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A Message from our Executive Director   


Dear Friends of ISS-USA,  

I recently returned from Stockholm, Sweden where I was invited to speak at SAVE THE CHILDREN's Children on the Move and ICT: Protection Without Borders #childrenonthemove. Young adults from Africa and the Middle East talked about their migration experiences. While the circumstances of the migrations were different from those of children crossing the U.S. border from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, several themes were the same. First, these young people overcame extreme hardship, violence, and potential death on their journeys to find a home, a family, safety, and the possibility of education and work. Second, some of these young people want to be part of the process to change the outcomes for future children crossing borders.  They must be included in our work at all levels. Finally, they are tired of simply telling their story.  They want to be part of the solution, through mentoring other children, and most importantly, through changing current policies and practices. They want to live in a world where children around the globe have access to the services and support they need to migrate safely, with all the protections promised to them 25 years ago, when the Convention on the Rights of Child was introduced. Today is Giving Tuesday and I ask you to join with me to support our efforts to connect children and families to the services and support they need around the globe.

Best wishes,  



  Please consider the work of ISS-USA when choosing where to make your gift this year.

News & Activities
ISS-USA partners with USCCB

ISS-USA has partnered with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to expand the services offered to unaccompanied, alien children (UAC).  USCCB's program, which is funded through the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement, will work directly with the children who arrived unaccompanied, and have been released from Federal custody to assess what permanency plan is in their best interest.  The program will focus on children in 7 cities (Los Angeles, Houston, New Orleans, Miami, DC, Arlington & Baltimore) through the newly created position of Child Advocate, whose role will be to coordinate individual assessments, called Best Interest Determinations, of the children involved in the project.  ISS-USA will provide direct support to these Child Advocates through training, technical assistance and services, including home studies, document tracing and relative tracings in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. 

Learn More
Bob Miles, Baroness Amos, Doug Lewis
ISS Around the Globe

UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Baroness Valerie Amos, welcomed ISS' International President Douglas Lewis and Governing Board Chair Bob Miles on November 4th at the UN Headquarters in New York.

The meeting was made in recognition of the federation's 90th anniversary.  Baroness Amos congratulated the Network, of which ISS-USA is the U.S. member, on achieving such a wonderful milestone during which time almost 7 million children and families have been assisted.  Governing Chair Bob Miles is the former Board Chair of ISS-USA, and continues to act as a member of the ISS-USA Board.   


ISS-USA is also pleased to announce that Dr Sabina Sabeva, Executive Director of the International Social Service in Bulgaria, was awarded the Honorary Sign of the Bulgarian Republic President as an activist in the area of children's rights; this came on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Child Rights Convention!  Congradulations to Dr. Sebeva and his ISS team in Bulgaria. 


New Case Management Toolkit:  A User's Guide for Strengthening Case Management Services in Child Welfare

ISS-USA, in collaboration with the Center for International Social Work at Rutgers University's School of Social Work and USAID, and with consultation on the initial design with the University of Maryland's School of Social Work, has released a new case management toolkit.  The toolkit was prepared to aid USAID  Mission staff in identifying and promoting good practices in case management services.  It provides a comprehensive framework for analyzing current systems, procedures and practices against international standards and professional practices at both the case level and the system level.    

Returning Home

A woman and her 9 year old daughter, Akshina*, were living in Poland*.  The woman, a Bulgarian
A warm reception for Akshina
citizen, has cancer, and has been unable to find work, so she and Akshina, a U.S. citizen, became homeless.  Akshina's father abandoned the family before she was born.  They had been living in Chicago, where she was attending 2nd grade, until her mother's visa ran out.  Her mother is afraid to return to Bulgaria, where she had been receiving death threats, and cannot legally reenter the U.S.  Unable to provide for her daughter in Poland anymore, and too scared to return to Bulgaria, the woman makes the difficult choice to send Akshina back to the country of her birth, the United States.  She contacts ISS-USA with her request and with recommendations of people in Chicago who are willing to care for her child.     

ISS-USA opens the repatriation case, and contacts Child Protective Services in Chicago to begin evaluating the appropriateness and safety of the home that the woman had recommended for her daughter.  Two weeks later Akshina says goodbye to her mother and boards a plane in Poland along with an escort.  She is met at the airport by two members of Child Protective Services, as well as a member of the local Bulgarian community.  Today, Akshina is living in the safe care of the family that her mother had initially recommended.

*Names and places have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients


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