Women’s Support Center – Passage of Armenia’s New Domestic Violence Law

Summer-Fall 2018 Newsletter

Welcome to the Women’s Support Center’s e-newsletter designed to keep you informed of current activities. Below WSC highlights the work carried out in the past few months to ensure the safety of women and children, victims of domestic violence, and advocate for change. Engage with WSC by following Facebook, website, and contacting WSC. Women’s Support Center would love to hear from you!

NEW DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAW

Since the passage of the new Domestic Violence(DV) law in Armenia, we have been working intensively on developing mechanisms for Police and Social Workers to facilitate the law’s monitoring and implementation. This is an ongoing process to improve services for DV victims and to ensure the prevention of DV cases. Tragically, during the first 6 months since the law was passed, and since police started to record DV cases, hundreds of cases of domestic violence have been reported. These include 9 DV related deaths, which is an extremely high figure within this timeframe and context.

 

WSC lawyer, Nona Galstyan (middle) working with Ministry of Social Affairs on DV law mechanisms

INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS

The new DV law and the recent democratic changes that have taken place in Armenia have increased interest on behalf of international organizations. June was a particularly busy month. We met with gender experts from UNICEF, the Open Society Foundation, the Council of Europe, Romania, and the US Embassy.  The Armenian Bar Association Detective Vahe Abramyan of the Glendale Police Department, and Judge Armenui Amy Ashvanian from Los Angeles visited  and exchaned information with our staff.   A very productive and interesting exchange took place that lead to a gained awareness on California state practices for DV cases.

Detective Vahe Abramyan of the Glendale Police Department and Judge Armenui Amy Ashvanian

ARMENIAN ASSEMBLY VISIT

Interns of the Armenian Assembly and Director Arpi Vartanian visited our center to get better acquainted with the WSC’s work, as well as with women’s rights and gender equality issues in Armenia. A lively discussion ensued.

Armenian Assembly Interns Orientation at WSC

TRAINING

We continued training Police and Social Workers.  Additionally, World Vision selected the WSC to train 442 doctors, educators, and social workers in 13 regions in Armenia. This offers us further exposure to the regions, and allows us to creating valuable contacts and foster collaborations.

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Update: Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) invites the general public and other Federal  agencies to comment upon this proposed revision of a currently approved collection of information or new collection of information. In  accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, the  information collection notice is published in the Federal Register to obtain comments regarding the nature of the information collection, the categories of respondents, the estimated burden (i.e. the time, effort, and resources used by the respondents to respond), the estimated cost to the respondent, and the actual information collection instruments.

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Changes to Ukrainian Civil Code Affect Timeframe for Adoptions

Last Updated: July 2, 2018

This Notice Supersedes the Message issued on January 30, 2018

As a reminder, on December 15, 2017, the new Civil Code of Ukraine went into effect, increasing the appeal period of all civil cases, including the appeals process for adoption decrees, from 10 days to 30 calendar days.   After a Ukrainian civil court approves an adoption decree,  the judgement will not go into effect until 30 calendar days have passed to allow for an appeal to be filed.  After this period, adoptive parents may be given physical custody of the adopted child and may then apply for a new birth certificate and passport and finalize the adoption.

NOTE: Adoptive parents may have to wait an additional six to 12 weeks in Ukraine to obtain the child’s passport, birth certificate, and other required documents.  This wait time is in addition to the 30-day waiting period following the final court hearing. Before you travel to finalize your child’s adoption in Ukraine, you should consider these new timelines in your travel plans.

For more information about adoption from Ukraine, including the U.S. immigrant visa process, please review the country specific information page on this website

Please continue to monitor adoption.state.gov for updated information on intercountry adoption in Ukraine.  For questions about this notice, please contact the Office of Children’s Issues at Adoption@state.gov.

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/Intercountry-Adoption-News/ukraine-update—changes-to-ukrainian-civil-code-affect-timefram.html

**********Families will need to plan to increase their in country accommodation budgets accordingly.

State Department Actions Denies More American Families’ Right To Adopt

No matter where a family chooses to adopt, as an American, where you choose to adopt should not be denied by our government. 

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Source: www.usatoday.com

Why does the State Department make it hard to adopt children from other countries?

Adoption from other countries is down 80 percent since its peak. Why do we make this hard? America is pro-adoption; the State Department should be, too.

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(Photo: Alexandre Meneghini/AP)

The State Department’s current anti-adoption polices are preventing Americans from becoming parents by opening their hearts and homes to orphans from around the world. These children are in desperate need of loving families, and tens of thousands of Americans are ready to adopt them. Yet intercountry adoption has fallen by nearly 80 percent since its peak in 2004.

This is not what was supposed to happen.

In April 2008, the United States joined the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, and the U.S. Department of State was given the mandate to improve the ability for the U.S. federal government to assist with intercountry adoptions. Unfortunately, the State Department’s mismanagement of its obligations under the convention has yielded disastrous results:  Children are far less safe, American parents are poorly served, and the Department of State has fractured relations with nearly every adoption stakeholder.

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New Rules For Adoptions From China Announced

feat_smUPDATE #1:  We are receiving numerous questions about "What exactly has changed?"  To clarify, at this early-stage of review, it appears that the following changes have taken place:

  • Youngest child in the home must be 3-years-old before a family may log-in their dossier
  • Single females may still adopt, but may have only 2 children living at home. Youngest child must be 3 years of age (formerly it was 6 years). Singles may  now be up to 50 years older than child (formerly 45)
  • Married couples may have up to 5 children in the home
  • Families must wait one full year after an adoption is complete before applying to adopt another child
  • Only one child may be adopted at a time  (unless a twin or sibling)

Continue reading.

