QUATERLY JANUARY- APRIL 2012
ISS NEWS : Linking the network
In this Edition
New Structure at the General Secretariat
Edito Due to lack of capacity, the Vietnam, our first pilot project With PAC a network de-
GS had not issued any infor- country. A mission in Haiti velopment policy was
mation bulletin since April also raised the child protec- developed and a social
Training & 2
Casework 2011—1 year ago—With our tion needs and the role ISS work policy is in the
sincere apologies for that in- could play there in the near making.
formation blackout, we pre- future.
Network 3 sent you today this spring
On the network expan-
Development 2012 edition which is the first
In the field of advocacy and sion front, an important
of a series that hopefully will
policy development, we are efforts undertaken by
be published 3 times a year
pressing ahead with the Im- Branches such as Can-
International 3 and that can bring all the net-
plementation and Monitoring ada, Germany, Hong
Family work members together, hop-
Mediation Handbook on the UN Guide- Kong, Switzerland, UK,
ing direct implication for pro-
lines for Alternative Care of and USA are starting to
viding information material
4 Children and we have re- yield results in support
Research & will be crucial.
Publication cently published a study in- of new Correspondents
With a new structure in place in the 4 corners of the
vestigating the grey zones of
and the imminent constitution world is bringing tangible
of our "global teams" with our results and along those
Projects network members and exter- lines we add the efforts
nal experts, the ISS General On the Int’l cooperation co- from the GS to those
Secretariat (GS) is embarking operation side, we have same objectives .
Food for 5 on a new approach to rise up signed a cooperation agree-
thought to the challenges our federa- ment with the Hague Perma-
You will find out more
tion faces. The new modus nent Bureau, so did we with
news on those efforts
operandi will concentrate our “Medecins du Monde” and
inside this issue.
Haiti: update on 6 support by focus area such currently pursuing final dis-
international as training and casework cussions with “Terre Des
adoption and , external relations, fund Hommes”, the International Last but not least, the
raising, family mediation, net- Federation of Red Cross and ISS casework Manual
Network 6-8 work development, support to Red Crescent and UNICEF has been issued thanks
Update members, special projects, (on country levels). to the continuous efforts
research on specific topics of our training and case-
such as surrogacy, etc. work unit coordinator as
Our status with UN special-
well as all the supervi-
ized agencies such as
This will enable us as well to sors and other col-
UNHCR, IOM, ILO has been
allocate quality time to de- leagues involved.
updated and direct links re-
velop further and consolidate established. Today the Gen- Jean Ayoub/SG
our activities by sector. eral Secretariat participates
fully in the work oft hoses
Within the framework of our ——————————
special project unit, we had a
successful assessment in JOIN US AT BANFF !
Page 2 : Linking the network
ISS NEWSISS Lines: Linking the network
Training & Casework
ISS Casework Manual new edition out!
After years of consultations and many We all strive for excellence and we
meetings dedicated to the writing of should not consider less than that,
the Manual, we have published the it makes our comparative advan-
2012 version. tage as an international non
The ISS Manual is first intended to governmental organisation across
Correspondents, which have been the globe even stronger and our
requesting guidelines regarding ISS day-to-day interaction among our-
INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL SERVICE
procedures and methodology t selves well founded and better GENERAL SECRETARIAT
strengthen their expertise in handling structured. Learning from our ex-
inter-country cases. perience and developing good
practice makes us an efficient or-
« a reference to render our work even more ganisation to the benefit of the Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations
people we support across borders.
professional in an ever changing world »
In order to better serve the entire
network, a Spanish and French
It also has the pretention to be a refer-
translation of the document is fore-
ence document for all our caseworkers seen.
who relentlessly work with cases on a
We are currently looking for re-
day-to-day basis, a reference to render sources to be able to publish hard
our work even more professional in an copies of the ISS Manual with
ever changing world and needs chang- translation in French and Spanish
ing with it.
