Community-Based Child Care in Ethiopia vs. the
Individual Centered Model in the United States: A
Closer Examination of Family Group Decision Making
in Child Placement
By Amy Gilbert*
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is the oldest
independent country in Africa, rich with history and cultural
tradition.1 Although Ethiopia is the second most populous nation and
one of the fastest growing non-oil economies on the African
continent, it still remains one of the poorest and most primitive
countries in the world.2 Throughout its history, Ethiopia’s diverse
geo-climate and socio-economic disasters have caused devastating
floods, droughts, landslides, and widespread human and animal
disease epidemics.3 Thus, tribal communities play a vital role in
Ethiopia, where extended family networks developed as instrumental
and functional mechanisms to help relatives and friends during times
* Juris Doctor Candidate, expected May 2014, Loyola University of Chicago
School of Law; Bachelor of Arts, Sociology, University of Michigan. I would like
to thank the supportive editors at CLRJ, the wonderful people of Ethiopia for
teaching me about their culture, and my parents, for their endless love and support.
1 See Ethiopia Profile, BBC NEWS, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-
13349398 (last updated Dec. 19, 2012) (describing Ethiopia’s unique cultural
heritage as the home of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and serving as a symbol of
African independence as the only African country that has never been colonized);
see also UNICEF: MINISTRY OF FIN. & ECON. DEV. & THE UNITED NATIONS IN ETH.,
INVESTING IN BOYS AND GIRLS IN ETHIOPIA: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE 5
(Edmasu Nebebe & Roger Pearson eds., 2012) [hereinafter INVESTING IN BOYS
AND GIRLS IN ETHIOPIA] (describing the over eighty ethnic groups of the country).
2 SABINA ALKIRE & MARIA EMMA SANTOS, OXFORD POVERTY & HUMAN DEV.
INITIATIVE, MULTIDIMENSIONAL POVERTY INDEX 1, 8 (2010),
Ethiopia as the second poorest developing nation in the world); Ethiopia Profile,
supra note 1.
3 INVESTING IN BOYS AND GIRLS IN ETHIOPIA, supra note 1, at 10.