Advocating for the Child’s Human Right to Family

Source: http://www.adoptioncouncil.org/

By: Elizabeth Bartholet

Important legislation has recently been introduced in Congress designed to transform the understanding of the rights of unparented children and relatedly of international adoption. This legislation amends the law governing the U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) annual reports on human rights violations. It requires that DOS consider for inclusion in future reports the violation of unparented children’s rights involved in shutting down international adoption and thus condemning children to ongoing institutionalization. For more information about this legislation, see http://cap.law.harvard.edu/current-legislation/.

All those who believe in children’s rights to family, all those who decry the restrictions on international adoption that have denied many tens of thousands of children the nurturing parents they need, should devote their best efforts to supporting this proposed legislation. It represents an extraordinary opportunity to transform the understanding of child rights in ways that are essential to transforming policy – policy that has been enormously destructive of child rights and interests.

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Adoption Notice Regarding Impact of January 27 Executive Order 01/01/2017

world The Office of Children’s Issues has received inquiries about the January 27, 2017 Executive Order on Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals, and how it may impact intercountry adoptions involving children from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Travelers, including adopted children, who are nationals of one of these countries, are not permitted to enter the United States or be issued an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa for 90 days, beginning January 27, 2017.

The Executive Order provides that “the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.” We are working closely with the Department of Homeland Security to identify exceptions to this Executive Order that are in the national interest.

We will update adoption.state.gov as more information becomes available. Please contact adoption@state.gov with inquiries related to specific intercountry adoptions already in process.

Uniting Obama and Donald Trump to save children – Washington Times

Source: www.washingtontimes.com

By Elizabeth Bartholet and Chuck Johnson

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Analysis / Opinion

The outgoing and incoming administrations are battling over pending regulations and appointments. The Obama administration wants to solidify its policies, and the transitional Trump team wants a free hand implementing new policies. Understandably, there is little room for agreement on many of these issues.

But there is one area where the president and the president-elect should be able to unite — protecting children globally against the horrors of institutional life, and enabling prospective parents to bring those children into their homes and hearts. The general public and politicians on both sides of the political aisle tend to agree that adoption is a good option for the world’s orphaned, abandoned and relinquished children. Yet, a small number of officials in the current Department of State have hijacked U.S. adoption policy, promoting positions never authorized by Congress and positions that it is unlikely President Obama would endorse were they brought to his attention.

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Breaking News for Babies: Congress Passes Mental Health Reform

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Congress Passes Mental Health Reform
Legislation Includes Grants for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

Huge news for infant and toddler advocates! Today, Congress passed broad mental health reform legislation, including new grants to promote infant and early childhood mental health! Rolled into the larger 21st Century Cures Act, the legislation was passed along bipartisan lines.

Spearheaded by ZERO TO THREE and advocates across the country, the inclusion of the infant and early childhood mental health grants signals that Congress has now recognized the need to begin comprehensive mental health reform where the foundations of strong mental health are laid – with young children, starting from birth. Specifically, the provision:

  • Authorizes $20 million for grants to develop, maintain or enhance infant and early childhood mental health promotion, intervention, and treatment programs.
  • Ensures that funded programs are grounded in evidence and are culturally and linguistically appropriate.
  • Allows funds to support:
    • age-appropriate promotion, early intervention, and treatment services;
    • training mental health clinicians in infant and early childhood mental health;
    • training for infant and early childhood mental health clinicians to integrate with other providers who work with young children and families; and
    • mental health consultation in early care and education programs. 

“This is an important victory toward improved infant mental health prevention, identification and treatment – and the first time the needs of very young children have been recognized by Congress,” said Matthew Melmed, Executive Director of ZERO TO THREE. “We are extremely grateful to the Congressional champions on this issue, including Senators Bill Cassidy and Chris Murphy, Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray, and Chairman Fred Upton and Ranking Member Frank Pallone for recognizing that babies’ mental health matters and fighting for them throughout this process.” Click here to read ZERO TO THREE’s full statement.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law soon.

Update on Intercountry Adoption Proposed Rule Advocacy!

Hello Everyone!

SaveAdoptionsNormalLogo Keep making calls – there are some new names coming in, but we could still use many more. Just a reminder that offices now have until MONDAY to get signatures on that letter. So, keep up that polite persistence.

Some news you may have already heard is the Small Business Administration letter and comments have been publicly shared.  A tremendous amount of gratitude for their advocacy and support in opposing these overreaching and detrimental proposed changes.  This might be info that is helpful to your Members of Congress to hear! Attached is a sample letter (thanks to MLJ Adoptions) using that resource. Check it out and consider using it yourself if you find it helpful.

Finally, these are the names who have signed onto this letter as of a few hours ago… If yours aren’t on here, another outreach might be helpful. And a quick thank you to the staffer is always remembered, if they did sign on.  Share, share, share! 

Senate

  • Blunt
  • Klobuchar
  • Risch
  • Wicker
  • Tillis
  • Thune (Tentative)
  • Lankford

House

  • Lawrence
  • Franks
  • Huizenga
  • Mullin
  • Barr
  • Stewart
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