The agenda of the ISS Correspon-
dents Training Session taking
place between 21st and 22nd May
2012 before the International
Council in Banff, Canada will be
Experienced ISS trainers from dif-
ferent part of the world will be pre-
The seminar co-organised by the sent to facilitate this interactive
General Secretariat and ISS Can- seminar.
ada with the help of branch super-
This international training is a
visors is intended to all Correspon-
unique opportunity to remind ISS
dents but is also open to partners
casework standards and proce-
and potential Correspondents.
dures as well as share on good
practises with other network enti-
ISS Lines Page 3
Cooperation opportunities & expansion
Poland and Democratic Repub- underway with no tangible results
lic of Congo, two potential part- yet.
ners identified last year by respec- In Georgia and Somalia interesting
tively ISS Germany and ISS Swit- contacts with good potential for the
zerland have undergone a desk network are ongoing with hopefully a
evaluation and are well-advanced positive result soon.
in their accreditation procedure.
Defence for Children International
A new partnership opportunity in Italy NGO visited the GS to follow-up
Lebanon is under development. contact initiated by ISS German
Negotiations are well advanced Branch regarding cooperation oppor- ISS USA has identified another po-
with a new potential Correspon- tunities in casework activities and tential partner in Guatemala, which
dent. other joint projects. This cooperation is familiar with casework and aims at
In France, and together with the will be defined in a common plan of becoming an ISS Correspondent.
Swiss branch contacts with organi- action during a meeting in Italy after a trial period.
sations and individuals are still scheduled mid June.
ISS at the Inter-American Court
The Latin American Foster Care
Network (RELAF) and ISS pre-
sented together a request to be-
come “amicus curiae” - friends of
the Inter-American Court of Hu-
man Rights in the consultative HAGUE SPECIAL NEWS
opinion on child migration re- Following the cooperation agreement
quested by the governments of with the Hague Conference on Private
Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and International Law (HccH), ISS was in-
Uruguay, all members of MERCO- vited to attend the Seminar on: “The
SUR. Work of the Hague Conference on Pri-
The “amicus curiae” are presenta- vate International Law and its Relevance
tions that allow NGOs express for the Caribbean Region and Bermuda
their opinions – an Interactive Training Seminar” from
the 21 - 24 May 2012 – Hamilton Ber-
International Family Mediation
The project promotes international ISS published a Briefing Docu- The creation of a global network of
family mediation (IMF) for the ment, advocating for IMF in Hague mediation professionals is in process;
resolution of cross-border family proceedings and for a more effec- The GS gathered an international advi-
conflicts. It aims to advocate for tive protection of children involved sory group of experts to support its
the mediation practice and rein- in international child abductions actions and is actively involved in spe-
force it through the creation of a cases under THC 1980. cialized trainings in IMF.
global network of professionals.
To sensitize state authorities on An important ISS delegation cov- Furthermore, the GS is working on
recognizing amicable modes of ered The Hague Special Commis- hosting in 2012 an international meet-
dispute resolution as a comple- sion meeting in January 2012 pre- ing for mediation and developing prac-
ment to judicial procedures and senting ISS views and stands. tical guides for concerned audiences
facilitate transnational cooperation, and stakeholders.
Page 4 ISS NEWS : Linking the network
Research & Publication
New release and monthly review soon redesigned
While the first findings of the ISS/ Moreover, it thoroughly examines theoretical
IRC study « Investigating the grey and technical obstacles that hinder the protec-
zones of intercountry adoption » tion of children against trade in the context of
were presented during the 2010 ICA and goes on to formulate various recom-
Hague Special Commission, the mendations in order to tackle these poor prac-
study has been recently published. tices.
Based on data collected on multi-
ple cases of illicit activities related Concerning the ISS/IRC Monthly Review, its
to intercountry adoption (ICA) design is being rethought by the Research &
around the world over the last 50 Publication Unit. Designers have been con-
years, the study aims to underline sulted to that effect and a brand new layout
issues of concern surrounding an should be available soon.
adoption procedure that are not
necessarily and directly covered by
The Hague Convention.
