ISS-USA February Newsletter
A message from our Executive Director
Dear Friends of ISS-USA,

On the way to the train this morning, I watched the newspaper man take his hands off his stack of papers for a mere second to pull his hat down over his ears.  A gust of cold wind blew, and hundreds of papers took flight.  At first, the situation seemed hopeless; one man, and papers flying in every direction. Then, some other travelers stepped in and started to chase down papers, while the newspaper man held down the remaining stack. Later, at my destination, we were discussing the myriad of challenges that children, families and adults face when returning (voluntarily or involuntarily) and reintegrating  into their countries of origin including Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Like the newspaper man trying to collect his quickly fleeing papers, at times it seems like solutions that protect the best interest of children, families and adults in migratory situations are scattered and too numerous to really make a dent. But like the good Samaritans who helped the newspaper vendor, when a motivated group of stakeholders is willing to step forward and tackle the problem from different angles, sustainable solutions can be found. We must work together and be willing to make compromises that protect the best interest of migrating individuals and families.  I am excited to discuss this and other key issues affecting people separated across borders with my colleagues at our upcoming meetings in Melbourne. I am also excited that, as seen in the case below involving the elderly man, we continue to find solutions to seemingly impossible challenges when we work together across borders.   

Best wishes,
ISS-USA Will Attend International Council Meeting & Conference

ISS-USA will participate in the upcoming ISS 2016 International Council Meeting & Conference hosted by ISS Australia and the University of Melbourne. The conference will take place on April 4th - 5th and will focus on the overall theme of children and families moving across international borders. Consisting of eight sessions, the conference will cover various topics including international parental child abduction, international family mediation, unaccompanied minors, and child trafficking. Attendees are expected to consist of ISS network members as well as a range of local academics, nonprofit professionals, and government representatives. 

On April 6th and 7th, ISS will hold its bi-annual International Council meeting.   ISS-USA representatives who will be attending the conference and meeting are: 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. Participation from over 40 countries at the conference and meetings is expected.
ISS Contributes Towards  Guidelines Promoting the Human Rights and the Best Interests of the Child in Transnational Child Protection Cases 

ISS has contributed towards the newly published Guidelines Promoting the Human Rights and the Best Interests of the Child in Transnational Child Protection Cases. This new publication, which also includes a guide for professionals, explores challenges and opportunities in safeguarding human rights of children in transnational child protection work. Issues surrounding case management, care planning for children on the move, and the cooperation of authorities and service providers across borders are all discussed. 
ISS/IRC Editorial - 2016 Resolutions

Read the  Monthly Editorial  that ISS and International Reference Center for the Rights of Children Deprived of their Family (IRC) produced last month, summarizing resolutions for 2016 as it relates to child welfare, protection, and alternative care.

World Day of Social Justice

February 20th, World Day of Social Justice, marked a day meant to  encourage people to look at how social justice affects poverty eradication, social integration, and inclusion. As we look to implement standards related to alternative care for children deprived of families and focus efforts on providing critical social services to children and families across borders, we strive to advocate for inclusion and equality for vulnerable groups.
Better Care Network Launches Care to Practice

Better Care Network (BCN) , the international network of organizations committed to supporting children without adequate family care around the world, is launching a new online initiative: Care To Practice  - supporting children's care practitioners in Eastern and Southern Africa. This online space is designed to share global and regional resources and support practitioners who are working on family strengthening and children's alternative care in the Eastern and Southern Africa region.  Continue reading and join Care to Practice
ISS-USA Protects Vulnerable Adult from Elder Abuse

In 2014, Lars retired from his job in academia after 42 years. He desired to return to his birthplace in the Netherlands to enjoy his retirement. Because he faced some medical challenges, it was decided that he would move in with his daughter Naomi who was residing in Amsterdam with her husband. His son, David lived in the U.S. but promised that he and his family would visit as often as they could so Lars wouldn't feel too separated from his beloved grandchildren. For the first year and a half, Lars seemed to be doing quite well, and Naomi was communicative about Lars' health and well-being. David and his family visited twice during that 18 month period, and the grandkids skyped with Lars every two weeks.

Abruptly, in September of 2015, Naomi told David that Lars no longer wanted to speak with the grandkids, and that David's planned visit for Christmas with his family should be cancelled. Naomi said that Lars' health was failing and that he was exhibiting signs of dementia. David repeatedly tried to speak with Naomi about the situation, but she cut off communication with him.

David decided that he needed to see for himself what was going on. He flew to Amsterdam in October, but Naomi's husband refused to allow him access to the home. When David returned to the US, he received a concerned e mail from Naomi's housekeeper stating ther e was serious abuse occurring in the home against Lars and that she didn't know what to do. 

David contacted ISS-USA and requested that we issue an Elder Abuse Alert to our partner in the Netherlands. ISS-Netherlands reported the alert to local authorities who entered the home and determined that Lars was being abused and was in need of immediate removal and protection.

Lars returned to the US in February of 2016 to live with David and his family. 

** All identifying information in this case has been changed to ensure client confidentiality. This includes names, locations, the ISS branch involved and dates. 
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