Haiti grapples with task of helping its vulnerable children

Haiti grapples with task of helping its vulnerable children
An orphan boy stands next to a staircase while looking out from the Nest of Hope orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Thursday, June 28, 2018. A new program is cited by Haitian and foreign experts as evidence of the government's determination to modernize and strengthen an array of child-oriented policies and practices _ and lessen reliance on foreign-based charities and mission groups. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s government is showing a newfound determination to improve the deplorable status of the country’s children.

Many of Haiti’s youths live on the streets; hundreds of thousands are domestic workers in other families’ homes. About 30,000 are consigned to orphanage-like institutions ranging in quality from adequate to abominable.

The government is looking to close orphanages that fail to improve. And some children are benefiting from a partnership between the state child welfare agency and several international child-service organizations that is trying to bring foster care to Haiti.

In a country and region with no tradition of formal foster-care systems, they are recruiting and training Haitians who buy into the idea that being a foster parent is a noble mission.