June 27, 2019
June 2019 Issue
Toronto Conference May 2019
Presenting on Cross-Border Custody Planning in Toronto
Elaine Weisman (left), International Social Service, USA and Sylvie LaPointe (right), ISS Canada presented at the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts' (AFFC) 56th Annual Conference in Toronto, Canada from May 29th through June 1st. Together they discussed "Best Practices in Cross Border Custody Planning: Promoting the Best Interest of the Child." The workshop focused on how legal, social work, and judicial stakeholders can resolve permanency issues when the parents of a child live in two separate countries, or when a parent wants to take a child to live in a foreign country. Session participants came from Canada, the U.S., the Cayman Islands, Singapore, and Scotland among many other countries.

If you'd like to learn more about best practices in cross-border permanency, click here or contact question@iss-usa.org for more information on how we can support your international case management needs.
ISS-USA Welcomes Two New Members to Board of Directors
At our June 13th Board Meeting, ISS-USA welcomed two new members to our Board of Directors: Melissa Kucinski and T'Pring Westbrook .
Melissa Kucinski is a lawyer and mediator in Washington, D.C. and a member of the law faculty at the George Washington University School of Law. In 2013, Ms. Kucinski served as a legal consultant to the Hague Conference on Private International Law, where she worked on projects related to the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Treaty and the 1996 Hague Child Protection Treaty.

Ms. Kucinski has offered advanced international family mediation trainings in the United States and Tokyo, Japan; has served on delegations to two consecutive Special Commission meetings at the Hague Conference on the Practical Operation of the Child Abduction and Child Protection Treaties; and chaired an international steering committee for International Social Service's Secretariat that focused on consolidating resources into a global network for family mediation.
T'Pring Westbrook is a Senior Associate for the Annie E. Casey Foundation. As a member of the Research, Evaluation, Evidence, and Data (REED) unit at the foundation, Dr. Westbrook manages a portfolio that encompasses two-generation approaches, community development, economic mobility, child and adult education, and housing. Additionally, Dr. Westbrook has an interest in evidence-based programs (EBPs) and regularly presents and consults on issues related to implementing, evaluating, and communicating about EBPs. Prior to coming to the Foundation, she was a Social Science Research Analyst with the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) within the Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services. While at OPRE, Dr. Westbrook's portfolio included research and evaluation in early childhood education and development, home visiting, child welfare, and evidence-based policy and practice. Throughout her career, Dr. Westbrook has presented at national conferences, published in and served as editor for refereed journals, and served on numerous committees and advisory groups.

Dr. Westbrook received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Media Arts from Hampton University and a PhD in Human Development from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Engaging with ISS Network in Japan
On June 12, 2019, ISS-USA Board Member, Melissa Kucinski, was in Tokyo, Japan and met with members of International Social Service - Japan. Melissa was invited to Tokyo to speak at the five year anniversary symposium of Japan's ratification of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention. During her meeting with ISS-J, she learned of their resources to facilitate access between parents and their children who are located in Japan. This facilitation is particularly relevant during the pendency of litigation in a Hague Convention matter. ISS-J stressed the need for child-focused access between the parent visiting Japan from a foreign country, and the need to support children who may feel torn between two parents, two cultures, and two countries.
Early Bird Registration Happening Now!
The registration page for ISS-USA's Beyond Separation: Protecting Cross Border Families Conference is now up! This year's conference is a two day event co-hosted by the University of Maryland School of Social Work covering how legal, judicial, social service, and advocacy professionals share and implement best practices to protect the long term safety of cross-border children and families. Day one of the conference is a full-day training institute designed to skill-build on cross-border child welfare. Day two is a full day conference comprised of expert panels that explore planning for the safety of vulnerable children.

You can register now until August 31st to take advantage of our special early bird discount. For registration and more information, please check out our event page .
ISS Welcomes Fund Development and Communications Intern Cameron Stiles
Cameron Stiles is ISS-USA's new Fund Development and Communications Intern. Cameron comes to us from Mount St. Mary's University where he is a rising senior working towards a degree in International Studies and German. Cameron is participating as a Sondheim Fellow from University of Maryland, Baltimore County's (UMBC) Shriver Center . In addition to working at ISS-USA all summer, he will also participate in seminars on campus. Cameron recently interned at Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Washington, D.C. where he contributed to communications and program management. In his free time, Cameron enjoys music, reading novels, and hiking.
ISS-USA to Move Offices in July
ISS-USA Staff members are hard at work getting our office ready for the big move next month. It's been slightly tumultuous as employees pack up everything from our files and computers to our office plants! Pretty soon we'll be settling in to our new home at1120 North Charles Street, Baltimore and getting adjusted to the change in scenery. Be careful not to send things to our old address once we move!
ISS-USA recently worked to reunite a youth and his father in Peru after nearly three years of separation.

Rolando* entered foster care when he was two years old as a result of his mother's drug dependency. Rolando's father had returned to his home country of Peru the year prior, and, when he found out his son was in care, he requested custody.

ISS-USA conducted a home study on Rolando's father in Peru, which showed that he had a stable job and a strong network of community and social support. Rolando and his father communicated through regular video calls while the case progressed through court over three years. As a result of the positive home study among other factors, Rolando's father was granted custody of Rolando, and Rolando's social worker worked with ISS-USA to plan Rolando's return and reintegration with his father in Peru.

After more than three years apart, Rolando was reunited with his father this June. He loves playing with his father and his relatives in his new home!

To learn more about the services ISS-USA provides to children separated from their family click here .

*Name and location changed to protect the privacy of all in the above case
Are you interested in becoming a sponsor for our Beyond Separation: Protecting Cross Border Families Conference this October? Visit our sponsorship registration page here for more information or contact Marie Blum, Fund Development and Communications Coordinator at mblum@iss-usa.org with any questions.
Attention social workers in MICHIGAN, NEW HAMPSHIRE, IOWA, KENTUCKY and INDIANA ! We want to hear from you!
ISS-USA is looking for social workers to complete occasional assessments with families in your state. We will provide you with guidance throughout the work and you will help us directly serve families who are seeking to care for their relative children in another state or country. Check out the description  here . Please contact Elaine Weisman at eweisman@iss-usa.org for more information.