Explanation of Position by John F. Sammis, United States Deputy Representative to ECOSOC, on L. 50 - Alternative Care of Children, in the Third Committee of the Sixty-fourth Session of the United Nations General Assembly

John F. Sammis
United States Deputy Representative to ECOSOC 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
November 20, 2009


Mr. Chairperson, the United States is committed to protecting the well-being and rights of children worldwide and we believe strongly in creating healthy, supportive, and safe environments for children to thrive and grow.  We commend the Government of Brazil and others for undertaking this positive initiative to underscore the well-being of children worldwide, particularly those who are vulnerable and in need of care.

The United States welcomes the spirit embodied in the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children and believes that the Guidelines offer useful policy orientations for the protection of children without parental care.

We remain concerned, however, about the overbroad scope of the Guidelines.  In the United States, different aspects of the care of unaccompanied children are formulated locally and different approaches are used to ensure the well-being of unaccompanied children.  We would like to underscore that the purpose and nature of the Guidelines, as stated therein, is to set out desirable orientations for policy and practice.

Our understanding, as was stated in consultations, is that these Guidelines are not obligatory or binding upon States, but rather reflect useful recommendations states may use as they develop domestic policy affecting children without parental care.

I thank you, Mr. Chairperson.


PRN: 2009/282