Families Willing to Receive Haitian Orphans

Many families are asking how they can learn more about the possibility of taking in Haitian orphans.  At this point, the U.S. government has not yet determined if or to what extent it will issue broad “humanitarian parole” provisions allowing a large number of Haitian orphans to enter the U.S.  Furthermore, if large-scale entry is allowed, it is currently unknown precisely what governmental mechanisms would be used to place the children in care–most likely temporary care first, and then longer term and/or permanent/adoptive care.

It is likely the Federal government would rely heavily upon state government social services agencies–particularly those that currently oversee state foster systems.  In this scenario, states would likely turn first to individuals that have already been approved by them to care for foster children and also to existing foster care facilities like current group homes .  Very likely, however, if more than a modest number of Haitian orphans entered the country, states would look to rapidly expand capacity–possibly with an expedited approval process for foster families and facilities.  Almost certainly, a number of Federal agencies would also be heavily involved with this process–including the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement and Children’s Bureau.  These agencies may opt to do some of their work through large national organizations in addition to states.

At this point, as heartening as it is to see the tremendous willingness of American families to open their homes to Haitian orphans, it is best for interested individuals to wait until additional details are known about whether large numbers of Haitian orphans will be entering the U.S., and what the designated process would be for approving homes to receive them.