform in the US is evidence just how much profit making is part and parcel of the health care industry. The commercial nature of US health care, whether done in a for-profit or a non-profit setting, has created a health care system that is outrageously expensive, provides top-notch care for those that can afford it, but generally perfoms dramatically poor.

Just like health care is just another means to profit from the misery of other people, so is adoption. It seems JCICS has over the past decade succeeded in bringing these two forms of profiteering together to further exploit the vulnerable. Let's hope for the sake of those vulnerable the Stakeholder Initiative will fail and let's find a way to kill the Families for Orphans Act, so the exploitation of other people's misery doesn't expand further.


Interesting and thanks for posting the JCICS Initiative.

In addition to the links provided here, it should be noted that Orchid Cellmark (a DNA testing facility... also appears to be a JCICS member, and did a portion of DNA "parentage" testing for Guatemalan adoptions.

It is also interesting to note that numerous children that were stolen or taken by force or coercion from their families in Guatemala "passed" the USCIS required DNA test, as evidenced by the Ana Escobar/Esther Sulamita case (a child stolen at gunpoint who "passed" the DNA test).

JCICS has many friends in many places.... one has to wonder how far their conflicts of interest travel.

JCICS a club with membership fees

JCICS is nothing more than a paid membership for Adoption providers, it is club with paid dues. They have no credibility and are not here for anything except to support the rights of adoption and this gives the adoption agency the right to say "JCICS member" or "proud member of JCICS" they don't even do anything with grievances against their agencies.
JCICS is losing credibility and money because adoptions are down. They have had their work cut out for them over the years with all the damage control and closing agencies.
Pound Pup Legacy has every right to print the truth! As long as it is the truth and not a lie you have done nothing wrong! Soon it will be public knowledge anyway. inside leak or not!

Financial Sustainability, for JCICS not a pretty picture

Thank you for that document, it screams of the truth and future of International Adoption. Pages 6-10 say it all, how the budget and staff have been cut drastically and how they estimate IAs to be barely 10,000 in 2010 from a high in 2004 of 22,000.
JCICS is very realistic and honest about the challenges that lay ahead in international adoptions. Money or the lack of is going to be their downfall.

I can remember when Adoption agencies boasted how they were a part of the JCICS and proudly displayed their logo on their websites, letterhead, etc., Now, it appears that this isn't an "association" that is necessarily to their benefit. Not to mention how JCICS is proposing to double their association fees to stay afloat.

Pound Pup Legacy