June 2015

ISS-USA's Newsletter


200 EAST LEXINGTON STREET, SUITE 1700 | BALTIMORE MD 21202 443-451-1200 

A Message from our Executive Director   


Dear Friends of ISS-USA,   


ISS-USA, as an organization that has addressed, and continues to address, the social and legal needs of families separated by migration, would like to direct your attention to the millions of people that are forced to migrate for their own survival.


According to UNHCR, "Global forced displacement has seen accelerated growth in 2014, once again reaching unprecedented levels. The year saw the highest displacement on record. By end-2014, 59.5 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations. This is 8.3 million persons more than the year before (51.2 million) and the highest annual increase in a single year." Even more staggering is that "More than half of the world's refugees are children." 

Tomorrow, on June 20, World Refugee Day, as you begin your weekend we ask that you make a commitment to get involved with the global refugee crisis in some way. Many refugees have likely resettled and may be a part of your community; welcome them, get to know them, share with them. For those refugees who currently live in limbo, awaiting a durable solution, find a way to get involved in their cause, so that they, and all people and all families have a place they can live free from fear, where human and children's rights are protected, and children and families live in a permanent home, whether in a third country, the country they have fled to, or back in their country of origin when it becomes safe again. 



Best wishes,  



News & Activities
World Refugee Day 

In honor of World Refugee Day, June 20th, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon states "Most of the world's refugees - 86 per cent -- live in the developing world, compared to 70 per cent 10 years ago. Most of these countries have kept their doors open to people in search of safety, and have shown a generosity that is often well beyond their means. I appeal to all Member States and our partners in civil society to do their utmost to support the nations and communities that have welcomed the forcibly displaced into their midst." 

June also marks the anniversary of two separate bills that dramatically affected the open door policy of the U.S., and had a huge impact on the work of ISS-USA. On June 25, 1948 the Displaced Persons Act was passed. The Act, for a limited time, allowed permanent residency of Europeans displaced by WWII, and created the Displaced Persons Commission to oversee the resettlement of these individuals. On June 27, 1952, however, the Displaced Persons Act was supplanted by the Immigration and Nationality Act, which contained restrictions on immigration by national origin. In fact, discrimination in the bill was so highly criticized that it was vetoed by then-President Truman. The veto was overturned by Congress.    

Learn More

New Program to Serve Children with Disabilities

ISS-USA is partnering with the ISS General Secretariat (GS) to secure funding to train front line providers on practices in removing barriers to permanent placements for children with disabilities living in institutions in the Mexican state of Nuevo León.  The GS has seen great success with similar programs in Vietnam and Burkina Faso, and is currently undertaking a project in Mauritius.  The Nuevo León project will be undertaken in conjunction with the local child protection authority DIF.  We are hopeful that this will mark the first in several such projects in the Latin American and Caribbean region.  ISS-USA is currently exploring additional partnerships to help make this program a success, and we encourage interested organizations to reach out to us.       

Manifesto for Ethical Intercountry Adoption

International Social Service has published a new Manifesto for Ethical Intercountry Adoption that builds specifically on the underlying principles of the 1993 Hague Convention. It seeks to promote ethical practices by all adoption stakeholders, whether in the receiving country or country of origin, to better protect all children.  ISS fully acknowledges that international texts such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 1993 Hague Convention constructs the essential legal frameworks for the respect of children's rights in intercountry adoption matters.  This guide aims to offer an additional resource to the ever-changing landscape of international adoption, based on the organization's extensive experience and expertise in the field.


The Manifesto is Available in English, French  and Spanish and is downloadable in Flip book version.


Removing Obstacles to Family Support

Bethany*, a 30 year old woman, had experienced mild mental instability, but had never been diagnosed with any psychiatric disorder. In April 2015 she decided to take a trip to explore Europe.  The trip was going well, until she arrived in Croatia and she began to suffer from a delusional disorder.  This caused her to overstay her visa resulting in being detained by the authorities.  Due to her mental state the authorities placed her in a psychiatric hospital and notified the U.S. embassy in Zagreb that they had an American citizen in their care who was not fit to travel on her own.  The U.S. embassy contacted ISS-USA to arrange for travel back to the United States.  ISS-USA was told that Bethany's parents lived in Wisconsin, but that they were not willing to provide for her ongoing care, and therefore she was to be returned to Florida. 


ISS-USA arranged for the safe passage of Bethany from Zagreb to Miami, and began working with the Florida state welfare department to find appropriate continuing care for her.  During these discussions, ISS-USA informed the welfare officer that Bethany had parents living in Wisconsin, and encouraged him to reach out to them as a possible resource for her.  Her parents, who had been overwhelmed at the prospect of caring for their daughter when she was in Croatia, reconsidered their position with the new knowledge that the government, with the assistance of ISS-USA, had returned her safely to the United States.  Bethany was relocated back to her hometown in Wisconsin, and with the support of her parents is now receiving the care that she needs.  

  Learn More

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


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