ISS-USA April Newsletter
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
A message from our Executive Director
Dear Friends of ISS-USA,

As we approach Mother's Day in the United States, I would like to dedicate this issue to my mother, Sara Gilbert. Without her constant reminding, "you can do anything you set your mind to" I would not be writing this introduction, nor would I likely be taking part in a movement to change the way we protect children around the globe. Even by devoting the inspiration and endless energy that I inherited from her to the task of serving children and families, our work is far from done.

Mothers are central to the lives of children. We often forget that when they are forcibly or voluntarily separated, both mother and child suffer. Every day, mothers must make agonizing decisions about what is in their child's best interest, or endure the outcome of making the wrong decision. Too many mothers have placed their children in the care of strangers with the reassurance that they can visit the children at any time, only to discover that the children have been adopted to a foreign country. A growing number of mothers live with the agony of having to face yet another day without their child because their ex-partner has kidnapped the child to another country. Mothers who have been deported are too often denied their parental rights and lose custody of their children. In all these cases, the child also feels the pain of being apart from his or her mother. In our work at ISS-USA, we focus on the rights of the child, but recognize that sometimes that means we have to protect the rights of the mother.

On May 8th, I invite you to remember the generations of mothers who have struggled to make the right decisions for their children and recognize the role those amazing women have played in your life. 

Best wishes,
Felicity, Julie, & Ann
ISS International Conference and International Council Meetings in Melbourne, Australia 

Julie Rosicky, Executive Director; Felicity Sackville Northcott, Director of External Partnerships and International Services; and Ann Estin, ISS-USA Board Member and Aliber Family Chair in Law at the University of Iowa College of Law, all attended the ISS 2016 International Council (IC) Meeting, Casework Coordinators Meeting & Conference that occurred on April 4-8. 

ISS-Australia and the University of Melbourne School Of Social Work co-hosted the two
day conference, which showcased a broad range of ISS expertise. The conference was attended by approximately 60 participants from numerous countries, including ISS delegates consisting of members and members  ad interim , academics, students, and community experts. Many ISS members were featured as either speakers or moderators, and our own board member, Ann Estin, served as a moderator for one session. For more information about the agenda of the conference, please see the 2016 Melbourne Conference website .

ISS in the Americas: Canada, Haiti, Honduras, USA, &
the Caymen Islands
66 delegates attended the IC Meeting, representing 15 member countries: Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland, UK, and the US. In addition, there were 18 correspondents from Albania, Austria, Bangladesh, Cape Verde, Croatia, Cayman Islands, Czech Republic, Germany, Haiti, Honduras, Ireland, Latvia, Lebanon, Poland, Malta, Nepal, Spain, and Turkey. An important outcome from the IC meeting was the adoption of a historic resolution to expand ISS membership. This expansion will provide greater  opportunities for more organizations to join the ISS Network as members and adhere to ISS working principles, as well as actively participate in the creation of policies and decisions. The Secretary General closed the meeting by stating that "ISS has taken the right decision in terms of membership structure. ISS is now better equipped to better serve more and more children and families on the move".
ISS-USA Participates in International Parents Conference & Embassy Walk
ISS-USA presented at the 2016 International Parents Conference & Embassy Walk hosted by iStand Parent Network, which occurred on April 20-22nd in Washington DC. Felicity Sackville Northcott, ISS-USA's Director of External Partnerships and International Services, closed the conference by adding insights, suggestions, and answering questions.  The 2016 International Parents Conference & Embassy Walk empowers parents of children who are victims of International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA), engages international, federal, state and local governments, NGOs, the private sector, and other key stakeholders to prevent and end IPCA and to return children home to loving parents and communities. Learn more about the event.
Building Community, Building Hope
This month and throughout the year, we encourage all individuals and organizations to raise public awareness of child abuse and neglect and recommit efforts and resources to protect children and strengthen families. By equipping parents and caregivers with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can all play a role in preventing child abuse and neglect in our communities while helping children thrive.  Access tools and resources on our blog post, or view CECANF's Report Outlining Recommendations to Prevent Child Abuse. 
Archives Provide Glimpse into Lives of Refugees

