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INTERNATIONAL FORUM FOR CHILD WELFARE
As 2006 draws to a close, it is timely to reflect
upon the accomplishments and challenges of the past year, provide
you with an update on the recent developments and to wish you all
a healthy and productive 2007.
THE YEAR IN REVIEW
At last year's WorldForum in Tallinn, Estonia, and
the year earlier in Argentina, delegates to our General Assembly
identified membership recruitment, retention and services as the
key priority and challenge facing the IFCW in the future. In fact,
a motion was tabled and passed to devote resources to study the
issue and develop plans for addressing strategy into the future.
Your Executive Committee heard that message clearly and is pleased
to report our activity and progress on all fronts with these issues
over the past 12 months. However; before going into that detail
I just wanted to reflect upon some of our current accomplishments
and welcome some of our new members.
This year we were delighted to welcome Richard Klarberg
and the Council on Accreditation which is based in New York City;
Brussels based Eurochild of which our current secretary, Catriona
Williams is the president; I India and Mr. Prabkahar; Vicki Wagner
and The National Network for Youth based in Washington D.C., Save
the Orphan Children and Saroj Lamichhane from Nepal and CARF International-Canada
and Daniel Stavert as new or recent members to the IFCW.
As well, significant strides have been made with new
member recruitment and we anticipate a positive increase in numbers
through recruitment efforts with organizations such as Covenant
House and Community Living in Toronto, Canada; Pretoria Child Welfare
Society and Child Welfare South Africa; SOS Children's Village from
Finland; Paniamor from Costa Rica; Commulife and the Puerto Rican
Family Institute from New York City; Living Waters Trust of India;
and the Child Welfare League of America and The Children's Home
Society of America.
As a membership based, international organization
which for the past 17 years has dedicated itself to fostering cooperation
and information exchange in the field of child welfare, many hands
have helped to further the cause. To accomplish its goals, IFCW
has always relied on the talents and resources of its membership..a
situation that is as relevant today as it was in the beginning when
the founding meeting occurred in Haikko, Finland in 1989. As Mauri
Upanne and Eeva Kuuskoski from Finland, Rolando Quiros from Costa
Rica and Alan Davis from the USA could attest, it was a team effort
from the outset and a clear expression of commitment to a very important
With modest dues to support its work throughout the
years, IFCW has no 'built in' staff capacity or infrastructure.
Rather, it relies on the talent, commitment, goodwill and resources
of its executive committee and broader membership to get the job
done. With that in mind, I want to pause at this point and acknowledge
the outstanding leadership and contribution that a number of our
members have provided:
- Case in point, Alan Davis of the National Council on Child
Abuse and Family Violence who has hosted, supported, developed
and maintained the website for IFCW on a volunteer basis.
- Similarly, Peter Hesse of Germany has represented IFCW in
Geneva while Elba Montalvo of the Committee for Hispanic Children
and Families has represented the IFCW at various committees
and conferences at the United Nations in New York City.
- Sharon Osborne of Children's Home Society of Washington has
extended herself and her organization well beyond the call of
duty as our treasurer par excellence; Catriona Williams of Children
in Wales has provided a critical link to Europe and ongoing
support and leadership as our secretary.
Of great significance over the past year is the contribution
that Mauri Upanne and Maarit Kuikka from the Central Union of Child
Welfare, Finland have made in stepping forward to take the lead
responsibility for surveying our membership on key issues and challenges
and seeking their advice. That information, which was collected
and analyzed by staff in Finland earlier this year, has been invaluable
in informing our current situation and future strategic directions.
MEMBERSHIP SURVEY RESULTS
85 members were surveyed through a combination of
email and hard mail and in the end we received a response from 37%
of those questioned which is not an overwhelming but a decent response
rate of return. So what did you tell us?
In response to the questions for organizations as
to why they originally became members of IFCW you spoke to:
the fact that members work with and represent
all children of the world factored most prominently
IFCW's promotion of the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child,
IFCW's sponsorship of the annual WorldForum
its consultative status with the United
Nations as the major motivation for belonging to IFCW.
When asked to evaluate IFCW membership benefits, the
most valuable were determined as follows:
networking and professional relationship
exchange of best practice and access
to CEO's and organizations worldwide;
liaison and consultative status with
the United Nations; and,
an opportunity to participate in global
advocacy were most important.
We asked our members what their three top priorities
were going into the future and you identified:
networking and professional relationship
building, exchange of information and best practice as the most
our annual WorldForum as the most valuable
followed by some of our communications
and our website, in particular.