This project aims at helping chil-
For example, they identified a Viet-
dren with disabilities deprived of
namese NGO as a potential part-
their family to leave institutional
ner, having the capacity to assist
care and to grow up in a family
in training in orphanages sched-
setting. In this framework, the Spe-
uled for the end of this year.
cial Projects Unit is drafting a prac-
tical handbook which will explain The results and observations gath-
the global methodology and pro- ered from the field will allow the
vide tools to develop a procedure Unit to enhance the method. Obvi-
to design family life projects re- ously, the aim is to replicate out
garding the child’s need. their materials and to develop a
To test and improve this method, global method that interested
they will work with four pilot coun- countries can then adapt to their
tries, worldwide. The first pilot context.
country is Vietnam, where the Unit
just completed their first assess-
ment. This mission allowed them « The Unit aims to work in close
collaboration with competent A Vietnamese orphanage visited
to meet Vietnamese authorities by the team
authorities and local actors »
and relevant professionals as well
as visit orphanages, etc. The Unit
aims to work in close collaboration
with competent authorities and
ISS Lines Page 5
Food for thought
Children’s rights born to surrogate mothers and the statehood of surrogate mothers themselves raise loads of
interrogations regarding the phenomena itself; the possible confusion with adoption across the world and the
role social services professionals could perform in surrogacy cases.
While surrogacy lacks an international legal framework, this practice is completely forbidden in some coun-
tries, whereas in some other it is not only legal but it is becoming a booming business where several well es-
tablished entities recruit mothers and adopting parents and match them together. This international legal
loophole and the variety of national legislations lead to inextricable situations detrimental to children’s rights.
Is it an unethical phenomenon or the expected consequence of high demand and low offer in adoption?
What measures and policies should govern surrogacy and ensure protection of children’s rights born to surro-
gate mothers? What role can ISS and its professionals play into that sector?
Many ISS Branches have picked up on the subject and showed interest and bringing the reflexion forward,
the GS had several reflexions on the subject in 2011 and classified it as an issue to actively pursue this year
and has embarked on a study in that direction; a circular was sent to interested Branches in that subject and
through our collective efforts and thoughts we can soon start answering some of those interrogations.
Page 6 ISS NEWS : Linking the network
Haïti: Update on international adoption
More than two years after the dev- The absence of common ap- While discussions are still going on, the GS
astating earthquake in Haiti, a lot proach from the receiving coun- remain confident in its capacity to set up a
remains to be done in the very tries certainly does not help, and project that meets some of the dire needs,
specific field of child protection and certainly gives contradictory mes- and to position itself as reliable child rights
intercountry adoption. If some sages to the Haitian authorities. defender agency.
positive signs are sent from the
local authorities in charge (the Over the last weeks, the GS has
clear commitment of president drawn a concept note and intensi-
Martelli to forbid independent fied contacts with potential part-
adoption, strict evaluation and, ners: we are considering multilat-
when necessary, closure of eral alliance possibilities that will
crèches, etc.), the pressure re- ultimately lead to a firm proposal
mains tangible to restart intercoun- to Haitian Central authorities on
try adoptions and this despite the the best way forward.
fact that basic guarantees are still
not in place.
Photo by Nora Lis, RELAF
What’s new in...
ISS Australia will shortly be an intercountry element to it. Ac- ceived additional funding from the
launching not one but two new ser- creditation under the Australian Telematics Trust to turn the project
vices: a Hague Convention Legal family law system of its staff will materials into an online course in
Assistance Service and an Interna- allow ISS Australia to provide for- the understanding and application
tional Family Mediation Service. mal mediation services and to sign of child rights, particularly in a
The Legal Assistance Service is the certificates required by the workplace setting. Though princi-
the result of new funding from the Family Court showing mediation pally aimed at an Australian audi-
Australian Central Authority under was pursued by the parties. The ence, ISS Australia will be pleased
the 1980 Hague Convention, the service will operate on a fee-for- to share its training materials with
Commonwealth Attorney-General's service model, in the absence of the ISS network when ready.
