News / Americas

Haiti's Children Still Face Problems

Jennifer Glasse

UNICEF's head of child protection says nearly three months after the earthquake that devastated the country, many challenges remain for children in Haiti.  

Even before the January earthquake that devastated the tiny Caribbean nation of Haiti, the country's children were living in difficult circumstances.

Child Protection official, Aaron Greenberg, of the U.N. children's agency says the statistics are shocking.

"Estimates of 50,000 children, prior to the earthquake, in residential care," Greenberg said. "In orphanages or residential care, not only the numbers, but the degree of un-regulation, the lack of regulation of those services."

Greenberg says the children in Haitian orphanages were not necessarily orphans - defined as a child who had lost one or both parents.  He says  poverty is the main reason so many children were in care.   

"Families who have very little options in terms of services in the community will see an orphanage as a way of providing food, a way of providing health care to their children. Possibly even education, so it is not necessarily a lack of adequate family care, but perhaps lack of resources at community level," Greenberg said.

UNICEF's Child Protection chief Susan Bissell says child trafficking is an increasing problem.

"Trafficking was a problem before the earthquake and it is an ongoing concern right now," Bissell said. "We know that traffickers fish in pools of vulnerability and mobility and we have got lots of vulnerability and mobility right now."

Bissell says UNICEF's ultimate goal is to find a place for each child.

"One has to really seriously look at, 'How do we insure that every child in Haiti has a permanent family arrangement in which they remain so they are not in institutions?'  And maybe that family is their own family, maybe it is extended family, maybe it is a permanent fostering arrangement that is monitored and maybe ultimately it is inter-country adoption.  There are lots of permanent family arrangements for children," Bissell said.

Bissell says there has been progress with more systems in place to support children, but she says the weather is a looming challenge.  

The rainy season usually starts in May, and can be accompanied by hurricanes.  With much of the earthquake affected population living outside or in makeshift accommodation, she says that could cause problems with health and hygiene, sanitation, contaminate drinking water, and spread communicable diseases.

But  UNICEF's Greenberg, the crisis has also brought opportunity.

"The amount of money that pours into a small country like Haiti, post crisis, can be channeled to issues that existed pre-crisis," Greenberg said. "So not only are you assisting those families and children who are directly affected, but you are also helping to transform the way Haiti was dealing with the issue prior to the crisis."

UNICEF officials emphasize protecting the country's children is complex and will take a long-term investment of human and financial resources.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Relatives Doubt 42 Men Died in Mexico Ranch Shootout

The lopsided death toll and photographs from the scene in which bodies appeared to have been moved have raised questions
More

Pope Beatifies Murdered Salvadoran Archbishop

Hundreds of thousands of worshippers converge on Salvadoran capital to witness papal declaration for late Oscar Romero - now one step from Roman Catholic sainthood
More

Scores Killed in Western Mexico Gunfight

Officials say almost every person killed in Michoacan state shootout was a suspected gang member
More

Latest US-Cuban Talks Ends in Washington

Both sides cite progress on restoring diplomatic ties, but no final agreement reached
More

Tutu Lends Support to Age Campaign

Help Age International has launched Action 2015 campaign
More

Colombia Kills 18 FARC Rebels

The bombing raid took place in the Cauca region of western Colombia
More