The Way Forward Project Report

Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI)

Over the last decade, research in basic human development has revealed that institutional care - particularly when used to serve children under five - is not an appropriate form of alternative care, and instead of protecting children can put them at further risk of harm. Efforts have been made to transition international thinking away from the use of orphanage-based systems and toward providing family-based care.  With this in mind, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) The Way Forward Project brought together a group of international experts to discuss opportunities and challenges facing governmental and non-governmental organization leaders in six African nations (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, and Uganda) as they work to develop systems of care that serve children in and through their families.

Four Working Groups comprised of leaders from the legal, medical, social work, and development communities were asked to consider ways in which these six African nations might build upon their current efforts to preserve and reunify families and when family preservation proves impossible, to connect children with families through adoption and guardianship.  In particular, these groups were asked to evaluate how the United States government, non- governmental and faith based communities might work to enhance and support such efforts.

Each working group was asked to address one of the following subjects:

1. Family Preservation and Reunification 

2. Interim Care Alternatives and Foster Care 

3. Permanency- Guardianship, Domestic and International Adoption 

4. Legal and Government infrastructure

The Working Groups first convened in Washington, D.C. on February 9-11th, 2011 to begin work on their findings and reports and reconvened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 24-27, 2011 to continue their work.  The findings and recommendations of these four groups served as the foundation for a final international policy summit attended by high-level African and U.S. government officials, civic and development leaders, corporations, foundations, and faith-based and community organizations.

For further information about this project, please visit:

©GHR and W.K. Kellogg Foundation