Grenzen überwinden,

    Kinder schützen,

Familien verbinden.

Preventing further trauma in Haiti! Press Release

International community call for use of International Guidelines to ensure maximum protection of children

Just weeks after the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, the international community is struggling to provide appropriate care and protection for children and families in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti. The Guidelines are the first  international  document on the  care  of children without parental care in  non-emergency  and emergency situations.

Now is the time to apply the Guidelines within a coordinated international relief effort in Haiti. 

The Guidelines stress that in emergency situations, the primary goal is to trace and reunify children with  their  families  to  the  maximum  extent  possible  prior  to  any  other  permanent  solution  being pursued. Even in the worst disasters, such as this, most children have extended family members willing and able to care for them. No relief effort should inadvertently promote the separation of children from their immediate and extended family. In particular, children in emergency situations should not be moved to another country for the purpose of alternative care except temporarily for compelling health, medical or safety reasons. If the latter is necessary, the Guidelines stress that children should be moved as close as possible to their home, they should be accompanied by a parent or caregiver known to the child, and a clear return plan should be established.

The Government  of  Haiti,  as  well  as  all  local,  national  and  international  governmental  and  non-governmental agencies should comply with the principles of the Guidelines, which include:

  • a register of unaccompanied and separated children 
  • need to develop temporary and long-term family-based care
  • use of residential care only as a temporary measure 
  • prohibit new large-scale residential facilities as a permanent or long-term care solution 
  • prevention of the cross-border displacement of children 

Members of the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child’s Working Group on Children without Parental Care (Geneva) and the NGO Committee on UNICEF Working Group on Children  without  Parental  Care  (New  York)  call  upon  the  international  community  to  uphold  the principles  of  the  Guidelines,  to  prevent  unnecessary  separation  of  families,  inept  and  potentially harmful evacuation efforts and to prevent the trafficking of children through inappropriate or unlawful inter-country adoptions in emergency situations.


Signed by: 

Better  Care  Network,  Better  Care  Network  Netherlands,  Defence  for  Children  International,

EveryChild, FICE International, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, International

Council of Women, International Social Service, Intervida, PLAN International, Relaf-Latin American

Foster Care Network, Save the Children, SOS Children’s Villages International and World Vision. 


For more information, please contact:

Mia Dambach, Geneva                                 Jenessa Bryan, New York

International Social Service                         SOS-Children's Villages International  

Tel: +41 22 906 7704                                  Tel:  +1 917 208 3472

Email:                  Email: 


"Preventing further trauma in Haiti" - Press Release