Monthly Archives: September 2018

In Celebration of Kinship Care Month: How to Eliminate Barriers to Overseas Kinship Placements in Three Easy Steps


According to a 2017 article by the American Bar Association (ABA), kinship care in comparison to non-relative foster care is preferable for many reasons. Kinship care, in general, minimizes trauma, improves children’s well-being, increases permanency for children, improves behavioral and mental health outcomes, promotes sibling ties, and can provide a bridge for older youth.

With this knowledge, a number of states have enacted legislation to expand support for grandparent and relative caregivers in order to increase the number of children placed with relatives. Other important steps include: improving licensing requirements/waivers/variances; expanding the definition of relative; and prioritizing and emphasizing relative placement. Currently, one third of all foster children in America are in kinship foster care.

Barriers to this practice include the wide variance for payments to families caring for their relatives along with ineffective family finding case practice models. Unfortunately, these barriers are even more pronounced when the relative in question lives overseas. As a result, overseas placement is an often overlooked solution in regards to kinship placements.

An example of an International Social Service-USA (ISS-USA) case that found resolution through overseas kinship placement is through the story of Maria and Francisco*. When Maria and her brother Francisco were removed from the home of their drug dependent mother in New Jersey, children’s services discovered that their father currently lived in Mexico. After conducting a home study, and a community survey to understand both the home and the community in which the children would potentially be living, a judge in New Jersey ordered the children to return to their father in Mexico. A New Jersey social worker accompanied the children to Mexico, and was met by a local social worker from the community where the children would be living. Together they accompanied the children and their father to their new home and got the children settled. Post placement reports revealed that the children were in school, thriving, re-learning Spanish and getting the medical care they needed.

We at ISS-USA suggest you follow these steps to overseas kinship placements:

1) The first, and simplest step, to help children reunify with kin overseas to is ask the question, “does this child have family outside of the U.S.?” Ask the child or look into it yourself, or find a way to trace for relatives overseas.
2) If the child does have family in another country, the second step is to learn about the community and the home that the child would be living in. Oftentimes we look at a country as a whole and make generalizations or assumptions about safety based on what we hear or see in the news. Get the facts via a home study and a community survey. Keep in mind, there are neighborhoods in the U.S. that you would not send a child, but in fact there are many places that children grow up perfectly safely!
3) Lastly, if you need advice or help as to what to do next, many options exist. Please don’t hesitate to call us and we can explain how to reunify and reintegrate a child with kin in another country. Email us at question@iss-usa.org and check out our website, iss-usa.org for further information.

*Names and locations have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals and organizations involved

#GivingTuesday: A Global Movement to Celebrate Year-End Charitable Giving

Founded in 2012, the global day of giving, #GivingTuesday, has brought together individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy through a day of giving; whether it is your time, your voice, or your financial support. For years, #GivingTuesday has celebrated generosity both in the U.S. and across the world. This global event allows everyone to give back after the U.S. retail sales on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. This year, #GivingTuesday will be held on November 27th.

As you gather with your family members this holiday season, consider #GivingTuesday as a way to support vulnerable families. International Social Service, USA (ISS-USA) has been working across international borders for over 90 years to connect children, adults, and families to the social services they need. As participants in #GivingTuesday, ISS-USA is encouraging individuals to act as advocates for the mobilization of our global social service network by making a donation between now and November 27.

ISS-USA works globally to provide social services for vulnerable cross-border families. Due to generous donations received in 2017, ISS-USA was able to open 894 cases, provide social work and legal training for 1500 professionals, and connect 1,150 children and adults to social services all over the World.

With proper funding, the International Social Service global network is able to work effectively to support repatriating citizens and the reunification of families. With the support of donors, the members of our global network can ensure the safety and continued care of the children, adults, and families who have become vulnerable due to migration and other issues.

To follow our #GivingTuesday campaign, join us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, with the hashtag, #GivingISSGood.