January 2015

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A Message from our Executive Director   


Dear Friends of ISS-USA,  

As we begin a new year we often make resolutions to improve our lives or the lives of others. We resolve to do more for ourselves or for those less fortunate. It is in that spirit that ISS-USA looks forward to ways in which we can improve the safety and well-being of every child entering or leaving our borders in 2015.


2014 was a remarkable year for our agency and we helped a record number of families and children reunite, reconnect or re-establish ties. We hope we can do even more in the coming year.  The new year brings opportunities to think creatively about our work, add new tools to our toolkit, find unique opportunities to partner with others and to connect to, and partner with, new individuals, agencies and stakeholders to accomplish more.  As a network of social service providers in 120 countries around the globe,  we stand ready to grow together and make 2015 a landmark year. I wish you a happy start of the New Year, and let's strive to make it a good year for the most vulnerable around the globe!


Best wishes,  



Thanks for the Support!
A special thank you to all of our 2014 donors and supports. 
News & Activities
New Guide to International Family Mediation

Resolving Family Conflict: A Guide to International Family Mediation is the first publication of its kind that is intended to be used by all families, regardless of their location or cultural identity.  Written and published by the International Social Service General Secretariat, it illustrates how family mediation can be used to protect the best interest of the child when family conflict crosses international borders.  


"It recommends international family mediation not as a miracle solution to all the problems that families face during separation across national borders, but as a simple, pragmatic and professional avenue of conflict resolution that ensures individual rights and complements any legal proceedings to settle the disputes."  The guide is available in English and in French, and provides an excellent step by step understanding of the uses and benefits of international family mediation. 


Learn More
New Services for Unaccompanied Minors

Executive Director, Julie Rosicky, and Director of External Partnerships, Felicity Northcott, attended a Child Advocate Roundtable hosted by the United Conference of Catholic Bishops on January 6thThe meeting was a part of our ongoing partnership with USCCB to provide social services to unaccompanied minors (UCs) who are involved in immigration proceedings.  The focus of our joint work is how to ensure the best interest of these children is promoted both within the legal immigration arena and within the Federal child protection process.

Since last March ISS-USA has been leading efforts to raise awareness of the limitations to the social services that the Federal government has been able to provide to these children, and how UCs that enter the domestic child welfare system may fare better. 


New Websites for Migrants and their Families

ISS-USA is pleased to be a part of the newly launched Humanitarian Community, a website which brings together information on a diverse group of leading migrant and refugee organizations.  The website is helping these organizations connect with each other, as well as reach new audiences by placing their events, social media campaigns, reports and blogs together in one easy to access location.

 The International Social Service General Secretariat has also launched a newly updated website.   This website offers a more detailed look into the work of the network's 15 Branches, 4 Affiliated Bureaus and correspondents spanning over 120 countries around the globe.    

A Safe Return Home

A woman and her best friend traveled from Texas to Thailand with her two American born children ages 4 and 6*. After a short stay the women attempted to board a plane back to the United States with the children. Because the women were acting suspiciously they were detained by border patrol and searched. When the search revealed nothing the law enforcement officials searched the two children and discovered a large quantity of heroin stuffed inside the children's clothing and carry-on baggage.  


The two women were immediately arrested and the children were placed with social services. The social worker notified the U.S. Embassy and contacted ISS-USA for some technical assistance on how to proceed with locating the children's relatives in Texas or California. ISS-USA worked with its partner in Thailand to identify potential caregivers in the U.S. ISS-USA began the process of searching for, and evaluating, caregivers for placement of the children when they were returned.  


The presiding judge was concerned, since the mother was to be deported from Thailand, that the children weren't simply given back to her upon her arrival in the U.S. ISS-USA reached out to a legal non-profit in Texas and spoke with the Executive Director who was a former family court judge. The information he provided was used to help guide the judge in Thailand on what could be done to ensure that the aunt and uncle could take physical and legal custody of the children and have the order of custody enforced by the court in the county where they lived.  


The children were reunited with their relatives in October, after nearly four months in foster care in Thailand. The court in Texas honored the custody decree.  Upon their return to the U.S. the two women were arrested for a drug violation in Texas. The children continue to reside with their family and are doing very well.



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


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