Letter: Red Cross list of war babies

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Sir: The case of four-year-old Edita Keranovic ("Family furious as judge says war baby must stay", 18 February) highlights the reasons why the Red Cross takes specific steps to ensure that families living in armed conflict situations either remain together or are reunited as soon as possible.

The British Red Cross keeps a register for all children coming into the country without their parents or usual carers. This register allows us to hold, in confidence, details on young people which will help us to locate them and restore family contact should there be an enquiry from a parent or close relative via the Red Cross International Tracing and Messages Services. We ask that anyone looking after a child from abroad makes sure that we have this vital information.

No doubt there will be a number of cases similar to Edita's where foster parents in Britain wish to adopt Bosnian children in their charge.

The Red Cross urges that enquiries are first undertaken, and properly followed up, through the Red Cross, to find out if relatives are still alive and able to care for such children.

In our experience, tracing enquiries can take some time and a period of least two years should elapse before any adoption procedures begin.

This allows time for information to be gathered and a family reunion to take place if circumstances allow.

SANDRA SINGER

British Red Cross

London SW1

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