ISS-USA January Newsletter
A message from our Executive Director
Dear Friends of ISS-USA,

The start of 2016 brought several immediate challenges to ISS-USA.  First, our move did not go exactly as planned, and many extra hands were required to help us get settled in. Second, Baltimore just experienced the largest snowfall in history. In recent years, our region has taken to naming our snow storms, and this one was aptly called "Snowzilla."  Close to two and a half feet (75cm) fell this past weekend.  While we are experiencing big hurdles getting to our brand new office, what was most heartwarming about both of these events was the degree of collaboration extended to overcome the obstacles in our way.  Many of the staff helped one another to get settled, to rearrange desks, to clean up, to care of our many plants, and to unpack.  During the snowstorm, some of the best photos are of whole neighborhoods coming together to shovel their streets, walkways and driveways, where a plow has yet to visit.  Adversity is best overcome through collaboration.

In 2016, ISS-USA looks forward to strengthening many existing partnerships and building new partners alike.  We look forward to expanding our network, and renewing ties with those we work with every day. Collaboration is the only way we can protect vulnerable adults, children and families and connect them to the services and support they need across borders.

Best wishes,
Julie
ISS-USA Has Moved Offices

ISS-USA has relocated to 22 Light Street, centrally located in downtown Baltimore's business district. We are very excited to work in our newly-constructed, open space that facilitates enhanced collaboration and communication. We have also upgraded our technology systems which enables us to more effectively communicate with clients, partners, and colleagues both nationwide and internationally.

Our new address is:


Please update your records with our new address. Read the full move announcement here.
   
A look at ISS-USA's office doors
Inside ISS-USA's New Space
ISS General Secretariat Publishes Report on Child Abandonment & Relinquishment in Vietnam

ISS General Secretariat (ISS-GS) published a report titled "Qualitative research into the root causes of child abandonment and child relinquishment in Vietnam".   With support from UNICEF Vietnam and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA), ISS-GS researched child abandonment and relinquishment in 2011-2012, which included interviewing 35 mothers, fathers or other family members who had relinquished a child. While poverty was cited as the main reason for relinquishment by study participants, the research showed that it was only when one or more negative events impacted an already-struggling family that the family decided to relinquish a child. 
What Our Clients Are Saying

"For all you and your coworkers, supervisors and managers do, I would like to thank you. To me, you are the voice of your entire group. With the professionalism, warmth and level of care you have displayed, I am forever indebted to you. You have taken a less than desirable situation and have dug in, pooled resources, brainstormed for helpful scenarios and tried to help my niece and nephews. I have no idea how long you have done what you do but in my opinion, you are a treasure."

- Stephen Elledge to Katrina Clemons, ISS-USA Intercountry Case Manager 
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Urgent Need for Regulation of
International Surrogacy and Artificial Reproductive Technologies

In 2016, International Social Service (ISS) is calling for for urgent regulation of international surrogacy and other artificial reproductive technology practices in cross-border contexts. This builds on ISS' call for action for "Preserving the best interests of children". It is estimated that at least 20,000 children are born each year through these methods, and these numbers are increasing. A lack of regulation has resulted in potentially dangerous activities of intermediary agencies, specialized clinics, and candidates for parenthood. ISS-USA is joining the ISS Network in seeking to enforce best practices, advocate for childrens' rights, and ensure the safety of all children.   Continue
National Human Trafficking Awareness Month

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Children and youth involved with child welfare due to abuse or neglect and then placed in foster care or group homes - as well as youth who are involved with the justice system, are homeless, or have run away - are particularly at high risk of being trafficked.  Stay informed about human trafficking with  these resources .
ISS-USA Helps Adult with Complex Medical Issues Return to the U.S.
 
When a woman suffering from cancer, diabetes and recovering from extensive surgery needed to return to the U.S., ISS-USA coordinated her repatriation services and advocated for her safety throughout her journey. Due to the client's critical medical conditions, inability to walk, and need for both an oxygen tank and stretcher while traveling, the case became very complex. The embassy had a very difficult time finding an airline that could accommodate the stretcher and oxygen for this client to protect her during the flight. Her situation became more complicated when her travel schedule kept changing and was cancelled over three times. Finally, an airline was able to accommodate her needs and she was escorted by two people during this portion of the journey. ISS-USA ensured that upon her arrival, a Repatriation Coordinator was there to help her, and that an ambulance would assist the client in traveling from the airport to the hospital. ISS-USA also ensured that the Repatriation Coordinator could assist the client in applying for benefits upon her arrival.
*Please note all identifying information has been changed to ensure client confidentiality.

* Please note  all identifying  information  has been changed to ensure client confidentiality. 
Looking for a New Years Resolution? 
Consider Giving Back to ISS-USA in 2016

As we begin a new year, we often make resolutions to improve ourselves, take on a challenge, or help others. In 2016, you can help advance the work of ISS-USA by making a commitment to give back and help connect vulnerable children, adults, and families, separated by international borders, to the services and support that they need. 

When you donate to ISS-USA, you are helping to...
  • Provide comprehensive training to legal, judicial and social service professionals involved in finding permanent homes for children with family overseas
  • Ensure that judges who make decisions on behalf of children separated from their families have access to necessary information to make a decision in the best interest of the child
  • Connect an international adoptee with his or her biological relatives
  • Support the training of social workers on best practices in international family finding, conducting home studies to ensure residences are safe for children, or alerting authorities when a child may be in danger
  • Support the rights of all children to be protected from abuse, neglect, trafficking or abandonment.  
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International Social Service, USA Branch | 22 Light St., Suite 200, Baltimore, MD 21202 
443-451-1200 | communications@iss-usa.org
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