Department (effectively Depart- government funding.
ment of Justice). It will provide as- ISS Australia also recently com-
ISS Canada President Mr. Cham-
sistance to clients across Australia pleted a research project entitled
ney is hard at work coordinating the
in preparing and lodging an appli- "In the Best Interests of the Child",
ongoing and final touches required
cation for return or access under funded by the Ian Potter Founda-
to make the 2012 International
the Convention. Clients of the ser- tion. The project resulted in a sub-
Council meeting a huge success.
vice may choose to access ISS stantial report entitled "From Princi-
As you may know, there is a full
Australia's existing IPCA counsel- ples to Practice - Understanding
week (May 21st to May 25th, 2012)
ling and support service, but this is and Applying a Child Rights
of meetings and training planned in
not mandatory. Framework", accompanied by a set
Banff (Alberta, Canada) that will
The Branch’s other new service will of training materials developed by
conclude with a 2 day open Confer-
provide international family media- the report's author, lawyer Cath-
ence with unique and engaging
tion services to clients across Aus- erine Caruana, and a training con-
topics presented by professionals
tralia, where a family dispute has sultant. ISS Australia has now re-
from around the world.
ISS Lines Page 7
Japan experienced disastrous Care and Protection Support, Child,
earthquake and tsunami in March Youth and Family, Ministry of So-
11, 2011. Their aftermath and fol- cial Development already knows
lowing the problem of radiation con- the ISS as she attended the Asia-
tamination have affected many ac- Pacific Regional meeting in Hong
tivities of Japan and ISS Japan’s Kong in 2006.
activity was no exception. Despite
many hardships, ISS Japan keeps ISS Philippines has embarked
on working for the issues of inter- since the beginning of this year on
country adoption, abduction of chil- intensifying their fund-raising activi-
dren due to the breakdown of inter- ties. The Branch will welcome a
ISS Canada is urging all ISS delegates to national marriage, stateless-child, German social worker for a two
REGISTER and BOOK accomodation, meals refugees and asylum-seekers. ISS months internship programme.
Japan received more than 50 in-
required and ground transportation from Cal-
quiries about possible adoption of ISS Portugal (APASSI) has a new
gary Airport to Banff. This is VERY IMPOR-
tsunami orphans for a month right Governing Board led by their new
TANT for our ISS Canada contract with the
after the earthquake. According to President Mrs Maria de Lourdes
Banff Centre. the statistics issued by the Ministry Baptista Quaresm since February
of Health, Labor and Welfare in 2012. The new governance is com-
Furthermore, ISS Canada is very March 2012, more than 1’200 chil- posed of three different bodies.The
happy to have settled into its new dren lost one or two parents. In President of ISS Portugal will be
office and is enjoying the new work Japan, local relative adoption is the present in Banff—Welcome Maria !
space. Anne-Josée Marion, part-time first priority for those children, so
staff, and Sylvie J. Lapointe, Director there was no immediate need for ISS South Africa noted that
of Services, have also welcomed vol- inter-country adoption. ISS Japan throughout Southern Africa, thou-
unteers in the office. Adriana is as- would like to express deep appre- sands of children migrate through
sisting the staff with Spanish cases ciation for encouraging messages irregular channels every year. Chil-
and general help and Lori is ISS Can- from other members of ISS. dren often leave their homes as a
ada's book keeper. Recently, the Japanese govern- survival strategy after the death of
ment has moved forward to the rati- a parent/caregiver or as a result of
ISS Germany is the first ISS mem- fication of the 1980 Hague Abduc- poverty, vulnerability or political
ber to get the Status of Central Con- tion Convention. It expects to be instability and conflict, or to seek
tact Point for International Family ratified during 2012. In this respect, asylum. Children migrate alone or
Mediation for the Hague Conference ISS Japan highly evaluate the re- with a caregiver in search of a bet-
on Private International Law. We cent ISS Cooperation agreement ter life.
congratulate them for their hard work with the Hague Conference on Pri- The South African Children’s Act,
and this inspiring achievement for the vate international Law and would 38 of 2005 defines a child as any
whole network! like to ask continued support for person under the age of 18, there-
http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php? Japan’s ratification of 1993 Hague fore all foreign children (whether
act=publications.details&pid=5360&dtid= convention on Inter-country adop- documented or not) who are re-
52 tion. ported to be in need of care and
ISS New Zealand: The Ministry of protection need to be treated and
Social Development, (MSD) Child, assisted like South African children.
