March 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,   



April is Child Abuse Prevention Month in America. Preventing child abuse and neglect is one of the many critical ways that ISS-USA strives to protect children around the world.  We also protect children by providing information, training and services to decision makers to ensure that children are, and remain, safe from further harm, as in the case of Maria below.  ISS-USA develops and enhances evidence-based case practice standards and procedures to achieve these goals and improve outcomes for children. Our collaboration with the Child Welfare League of America to develop their National Blueprint For Excellence in Child Welfare is one example of our commitment to best practices in child protection and welfare. Another example of this dedication is our support of academic research utilizing our Korean adoption archives. Researchers have successfully illustrated how intercountry adoption practices today can be positively informed by what we have learned from often hard lessons of the past.  Preventing child abuse and neglect should not be celebrated or highlighted only in April. How we treat our children is the measure of our society and our values, and we applaud our colleagues and partners around the world working every day to protect children.



Best wishes,  



News & Activities
CWLA Awards ISS-USA 2015 Agency Innovator

ISS-USA has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 CWLA National Blueprint Champion for Excellence Award in the category of Agency Innovator.  This award is given to CWLA member agencies that demonstrate innovation and excellence in the delivery of programs and services to advance improved outcomes for children and youth utilizing the principles of the National Blueprint
The CWLA National Blueprint was created as a guide and framework for fulfilling the vision
"that all children will grow up safely, in loving families, with everything they need to flourish-and with connections to their culture, ethnicity, race and language."
Learn More

New Insights From Old Resources

The ISS-USA archives are a popular resource for academics across multiple disciplines. The topic of ISS involvement in Korean Adoption is particularly popular. Susie Woo, assistant professor of American Studies at California State University, recently published the article Imagining Kin: Cold War Sentimentalism and the Korean Children's Choir  in the American Quarterly. The article focuses on how a Korean children's choir touring the U.S. in the 50's and 60's fit into the context of international adoption and the cold war.  The ISS-USA archives provided valuable insight for the completion of her article. Dr. Woo has just completed research in the ISS-USA archives in preparation for her upcoming book. She uncovered previously unknown historical evidence of the lives of Korean military brides not found anywhere else.  The ISS-USA archives will continue to be an essential resource for researchers and student.  We look forward to sustaining the archives through grants for historical preservation.   

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month 
The Children's Bureau has put together a number of valuable resources for researchers, parents and practitioners in honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.  According to their report, in 2013 3.2 million children received an investigation or an alternative action as a result of a report to Child Protective Services and an estimated 1,520 children died as a result of abuse or neglect in the U.S.  To gain a more global perspective of this problem, UNICEF's 2014 report Hidden in Plain Sight: A Statistical Analysis of Violence Against Children contains data on violence against children, included domestic violence, from 190 countries. 

National Child Abuse Prevention month is a time to reflect on how pervasive an issue child abuse truly is.  It effects all races, classes and nationalities around the world.  The problem of child abuse, and its remedies, do not belong to any one individual or group of individuals. Rather, it is the collective responsibility of us all to protect children and other vulnerable individuals.  ISS-USA stands united with child protection agencies around the globe to put an end to child abuse.

Partnering to Protect Children:  ISS-USA & USCCB

In 2008, when Maria* was 6 her mother passed away. Her father was much older, and his health began to deteriorate after his wife's death. Maria's older brother, Alejandro, turned to a gang to replace his crumbling family. Alejandro joined the gang when he was 14 and within 3 years was actively involved in drug dealing, robbery, assault and intimidation. On two occasions he violently attacked Maria and her father, almost killing them. By the time Maria was 11 she was too afraid to leave her home. Her father was unable to care for himself and the abuse by Alejandro had left him unable to walk. Alejandro was, by then, a major leader in his gang.


On Maria's 12th birthday she left her home in Honduras and made the arduous journey to the United States. She was apprehended at the border and placed with her aunt in Louisiana. Maria connected with a Catholic Charities organization offering immigration legal services to unaccompanied children. She was also assigned a Child Advocate who would assist her in locating social services. Maria's advocate contacted ISS-USA to request assistance in obtaining criminal records on Alejandro in order to support Maria's application for asylum.  


ISS-USA worked with our partner in Honduras and almost immediately found documentation of Alejandro's incarceration. Two weeks later our partner obtained a full criminal background on Alejandro illustrating the violent nature of his gang activities and highlighting reports of physically abusing his elderly father and his young sister.


This information was passed onto Maria's legal representation and is being used to help her in her case for asylum.   


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


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