With the aforementioned information in hand, your
executive committee carefully considered the current environment
and following extensive discussion and debate arrived at 2 key strategic
directions that were presented at our recent General Assembly meeting
which was held in Vancouver, British Columbia on November 20, 2006
Member Partnerships, Member Matching
or the Twining of Members : This direction relates to a new
membership initiative that would see the IFCW facilitating membership
matches between those who practice and provide service in developing
countries with those who do the same or similar things in developed
countries. We believe that such arrangements would constitute a
tangible and unique benefit to belonging to IFCW. We foresee that
these member partnerships would provide the direct catalyst for
a more immediate and practical exchange of information, research,
knowledge, policy and best practice through relationship building,
employee exchange, opportunities like joint fundraising and other
initiatives limited only by the creativity of its participants.
Web Development : Turning to our
second strategic priority, website revitalization and development
are critical. Communicating at a global level has changed dramatically
since IFCW began in 1989. The executive committee proposes to invest
in upgrading and expanding our website to create more links and
an in time chat room capacity for members through which requests,
information, knowledge and resources can be shared on a more immediate
basis - IFCW would provide the engine.
So in addition to our annual WorldForum as well as
our continued presence at the United Nations in both Geneva and
New York, we will focus new member partnerships and an expanded
global web presence as the membership strategies to best serve and
support our members through the next decade.
By all accounts, WorldForum2006, which was co-hosted
with the Child Welfare League of Canada and the Canadian Provinces
of Alberta and British Columbia was a great success. More than 1,000
delegates from all parts of Canada and many parts of the globe came
together to address new trends, promising practices and innovative
approaches to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect. An
outstanding job of organizing this event was accomplished by staff
in British Columbia and the various keynote addresses and workshops
were very well received.
One of the key accomplishments of this most recent
WorldForum was the engagement and attendance of more than 20 delegates
from developing nations through funding support that was made available
by the Canadian International Development Agency. Most significant,
were those relationships and partnerships that began and will continue
to develop into the future. An impromptu session on building partnerships
was key in establishing a foundation upon which we will build moving
into next year's WorldForum2007 which is scheduled to take place
August 21-24, 2007 in New Delhi, India. Similar efforts are underway
to secure funding to support the attendance of those who do not
have the financial resources to participate in future worldforums.
The IFCW has already requested funding support from the Commonwealth
Foundation and other avenues will be explored as well. For current
and up to date information on this year's upcoming event please
go to www.worldforum2007.org
GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2006
As previously indicated, our annual meeting was held
on November 20, 2006 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Nigel
Fisher, Executive Director of UNICEF, Canada was our keynote speaker
and did a great job of highlighting the merits of global partnerships
in child welfare. Our business meeting and budget presentation were
successfully completed and elections for the Executive Committee
were also held. We honoured Alan Davis for continuing to provide
leadership through the hosting of our website, and Catriona Williams
and Mauri Upanne as they retired from their posts as secretary and
vice president for IFCW.
The outcome of those elections has resulted in a strong
and representative executive committee as follows:
Vice president - Eeva Kuukoski. Eeva is the Secretary
General of the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare based in Helsinki,
Treasurer - Sharon Osborne. Sharon is the President
and CEO of the Children's Home Society based in Seattle, Washington,
Secretary - Elba Montalvo. Elba is the Executive Director
of the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families based in New
York City, USA.
Member at Large - T.K. Mathew. T.K. is the Chief Executive
of Deepalaya based in New Delhi, India.
Member at Large - Niresh Ramklass. Niresh is the Chief
Executive of Cape Town Child Welfare Society based in Cape Town,
Member at Large - Ray Salvosa. Ray is the Executive
Director of the Consuelo Foundation based in Manila, The Philippines.
Deputy President - Catriona Williams. Catriona is
the Chief Executive of Children in Wales based in Cardiff, Wales.
Deputy President - Mauri Upanne. Mauri is the Executive
Director of the Central Union for Child Welfare based in Helsinki,
Special Advisor - Rolando Qurios Fonseca was appointed
but will not be able to serve due to his untimely death .
Finally, I will be continuing as your President for
the second year of my term and I am the Chief Executive for Community
Living Toronto, which is based in Toronto, Canada.
In addition to the foregoing it was agreed that Elba
Montalvo would continue to represent IFCW at the United Nations
in New York City and Catriona Williams of Wales and Maarit Kuikka
of Finland have agreed to represent IFCW in Geneva for 2007.
When I stepped forward to take on the role of president
last year in Estonia, I did so with the clear understanding that
this would be a team effort. It has been just that and I would like
to thank all of our members who have contributed to the work of
IFCW throughout the past year. I look forward to their continued
efforts throughout 2007.
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