September 2015
September 2015 Newsletter


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

A Message from our Executive Director   
Dear Friends of ISS-USA,   
As I think back on the major headlines of last week: 
  • "Freddie Gray trial will remain in Baltimore"
  • "Remembering the many victims of September 11, 2001"
  • "The European refugee crisis"
I am struck by the fact that these headlines, while geographically situated, are in many ways globally applicable. Freddie Gray was from Baltimore, but millions of people around the globe continue to endure racism, maltreatment at the hands of state authorities, and abuse.  The anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States should serve as a reminder that none of us are free, until every country is free from terrorism. Finally, the Syrian refugee crisis is not an event unique to Europe. More than 43 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced from their country of birth because of manmade and natural disasters.  Fear of, or actual, persecution because of one's race, religion, or political association is a prime impetus for fleeing a country. The growing numbers of individual or state sponsored terrorist attacks on innocent individuals is also responsible for the exodus of people from their homes.
ISS-USA knows that working with displaced persons requires that everyone committed to human rights, children's rights and the dignity of all must work together to provide durable solutions to the causes of forced migration. The outpouring of support by citizens of every country feeling the effects of the European refugee crisis should remind us that we do have the power to significantly mitigate the effects of a crisis through compassion and demands for the protection of the most vulnerable among us. We can do more to protect those children and families separated by international borders and work harder to safely reunite these families.  
I am pleased to present our 2014 Annual Report. The theme is SUPPORT, PROTECT and REUNITE.  For 90 years we have made this a priority, and clearly, as these headlines remind us, there is much more to be done.

Best wishes,  

News & Activities
ISS-USA is Celebrating its 90th Anniversary! 

ISS-USA is celebrating 90 years of  connecting vulnerable children, adults, and families, who are separated by an international border, to the services and support they need.

To commemorate this anniversary, we are hosting a reception on September 17, 2015, during which we will  honor those who have contributed to the advancement of ISS-USA's mission, as well as welcome those who are interested in learning more about our work.

Guests will include members of Congress, past and current ambassadors, government representatives from state and local levels, heads of nonprofit organizations and our partners in the for-profit sector. This event will highlight our past achievements and promote the importance of our work in both the present and the future.   

ISS-USA will award Senator Barbara A. Mikulski for her outstanding leadership in support of children and families; Congressman Elijah E. Cummings for his commitment to community engagement and partnership; and Ambassador Susan A. Jacobs for her ongoing support of ISS-USA and dedication to the field of child and family protection. We are particularly grateful to our honorary committee:
His Excellency Francisco Roberto Altschul Fuentes, Ambassador of El Salvador
His Excellency Gary Doer, Ambassador of Canada
His Excellency Jose Julio Alejandro Ligorria Carballido, Ambassador of Guatemala
His Excellency Jorge Alberto Milla Reyes, Ambassador of Honduras

We would like to thank our Gold, Silver, and Bronze sponsors of this event, whose generous contributions make our 90th Anniversary National Celebration event possible.

To learn more about this event, and to register, please visit the 90th Anniversary Event Details & Registration link. We welcome you to join us!
ISS-USA Releases 2014 Annual Report

We are pleased to announce the publication of our 2014 Annual Report. The report highlights our 2014 accomplishments, including the fact that we supported, protected, and reunited more than 3,000 people from 99 countries and all 50 states. 

Cross Border Child Protection - International Conference in Geneva

The General Secretariat of International Social Service, in collaboration with the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law,  is organizing a Cross Border Child Protection International Conference & Workshop in Geneva on October 21-23, 2015. The goal of this conference is to  promote and strengthen the effective implementation of t he Hague Convention of 1996  (HC-1996). This conference will reunite members of government, the legal sector, academia, and social practice, and facilitate dialogue on the socio-legal dimensions of child-protection. Felicity Sackville Northcott, Director of External Partnerships and International Services for ISS-USA, will present on the cross-border placement of children.

For details, please visit the   Conference Page.
International Day of Peace

If you missed World Humanitarian Day on August 19th, there are still opportunities to pay tribute to those whose lives have been affected by humanitarian crises. On September 21st, join us in observing the International Day of Peace, during which we can all take a moment to share ideas and plans to help and support millions of people across the world who are suffering from the devastating impacts of violence.

ISS-USA Facilitates the Rescue of Two Children From an Unsafe Home

In December 2013, an American couple returned from Burkina Faso to the home in Salisbury, England in which they had been living for two years. * They brought with them two adopted children . The children, aged 10 and 7, were enrolled in the local school. Almost immediately the school staff noticed that the children were not engaging with other students or participating in class. Initially, the teachers and staff thought that the language barrier might be the cause; however, as time went on, other signs of possible abuse began to arise. The older child, a girl, was often exhausted and had difficulty staying awake. The younger child, a boy, was extremely violent towards his peers. The local child welfare authority was notified and visited the home. It became clear that there were serious problems involving the inter-familial relationships, in that the mother barely acknowledged the children. The case workers suspected that this might be a trafficking situation and requested verification of the adoption in Burkina Faso. The parents claimed that the children were adopted under U.S. guidelines and that they did not have to provide any paperwork. The local authority contacted the ISS partner in the UK, who in turn, referred the case to ISS-USA for technical assistance. ISS-USA worked with the Department of State to understand what regulations governed Americans who are adopting internationally while living abroad. ISS-USA learned that the couple must adhere to the guidelines of adoption in the country in which they were resident.   This allowed the local authority in England to remove the children and place them in care. Both children continue to live in a foster home together and are receiving the services that they need while the local authority investigates what other family resources may be availabel to support them. The parents are under investigation for human trafficking.  

*Please note  all identifying information , including the ages and gender of the children, the countries involved, and the time frame, have been changed to ensure confidentiality. 
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