Youth and Family National Office, As a response Provincial Action
ISS Israel would like to introduce to
informed the GS that Mrs Zoe Grif- Plans were developed in Limpopo
the ISS network the new director of
fiths will be the next director of ISS and Gauteng as to how the situa-
their Ministry's Department of Interna-
New Zealand Affiliated Bureau. tion of unaccompanied minors will
tional Relations, Mrs. Renee
Ms Griffiths who has been recently be addressed in the prov-
Techelet, who follows Avraham
appointed as the General Manager, inces. Steering committees were
Page 8 ISS : Linking the network
ISS NEWS Lines: Linking the network
established involving all government also to track the increasing number
and NGO actors, to monitor the im- of questions received and subse- Check ISS
plementation and progress of the pro- quent responses to these questions. USA Annual
ject plans. The ISS South Africa Affili- This data will be instrumental in Report
ated Bureau is heavily involved in this helping ISS USA showcase their
process as well producing a national work and its impact when talking to
Guideline for Separated and Unac- ISS partners, possible funders, and
companied Foreign Children. other key stakeholders. The Arthur
C. Helton Institute staff will also be
In 2011, ISS Switzerland has sup- using the information captured in this
ported more than 4’000 children and database to help inform the articles
they are writing, advocate more ef- The ISS UK Branch (CFAB) has
families while handling 1’198 cases of
launched a brand new, user
children and families. fectively for enhanced protection of
friendly website – please visit it at
Thanks to the combined efforts of the children and families in cross border
situations and to share outcomes www.cfab.org.uk.
Branch and their partners, 500 chil-
dren were taken into care by the about how ISS USA, and ISS around The Branch hosted a very success-
members of the West Africa Network the globe, is improving the lives of ful International Child Protection
last year. Bringing the total number of children and families. fundraising dinner in February at
young people supported through this ISS USA engaged in effective case the Swiss Ambassador’s Resi-
programme to 1’800 since 2006. In management through the organisa- dence raising over £100,000.
addition, many families also benefited tion of monthly calls with one of their CFAB produced and premiered its
from support to improve their income. key partners in Mexico to share first major fundraising DVD avail-
cases updates, problem-solve com- able under http://www.cfab.org.uk/
Coming soon the plex case situations, and discuss fundraising/
2011 ISS Swit- lessons learned. These fruitful dis-
zerland Annual The Branch was featured in a BBC
cussions have led to timely resolu-
Report! News Night documentary discuss-
tion of cases and increased under-
ing the issue of private fostering of
standing of country specific social
overseas children, following the
service processes. Based on the
verdict of a high profile murder
positive results of these Skype con-
case here in the UK.
ference calls, ISS USA has initiated
collaboration with ISS UK to share ISS UK secured major funding
resources, ask questions, and build from Comic Relief to set up a vir-
ISS USA has been busy this year relationships between ISS staff, re- tual child trafficking operational
finding simple but impactful ways to sulting in more efficient case man- group over the 2012 London Olym-
utilize technology to be more effective agement requests. pics to ensure the safeguarding of
and ensure the best outcomes for
these children as numbers are set
children and families. Here are three It should be noted that the use of
to increase over the Games.
on-going projects… Webinar Teleconferencing was intro-
A web-based Intercountry Case Man- duced to hold PAC meetings.
agement Database was created in
order to recognise the need to both
document the important work that ISS
intercountry case workers perform but
ISS Lines Page 9
The International Social Service (ISS) is a not-for-profit interna-
tional organisation represented by a network of national bodies
which supports children, families and individuals facing social
and legal difficulties across borders. ISS is a recognised organi-
sation on issues related to child protection and welfare, such as
adoption, neglected and abandoned children, unaccompanied
minors, international family conflicts, through its network of
partners in more than 100 countries active in casework, trai-
ning, information and awareness raising projects.
International Social Service (ISS-SSI)
32 Quai du Seujet, 1201 Geneva