exposing the dark side of adoption
Register Log in

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.
by Kerry and Niels on Tuesday, 15 December 2009