For the first time in our organization's history, we are hosting the annual International Social Service Casework Coordinators meeting this week. These meetings are central to the functioning of the network, and the development of positive collegial relationships. While social workers are the heart of all well-functioning international child protection systems, there are professionals and volunteers from many disciplines who are pivotal to the successful protection of vulnerable children, adults and families. 

It is in memory of two of those devoted and determined promoters of international social work that this edition of Family Routes is dedicated. Both have been tireless advocates for the necessity of international social work, and both have inspired and emboldened me to keep pressing forward in a world where child protection is NOT YET the priority but NEEDS to be.

Margaret Lewis, the wife of International Social Service President Doug Lewis, was a consummate believer in the power of our network. She was a friend and Encourager in Chief to me and my colleagues at countless meetings all over the world for many years.

Cassaundra Rainey, Vice President of Member Services, Child Welfare League of America, was one of the few who understood the importance of international social work. She always made room for us at the table, especially during key discussions about best practices in the U.S.

With a saddened heart we keep moving forward because children depend on it and Margaret and Cassaundra would want nothing less,
Julie Rosicky
Executive Director
International Social Service-USA
Program Updates:
76 Vulnerable People Received Support & Protection
  • 36 adults and  9 children, including  7 unaccompanied minorswere safely returned to the U.S. from foreign countries to escape abuse, violence, or other crises last month
  • 31 children, like Mia were supported, protected, and reunited through cross-border case management services last month
Building Community, Building Hope
National Child Abuse Prevention Month

To prevent child abuse and neglect, we must promote family well-being and build strong, nurturing communities that are supportive of families. 
Looking to learn more? Check out these Tip Sheets for families, Resource Guides for professionals, and ways to get involved in your neighborhood. 

Are you concerned that a child overseas is being abused, neglected, or harmed? Contact us and we can check on his or her well-being. 
Upcoming Events
Watch out, Baltimore:   International Social Workers Gather for Annual Meeting

We're excited to welcome international caseworkers to the annual Casework Coordinators Meeting this week! 

During this three-day annual convening, which is taking place for the first time in the U.S., international network colleagues will discuss current case practice models and trends. Caseworkers will brainstorm how to collaboratively provide social services to more children in need, including migrant children, victims of trafficking, victims of international parental kidnapping, children in foster care, and children who have been abused and neglected.

We look forward to working with international colleagues and finding solutions for more children and families who need cross-border services. Follow us on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn to catch more updates from the meeting.
Social Workers Bring Hope - Part 2
The Importance of Investing in Child Protection

The second installment of our three-part blog series examines events in Guatemala over the past ten years, including the closing of its intercountry adoption program, the influx of migrating children from the region, and the recent fire at a children's home. These different situations all demonstrate that investing in social work and child protection systems is vital to prevent child abuse and support future generations of children.

International Updates
Supporting Children with Disabilities in Vietnam

Photo courtesy of International Social Service GS
International Social Service General Secretariat (GS) completed Phase One of a collaborat ive project to support children with disabilities in residential care in Vietnam. A longside International Social Service Australia, SPOON Foundation, and various organizational partners, the GS trained nearly 200 front-line staff who care for kids with disabilities and directly benefited 420 children. These children now have a comprehensive file, individual projects, and a Lifebook that tracks their developments and helps them thrive.

Participant Feedback

"Before, it was hard to guess what the child wanted, but after training, I can predict what they really want...I can help children become more confident and socialize with others."
- Caregiver in Kon Tum

"... Now the staff think of ways to help the child progressing - this project has supported the caregivers efficiently."-  Caregiver in Ho Chi Minh

Photo courtesy of International Social Service GS
Nowhere to Call Home: 
Statistics on Street Children Around the World

April 12th marked International Day for Street Children. It's important for governments and agencies to grasp how many children live, work, and spend time on the streets in order to develop programs and policies to help these children who are at serious risk of abuse and exploitation. For more statistics, visit Consortium for Street Children.
Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind:
Mia Confronts Her Abuser Back Home in Germany

Mia Mia, a 16 year old from Germany, was spending the school year in Oregon as part of an exchange program. During a peer-led support group, Mia revealed that her uncle had repeatedly sexually assaulted her. The peer leader told her principal about the abuse, who then reported it to the Portland Police. The school provided Mia with counseling and connected her with a local social service agency. Because Mia had been in imminent danger of abuse in Germany, the Portland-based agency asked us to conduct a Protective Service Alert. We referred the case to our partner in Germany, who immediately notified the German police to bring in Mia's uncle for questioning. Although Mia will need to testify against her uncle, her family is now aware of what happened, is making sure she is safe, and is supporting her during this tough time.  The cooperation of all parties and due diligence in reporting the abuse was the key to a successful outcome.

*Names and locations have been changed to ensure the privacy of the student.

International Social Service, USA Branch | 22 Light St., Suite 200, Baltimore, MD 21202 
443-451-1200 |