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October, 2007

Since my last update in May, there have been several significant developments and events that should be of interest to our members.


By all accounts, WorldForum2007 was a resounding success. 250 delegates from twelve countries of the continents of Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia and the Americas gathered together for this 3 day event which was organized around key themes related to the Millennium Development Goals. Our congratulations go to the chief organizer, T.K. Mathew and the staff of Deepalaya who along with the India Alliance for Child Rights were exceptional hosts. Most memorable, were the children who are participants in the various inner city programs that are offered by Deepalaya. Their presence and talent brought a special spirit to our proceedings throughout the event and, no doubt, remain most prominent in the memories of those who attended.

A series of interesting and engaging panels brought speakers from around the world to focus on such areas as eradication of poverty, child mortality and HIV/AIDS, promotion of gender equality, government’s role and global partnerships. Of special significance was a youth panel which reinforced the importance of youth engagement in the achievement of the goals. A series of sight visits to observe various child and youth programs of prevention, treatment and education in high risk communities within Delhi was a very powerful experience for all delegates.

Most significantly, at the end of the WorldForum2007, all delegates unanimously supported a Delhi Declaration which will help to strengthen IFCW’s communications and strategy at a global level. This declaration will be particularly helpful and supportive of our work and engagement through various NGO sub committees of the United Nations. The declaration reads as follows:


We the NGO leaders, child rights activists and educators representing organizations from Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, West Indies, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States of America participated in the 18th Annual WorldForum 2007 organized by Deepalaya in collaboration with the India Alliance for Child Rights and International Forum for Child Welfare. The theme of this forum was – “Millennium Development Goals and their Implications for Children”.

We call on Government, Civil Society and Corporate World to come together in partnership to act and ensure that targets of the Millennium Development Goals are met specifically as they impact our children. We call on the people of the world to look at their cultural practices and begin to do away with those practices that cause harm to women and children and deny our young people a voice.

1. We shall exchange information and ideas on the programmes planned and implemented for the development of women and children as well as for the achievement of MDGs, with all stakeholders within and outside the respective countries;
2. We shall partner with all stakeholders within the respective countries as well as similar stakeholders in other countries to plan, implement, evaluate and take timely action to achieve the set targets;
3. We shall collaborate with the International Forum for Child Welfare and other child focused international organizations, the problems being faced in the achievement of the set goals, as well as any new perspective gained, for appropriate lobbying and advocacy;
4. We commit to this declaration made on the 24th August 2007, at the 18th WorldForum 2007, to ourselves and the entire humanity.

General Assembly

A very successful annual meeting of all IFCW members was held on August 23 at the InterContinental Hotel in New Delhi. While the resources and infrastructure of the IFCW is limited to the capacity of its membership, it is clear that the past year has been one of consolidation and growth. Our treasurer, Sharon Osborne, provided a comprehensive report for the past year which spoke to the solid foundation upon which we continue to build. Sharon and her staff at Children’s Home Society are to be commended for their volunteer leadership and support in ensuring all financial systems and our audit results were in good order. Alan Davis, our founding President and long time member, Mary Ellen Rood, provided a plan for capturing the history of IFCW. They were applauded for their strong leadership in helping to reconstruct the developmental milestones and events that have occurred over the past two decades to bring the IFCW to its present form. Elections were held and two members, Niresh Ramklass and T.K. Mathew were acclaimed as Members-at-Large to round out the Executive Committee of the IFCW as follows:

1. Bruce Rivers, President (Chief Executive, Community Living Toronto, Toronto, Canada)
2. Eeva Kuuskoski, Vice President (Secretary General Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, Helsinki, Finland)
3. Sharon Osborne, Treasurer (President/CEO, Children’s Home Society of Washington, Seattle, USA
4. Elba Montalvo, Secretary (Executive Director, Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Inc., New York, USA)
5. T.K. Mathew, Member-at-Large (Chief Executive, Deepalaya, New Delhi, India)
6. Niresh Ramklass, Member-at-Large (Chief Executive, Cape Town Child Welfare Society, South Africa)
7. Ray Dean Salvosa, Member-at-Large (Managing Director, Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation, Manila, The Philippines)
8. Catriona Williams, Deputy President (Chief Executive, Children in Wales, Cardiff, Wales)
9. Mauri Upanne, Deputy President (Executive Director, Central Union for Child Welfare, Helsinki, Finland)

New Members

One of the key strategic priorities over the past two years has related to membership recruitment and retention. We are delighted to report that significant progress has been made in this area and we are very pleased to welcome and introduce a number of new members to our organization including:

CARF International, Canada – Voting Member
Raksha M. Bhayana, Canada – Associate Member
Roxana Amini, USA – Associate Member
Anglicare Victoria, Australia – Voting Member
Indian Council for Child Welfare, India – Voting Member
Action for Self Reliance & Alternatives (ASRA), India – Voting Member
Little Angels High School, India – Voting Member
ASHA Deep Foundation, India – Voting Member
Trimurti, India – Voting Member


At the end of the meeting in New Delhi, our Deputy President, Catriona Williams took the podium to announce the location for WorldForum2008. The City of Cardiff, in Wales, the United Kingdom has been approved by the Executive Committee as the location for next year’s event. Catriona provided delegates with an exceptional audio visual presentation on the venue and spoke to the conference focus of early intervention and prevention. WorldForum2008 is expected to take place mid September with further detail coming your way over the next weeks and months with regard to a call for papers and related information. This upcoming event promises to provide IFCW members with an exceptional opportunity to exchange best practice, research and
build partnerships with global and European delegates. Stay tuned!

Finally, please keep in touch. We have further developed our website and will be launching new features for the members only section that will provide you with the opportunity to dialogue on various issues of interest. I can be reached through the president’s email address or directly as below.

Respectfully submitted,

Bruce Rivers
International Forum for Child Welfare

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