Will Sanchez, Vice President of Implementation, and Margaret Elizabeth McKissack, Vice President of External Affairs traveled to Quito, Ecuador, last week to participate in a collaborative meeting between 7 South American governments, Italy, the Organization of America States, and other organizations working on behalf of institutionalized children. Ecuador and Italy hosted the conference and the other countries in attendance included Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.
    The focus of the two-day conference was to share processes and practices for inter-country adoption. Veronica Cando, Vice Minister of Social Inclusion for the Government of Ecuador welcomed the group and set the focus of the meeting, “Adoption in a family through inter-country adoption is a right when children cannot live in a family in their country of origin.”
    Vice Minister Cando shared the progress Ecuador has made for domestic adoptions. “Welcome to a country where today adoptions take 9 months.” She commented that countries must simplify and accelerate the adoption process so children do not stay in institutions.
    BEB had the privilege of presenting Children First Software to the country delegates, mainly including representatives of the central adoption authorities. Sanchez shared, “Data has power. When you do not have information, you cannot make decisions on behalf of the children.” CFS is a free, comprehensive software solution that can digitize a country’s entire child welfare system. It gives children a digital identity and expedites the process of moving them from institutions to families.