JUNE 2022



A Quarterly Newsletter by International Social Service-USA

Reunited and it Feels So Good

It was a happy reunion of ISS Directors and general secretariat staff at their informal meeting June 13-14 in Geneva, Switzerland. Though the group has been meeting via Zoom, at least bi-monthly since the onset of the pandemic, the last face to face gathering was in November 2019. There were approximately 16-18 people meeting face to face joined by 7 or so members around the globe via Zoom. The group wasted no time with happy hugs hello and getting to know its newest members, some of whom joined ISS but had yet to meet anyone else face to face. The agenda was ambitious and packed with discussions on communications, the centenary, network training, the establishment of working groups, Moldova’s efforts on behalf of children and mothers in Ukraine fleeing the war, equity and permanency, diversity and inclusion. Susan Jacobs, Chair of the governing board provided an update on the upcoming International Council Meeting, which will be held in Belgrade, Serbia in October, elections, and the Price Waterhouse, Cooper membership dues evaluation and recommendations process. Jean Ayoub, Secretary General presided over the meeting and shared his progress on an ambitious, multi-year, artificial intelligence project, complete with a demo. While we have been productive remotely, there is no doubt for all who were able to join the meeting- we are better, together.

For the Love of Kinship Care

*Miguel, a timid, seven year old who only spoke Spanish came into the state of New Jersey’s care after his parents tragically died in a car accident. Miguel previously lived in El Salvador with his parents, aunt, and cousins. For the last year he resided in the U.S. with his parents.

With the loss of Miguel’s parents, finding him a home was the first priority: not just any home, but with family. A New Jersey Social Worker determined to get Miguel placed with kin if at all possible, contacted ISS-USA for assistance.

ISS-USA advocated for Miguel’s Aunt, Jesenia in El Salvador to be considered for placement. She was eager to take her nephew in. ISS-USA conducted a home study of Jesenia’s home. The home study was very positive.

Travel arrangements were made for Miguel to return to El Salvador, where he was greeted by his Aunt Jesenia and cousins. Upon arrival, Miguel dropped his backpack and ran over to his aunt and cousins and embraced them with tears in his eyes.

Jesenia knew that Miguel had a long healing process ahead of him. She did as well, as she had lost her sister, Miguel’s mother. She knew Miguel would need therapy to help him cope with his parent's death.

“If he can’t be with his parents, there is no better home for him than here, with family.” -Jesenia 

*Names and places and all identifying details have been completely sanitized to protect the anonymity and confidentiality of the people served by ISS-USA and the people we work with.

Refer a Case

Let's Talk About It

The benefits of reunification are well documented. Reunification increases a child’s sense of connectedness, which leads to stronger self-image and self-esteem, among many other positive physical and emotional health outcomes. Reunification also helps children stay connected to their culture, in some cases language, and family support networks. Consequently, there are mandates in all fifty states for child welfare agencies to perform reasonable efforts to keep or return children with/to their families.

So why is it that reunification across international borders is still seen as too difficult, or in some cases, not even considered at all?

Learn More

From Intern to Repatriation Case Manager

Welcome Neisha Henly

Neisha Henly joined ISS-USA as an intern with the U.S. Repatriation Program in January 2022 while attending the University of Baltimore. She is completing her bachelor’s degree in international studies next month. Neisha currently lives in Baltimore but was raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She has previous experience providing administrative support in elementary and secondary public schools. She is exploring a master’s degree in the areas of international education and international sports governance. She has a passion for helping U.S. citizens abroad and looks forward to gaining experience with an international organization. Her future goals include joining the Foreign Service.  

Work with ISS-USA

Welcome Danielle Brownson, Future Social Worker

Danielle Brownson was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. She is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Baltimore in her final year. This fall, she will be finishing her last semester and graduating with a criminal justice degree with minors in victim studies and psychology. Danielle is passionate about helping people and is excited to work with cross border children, adults and families at ISS-USA. Following graduation, she plans to work towards a master's degree in social work to fulfill her ultimate career goal of becoming a victim's advocate. In her free time, Danielle enjoys spending time with family, watching movies and television, coloring, shopping, and discovering new music.

Intern/Volunteer with ISS-USA

You Never Actually Leave ISS-USA

A very special thank you and farewell to outgoing Board Chair and board member of 9 years, Ann Lacquer Estin and Melissa Kucinski, board member for 3 years! Although they will no longer be on the board, they will always be a part of the ISS-USA family. Thank you for your service Ann and Melissa! 

Ann Estin on serving nine years on ISS-USA's Board.

Learn about our newest members who bring a wealth of passion and expertise to ISS-USA!

Catherine Ceniza Choy 

Robert Keith 

Brett Alan

Hyacinth Miller 

Camille Zarsky 

Who's Who on the ISS-USA Board of Directors

Promoting Equity in Family Finding

Elaine Weisman contributed virtually at the ISPCAN Congress in Estonia with a presentation entitled “Equitable Access to Family: Improving policies to protect children separated from their families across borders.” The presentation highlighted findings from ISS-USA’s Equity in Permanency initiative. ISS-USA also participated in a webinar series entitled “Separated Childhoods” hosted by the Global Studies of Childhood journal. Elaine Weisman served on a panel on the topic of Identity, Belonging and Culture in Childhood Separation and spoke about ISS-USA’s safe reunification and reintegration work with children separated from their families at the border.



If you’re interested in learning more about how to work on cross-border cases contact: question@iss-usa.org

Tell Me More

Work for ISS-USA

Seeking Licensed Social Workers for Contract Positions in Iowa and Montana

Email Elaine Weisman, Program and Training Manager, at eweisman@iss-usa.org for immediate consideration.

Be a Cross-Border Social Worker in Your State
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