International (MNN) — The
Families for Orphans Act is up for consideration in the U.S. House of
Representatives. If it becomes law, it
will create the Office of Orphan Policy, Development and Diplomacy.
"It will create a more organized
and connected effort for the United States to get involved in orphan care
around the world," said John VanValkenburg of Bethany Christians Services.
The legislation was crafted to
address the need for more cooperation between organizations involved in orphan
care and the need for more focus on the goal of placing children in permanent
homes. Currently, the lack of a
proactive and unified policy leads to actions that fail to address root
problems for orphaned children, according to the Joint Council on International
VanValkenburg said the act is
good news for 143 million children around the world who don't have permanent
"The government is really
recognizing that it needs to take a second look at its current structure and
develop a more streamlined and organized effort to help take a leadership role
with this crisis," he said. "I think
this is a case where we can applaud the government's efforts to
streamline their efforts, and to fully utilize the resources that are currently
in place to help children around the world."
The passage of the act could make
grants available for Bethany's work. Bethany already works with the government in other capacities.
"We're really encouraged to see
an act like this, because this mirrors a lot of the work that we're
currently doing around the world," VanValkenburg said. "What the act is saying is that there needs to
be efforts to preserve and to reunify families all around the world, and this
act is actually going to emphasize activities that keep a child in the country
of their birth."
Bethany has already worked with
governments in Guatemala and China to help develop foster care and child
welfare programs, VanValkenburg explained.
"So for us, we're ready for the government to come alongside us in a
worldwide need, to help children."
It's all a part a part of Bethany's
mission "to really manifest the love and compassion of Jesus Christ by
protecting and enhancing the lives of children and families through quality
social services," VanValkenburg said.