Download our Frequently Asked Questions as a PDF.
Our ISS-USA Flyer provides a quick reference about our agency and the types of assistance we can provide.
1. What is ISS-USA?
International Social Service-USA Branch (ISS-USA) is a member of a global network of social work agencies providing services in over 120 countries around the world. ISS-USA provides inter-country case management services on any case involving a child with family resources outside of the United States. The global headquarters of International Social Service (ISS) is located in Geneva, Switzerland. Our mission is to mobilize a domestic and international network of legal and social work professionals to efficiently connect vulnerable children, adults and families separated by international borders to the services and support they need.
2. What does ISS-USA do?
We have three main areas of work.
1) Our intercountry case management program provides cross-border social services for child protection, children in foster care, and families in conflict in over 120 countries.
2) We are the contractor for the U.S. Repatriation Program for the U.S. government that returns eligible Americans back to the United States.
• Read about the U.S. Repatriation Program
3) Our Arthur C. Helton Institute provides training, technical assistance, and conducts research and advocacy on best practices in international child protection and child welfare.
3. Who does ISS-USA help?
We help children and adults in the U.S. who need to connect with family outside of the United States. We also work with children and adults outside the United States who need to connect with family in the U.S.
4. Where does ISS-USA work?
We are the American unit of a global network of social service agencies. We work in all 50 U.S. states and in over 120 countries.
• See a map of where we have worked recently (coming soon)
5. How does ISS-USA provide services?
We work with our network partners around the world and local partners in the U.S. to provide high quality and timely services. We follow our network’s philosophy of relying on qualified social workers who are native to country, or locality, where the work is needed to ensure local standards and norms are met in every case. We are outcome driven and incorporate best practice in child welfare and cross-border case management in all of our work.
6. What kinds of cross-border services does ISS-USA provide?
We provide over 20 types of cross-border services in over 120 countries. Many of our services help kids in foster care reach permanency more quickly. These services include family notification of a child in foster care, family-finding and engagement, criminal background checks on adults who may take custody of a child, checking on the well-being and safety of a child, facilitation of the child’s travel for visitation or placement, obtaining birth and death certificate, and issuing international protective service alerts when a child is in danger.
We also provide many services for adult adoptees, vulnerable adults and adults searching for a relative in another country.
7. Does ISS-USA provide training opportunities and resources on cross-border topics?
Yes. We regularly provide trainings for social workers, legal and judicial professionals, child advocates, and policy makers. In addition, our staff presents frequently at conferences on cross-border child protection and child welfare topics. We also host an annual conference.
In addition, we provide content expertise and resources on many topics that relate to children and families who are separated across international borders.
8. Are there fees involved in working with ISS-USA?
There are no fees for questions and requests for information. However, except in the case of a Protective Service Alert (notifying the proper authorities when a child is in immediate danger) there will be a fee-for-service.
• Learn about our services for children and services for adults
• Learn about the U.S. Repatriation Program
• Learn more about our trainings for social, legal, and judicial stake holders and technical assistance work
9. How can I contact ISS-USA?
You can contact us via our website, email, or by phone. We do our best to get back to you with an initial response within 48 business hours.
10. How can I learn more and get involved with ISS-USA?
There are many ways learn more and get involved with ISS-USA. We suggest you start by browsing the information we have included on our website and social media channels.
You can also reach out to us directly.