ISS-USA’s Regional Conference in Guatemala

Coordinated Cross-Border Social Services for Children and Families Migrating in the Northern Triangle, Mexico and the U.S.

April 28-29, 2016 ~ Antigua, Guatemala

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Thanks to the generous support from our project donor, ISS-USA hosted an international meeting in Antigua, Guatemala entitled “Coordinated Cross-Border Social Services for Children and Families Migrating in the Northern Triangle, Mexico and the United States.”
The regional conference, which was originally conceived as a training for new and existing ISS partners in the Northern Triangle, grew into a platform for participants from five countries representing government, civil society, advocacy groups and academia to generate a dialogue around needs and solutions for cross-border child welfare and social services.

The second day of the conference was an opportunity for the group to discuss and define outstanding questions and concerns, which included both logistical questions around protocols and managing complex cases as well as the need for a coordinated network of child welfare professionals. Suggestions included defining roles and responsibilities within a multidisciplinary network, and working towards an integrated prevention, intervention and rights-based approach for protection.

Participants also articulated goals to address the outstanding concerns. Goals included creating a stronger feedback loop among stakeholders to help enforce protocols, incorporating more government and civil society actors to strengthen the network of providers, and working as a network to understand cross-border differences and similarities in protocols to assess opportunities for sharing and collaboration.

We ended the conference by generating a list of action steps and individual commitments to move towards a coordinated network for cross-border services. Participants proposed creating national coalitions with consistent communication mechanisms as well as conducting outreach among government and civil society actors in order to build strategic partners and allies. Notably, the group committed to maintaining ongoing, cross-border contact with conference participants and the extended network of stakeholders to guarantee safe repatriation, reunification and reintegration strategies that are viable and collaborative. View the Conference Summary for more information.

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