Speakers Announced for 
International Social Service's Fall Conference!
The Ties That Bind:
Exploring the Causes & Consequences of Children Separated From Their Families Across International Borders
October 13, 2016
International Social Service is hosting its 6th Annual Fall Conference: The Ties That Bind: Exploring the Causes and Consequences of Children Separated From Their Families Across International Borders o n October 13th, 2016 in Baltimore, MD. This conference will focus on the legal and human rights of children separated from their biological families across international borders. Hear from researchers, lawyers, advocates, and individuals who have personally experienced the issue on each panel.
Register by August 31st to receive early bird pricing!


1. Taken: International Parental Abduction
Every day in America, approximately 6 children are abducted or retained by one of their parents in violation of the other parent's and the child's rights. The problem becomes compounded when the child is taken to a foreign country. Despite international treaties and domestic laws, many abducted or retained children are never returned to their left behind parent.  The consequences for these children are devastating and lifelong. The panel will examine the emotional cost paid by abducted children and what more needs to be done to protect the child's right to have access to both parents when it is in her best interest. 
  • Édeanna Barbirou, Executive Director, Return US Home, Inc.
  • Scott Berne, Parental Abduction Survivor, Child Advocate, and Board Member of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)
  • Melissa Kucinski, Attorney, MK Family Law
  • Moderator: Stephen Cullen, Principal, Miles & Stockbridge P.C.
2. Broken Bonds: The Re-homing of Adopted Children
Disrupted adoptions are not uncommon. The lack of post-adoption support for families is often at the center of these breakdowns in family bonds. However, adoptive parents are increasingly engaging in the practice of rehoming their adopted child without utilizing safeguards or best practices in placing children in alternative care. The impact on the child is enormous, and in some cases deadly. This panel will examine the practice of rehoming from the perspective of protecting the child's best interest and what measures need to be taken to prevent the practice and defend the rights of children.
  • Erin Bradley, Executive Director, Children's League of Massachusetts
  • Maureen Flatley, Child Welfare & Adoption Investigator and Activist
3. Children Alone: Unaccompanied Immigrant Minors
Over the past five years, tens of thousands of unaccompanied children have fled their homes and moved to a foreign country because of violence, war, natural disasters, and poverty. There are more people living outside of their birth countries, and the number of vulnerable children traveling alone is also on the rise. This panel will examine the toll that these children must pay to come to America in search of their family, or simply a safer life. The dialogue about immigration reform and domestic policies surrounding undocumented immigrant children will refocus on what is in the child's best interest, as well as what must be done to protect the child either here in the U.S., or upon their return to their home country.
  • Frida Espinosa Cárdenas, Transnational Family Support Coordinator, the Institute for Women in Migration (IMUMI)
  • Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, Deputy Assistant Director for Custody Management, Custody Programs Division, Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • Moderator: Kimberly Haynes, Director for Children Services, Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service (LIRS)
4. Biology and Family: Regulating Reproductive Technologies and Protecting the Rights of the Children
Advances in reproductive technology, including sperm and egg donation, embryo adoption, and surrogacy, have changed the landscape of who can have children quite dramatically. Infertile couples, gay and lesbian couples, and individuals without partners can now become parents without going through the process of adoption. While these technological advances have been of benefit to the prospective parent(s), less attention has been paid to the outcome of these medical advances: the child. This panel will examine the broad questions surrounding the rights of the child in these cases. Experts will also examine what regulations need to be in place to promote ethical practice in reproductive technologies and will explore the larger social context within which the primacy of a biological definition of family exists.
  • Katy Doran, Donor-Conceived Advocate; Senior Fellow, The Coalition Against Reproductive Trafficking
  • Travis Rieder, PhD, Assistant Director of Education Initiatives & Research Scholar, Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University
  • Moderator: Felicity Northcott, Director of External Partnerships and International Services, International Social Service-USA

Stay tuned for more information on additional speakers.
Email communications@iss-usa.org with any questions.

Our 2016 Fall Conference is sponsored by:

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