March 21st was International Social Work Day. Three events in the last couple of months have underscored the DIRE need for a greater global investment in social workers and how this profession plays a critical role in protecting children and families all over the world and across borders. The first event was a trip to India to participate in the launch of a training program for social workers in alternative care. The second was the catastrophic fire in an orphanage in Guatemala that resulted in the death of 39 girls. The third was Secretary Kelly's remarks that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering separating immigrant children from their parents as a way to deter immigrants from unlawfully entering the United States. We'll discuss these events in a three-part blog and highlight the challenges faced in different parts of the world and the critical role that social workers can play in addressing and overcoming these challenges.  

Best Wishes,
Julie Rosicky
Executive Director
International Social Service-USA
82 Vulnerable People Protected Last Month
  • 33 adults and 4 children were safely returned to the U.S. from foreign countries to escape abuse, violence, and various other crises
  • 45 children, like Eva, were supported, protected, and reunited through cross-border case management services
Thank You, Social Workers!

It's Social Work Month! We're inspired by the dedicated and compassionate social workers who improve the lives of children, families, and communities every day.

Check out the National Association of Social Worker's  interactive timeline and  tips to educate the public and elevate this important profession.
Free Training Opportunity for Social Workers & Child Welfare Professionals!

International Social Service-General Secretariat, along with many international entities, have developed an online course to help child welfare professionals understand how to implement the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children. This six week interactive course begins May 15th. Attending this training will help you better understand how to implement these alternative care policies and practices for thousands of children who live without parents. Register and learn more.
Photo courtesy of ISS-GS
Protecting Children in Surrogacy Cases

International Social Service General Secretariat collaborated with other child protection experts to draft principles to better protect children in international surrogacy arrangements (ISAs). Included in these principles are topics such as the  best interests of the child, parenting, financial transactions, the child as an independent rights holder, consent of the surrogate mother and non-discrimination. This effort will continue as this group advocates for appropriate regulation of ISAs.
Highlighting Successful Strategies to Address the Needs of Children, Youth, and Families

Felicity Sackville Northcott - Director of External Partnerships & International Services, Elaine Weisman - Program Manager, and Ausias Orti Moreno - Research Fellow, spoke at yesterday's  CWLA National Conference:  Advancing Excellence in Practice and Policy: Highlighting Successful Strategies to Address the Needs of Children, Youth, and Families

Their presentation was included within the Conference's Immigration Super Session. This session addressed challenges, effective strategies, and best practices for culturally responsive services for unaccompanied children and refugee minors in three key areas: (1) outreach to, and preparation of, the sponsors to ensure effective care for and integration of children; (2) working with those who enter child welfare; and (3) best practices and resources to ensure the protection of children who are ordered, or who voluntarily decide to, return home. Our panel highlighted the need for social service systems to assist in safe repatriation and reintegration planning for children being returned across borders.
Social Workers Bring Hope: Developing Systems of Care in India

After participating in an  International Symposium on Family Strengthening in India last month, Julie Rosicky discusses how passionate, dedicated, and driven social workers can help transform alternative care systems and child protection infrastructures. 

End Violence Against Children

Every five minutes, a child dies as a result of violence. An estimated 120 million girls and 73 million boys have been victims of sexual violence, and almost one billion children are subjected to physical punishment on a regular basis.

So, what can you do to end violence against children? Join the Global Partnership which will bring together stakeholders from across the world to end all forms of violence against children. 

EvaEnsuring Eva's Safety Through Interagency Cooperation

Interagency cooperation is often necessary to achieve positive outcomes for children. This recent case highlights the good that can come when agencies, social workers, and professionals work together to help kids and families.

In early March, our organization received a referral from the U.S. Embassy in Haiti through the Office of Overseas Citizens Services. A dual citizen mother, Celeste, and her 13 year old daughter Eva, had gone to the embassy in Port-au-Prince to get Eva her U.S. passport. During a casual conversation, an embassy official, Tom, found out that Eva was being sent to Illinois to take care of her ailing father. Tom told Celeste that Eva could not be a full-time caregiver and that she would have to be enrolled in school. After Celeste and Eva left the embassy, Tom remained concerned and requested that International Social Service conduct a child welfare check to make sure Eva was okay.

Caseworkers at International Social Service attempted to report the situation to child protective services (CPS) in Chicago, but they were told that the case did not warrant CPS involvement. The CPS worker said that the police would have to conduct a child welfare check, and if they found that Eva was acting as a full-time care giver, the police could then report the case to CPS. We contacted the police who immediately went to Eva's home. Only 2 hours later, the police officer called us and informed us that Eva was in school and that the father was being cared for by his eldest son.

*Names and locations have been changed to ensure client confidentiality.

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