Public Radio International (PRI) looked to ISS-USA's archives to learn about refugee camps during WWII. The reports, which detail conditions that echo those faced by refugees today, offer a window into the daily lives of Europeans, largely from Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Turkey and Yugoslavia, who had to adjust to life inside refugee camps in the Middle East during World War II. These  historical records, stored at the University of Minnesota's Social Welfare History Archives, serve as the documentary basis for the accounts of refugee life.  Thanks to Linnea Anderson at the University of Minnesota for providing special access and permission.  Full Article Here
ISS-USA Comments on Child Protection Case in Norway

Norwegian officials are involved in an international controversy by taking custody of the children of an evangelical Christian family, whose defenders say they are being targeted for their religion. Norway's child protection system, the Barnevernet, has received numerous complaints for wrongly seizing children and discriminating against foreigners. 

Julie Rosicky, Executive Director of ISS-USA, was interviewed by VICE News for this story. View the full article,  Norway Is Taking Children From Their Parents and Sparking an Outcry, here . ISS-USA encourages and advocates, both inside and outside of Norway, to continue to demand comprehensive facts in all cases to ensure that those charged with making decisions about where children should live do their utmost to prevent separation in the first instance. Furthermore, if separation is absolutely necessary, ISS encourages timely reunification with family and kin whenever it is safe and in that child's best interest.
Upcoming Events

Regional Training in Central America
April 28-29th, 2016
As part of ISS-USA's mission to protect and defend vulnerable children across borders, ISS-USA is implementing a regional training in Guatemala on April 28-29th. This is part of a project to provide coordinated cross border social services for children and families migrating in the Northern Triangle, Mexico, and the U.S. This training aims to develop a regional network of social service agencies committed to cross border support, increase collaboration and communication among these agencies, and ultimately protect the rights of unaccompanied children and their families entering and exiting these regions. For more information, please contact Elaine Weiseman, Program Manager, or Felicity Northcott, Director of External Partnerships and International Services. View the conference flyer for more details.

International Alternative Care Conference 
October 3-5, 2016
The ISS Federation is partnering with international agencies to organize an Alternative Care Conference  in Geneva, Switzerland. This conference will assemble experts and practitioners from around the world to discuss how to move forward in the framework of the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children. For more details, see the Alternative Care Conference website.

ISS-USA Fall Conference: The Ties that Bind
October 2016
ISS-USA will be co-hosting the 6th Annual Fall Conference with the University of Maryland School of Social Work in Baltimore, MD. This conference, The Ties That Bind: Exploring the Causes and Consequences of Children Separated From Their Families Across International Borders, will focus on the legal and human rights of children separated from their biological families across international borders. There will be four sessions on:  (1) International Adoption  (2) Donor Conceived Persons  (3) International Parental Abduction and  (4) Unaccompanied Minors.  Stay tuned in the coming weeks for a Save the Date with more details. We hope to see you there! For  inquiries about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Diana DeMallie .
International Day for Street Children

April 12th marked the International Day for Street Children, which  
challenges negative perceptions of street children, highlights their potential, and encourages the public and decision makers to look at these groups of children without preconceived ideas. ISS-USA believes that children should not be invisible or ignored. Read the Consortium for Street Children Briefing Paper here.
ISS-USA Repatriates Mother and 4 Young Children

ISS-USA successfully returned an impoverished mother and her four young children, ranging in age from 9 months to 8 years old, from Algeria to Florida. Traveling with four young children on a long flight can be difficult, so a n ISS-USA Case Manager worked diligently with the state's social service agency and the Department of State to make sure the family's flight and travel experience was smooth. Our  Case Manager also advocated for the family to make sure that they all had warm clothing, food, diapers, and formula when they arrived in the U.S. To help the family navigate a new life and resettle in the U.S., we helped link them to shelter, meals, clothing, and case management services to ensure their well-being. The children are now enrolling in a school system and are adjusting well to their new lives in the U.S.

*All identifying information has been changed to ensure client confidentiality.
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