December 7, 2017

St. Francis Community Services Forms Alliance with International Social Service-USA



Angela Smith, Corporate Director of Mission Engagement

Saint Francis Community Services



Julie Rosicky, Executive Director

International Social Service-USA Branch




St. Francis Community Services Forms Alliance with International Social Service-USA

Partnership Provides Help for Children and Families Separated by International Borders

BALTIMORE, Maryland – International Social Service-USA Branch (ISS) has formed an alliance with Saint Francis Community Services to provide cross-border social services to children and families separated by voluntary or forced migration, adoption, abduction or human trafficking.

ISS maintains a network of social work agencies and providers in more than 140 countries. Saint Francis provides an array of family services, including foster care, adoption and  residential care.

As part of the alliance, Saint Francis will serve as the on-the-ground liaison for ISS in El Salvador, where Saint Francis already has child welfare programs in place. By employing best practices in international child welfare, Saint Francis and ISS will also help Kansas meet the growing challenge of keeping children safe and keeping families together.

In addition to increasing positive outcomes for safety and permanency, Saint Francis and ISS can reduce the amount of time children remain in state custody while awaiting reunification or relative placement. This can minimize negative impacts on children while reducing the costs of care most often absorbed by the state.

Starting in February 2018, ISS and Saint Francis, in collaboration with International Social Service will conduct joint training sessions for Kansas social workers, judges, lawyers and other child protection professionals, focusing on the international processes required to reintegrate children with their families abroad. Cross-border services can include:

·         Background checks/child abuse registry checks

·         Comprehensive community surveys

·         Document searches and relative tracing/family notification

·         Home safety and viability checks

·         Home studies for parental custody and possible relative placement

·         Post return welfare checks

·         Protective service alerts

·         Technical assistance

“More than 111,000 children and immigrant families are in living Kansas. Nationwide, there are 18 million children who are sons and daughters of immigrants, or who are immigrants,” said Angela Smith, corporate director of mission engagement for Saint Francis. “This partnership provides an exceptional, unique opportunity to improve initiatives on child protection and care, both at home and abroad. More importantly, it’s implementing best practices as we seek to reunite children with their families and ensure the safety and best interest of the child remains at the center of placement decisions, whether they be here in the U.S. or in other countries. Our responsibility to these children do not end at a border.”

“This is a first-of-its-kind partnership,” explained Julie Rosicky, executive director of ISS ( “We have aligned with government agencies in the past, but this is our first partnership with a not-for-profit, faith-based organization like Saint Francis. This is a natural alliance for us because Saint Francis already has an established presence in countries where we want to strengthen our network and similarly, is well positioned to help states in the U.S. to proactively work with families, through our network, who happen to be outside the U.S. in the same way as they work with families who happen to live across state lines.   Most exciting for us is that together with Saint Francis we can strengthen cross border services to children and families both within the U.S. and in targeted regions of the world, all while demonstrating better outcomes for children.”

“We are excited about the opportunity to further our service to children and families separated by national and international borders as a result of our new partnership with Saint Francis,” said Mary Mentaberry, Chair of the ISS Board of Directors.  “Through the combined extensive networks of both organizations, our alliance will ensure safe placement of a greater number of vulnerable children.  We look forward to furthering this important work alongside St. Francis.”

Founded in 1924, International Social Service has been connecting cross border families in more than 140 countries for over 90 years. ISS mobilizes a domestic and international network of legal and social work professionals to efficiently connect vulnerable children, adults and families who are separated by international borders to the services and support they need.  

Founded in 1945 in Ellsworth, Kansas, Saint Francis Community Services encompasses foster care, therapeutic foster care, adoption, family preservation, residential care, and community outreach services. Since 2015, Saint Francis Community Services ( has expanded its ministry to include comprehensive programs serving children and families in El Salvador and Honduras as well as strengthening the field of child welfare in China through its participation in the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations Professional Fellows Program.





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