ISS-USA was awarded a Fostering Connections Discretionary Grant from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau. The three-year grant, which exceeds $1.4 million, will fund the work of ISS-USA and its partners in New Jersey to develop policy, procedures and protocol for international placement and tracking of children who may have overseas family connections.
“We will work with the State of New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families, Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) and Rutgers University of School of Social Work Institute for Families to collect data on the number of children in the New Jersey Foster Care system who may have family connections outside of the United States. In addition, we will develop training for DYFS legal and social work staff on new procedures for family finding and engagement for all children with potential family connections outside the United States. Finally, ISS-USA will provide case management services for all cases in New Jersey that include a transnational component” said Dr. Felicity Sackville Northcott, Director of the Arthur C. Helton Institute for the Study of International Social Service and the person who will lead the agency’s work on the project.
Preliminary research suggests that there may be as many as 1500 foster children in New Jersey with an possible international family connections. “Our aim is always driven by what is in the best interest of the child,” said ISS-USA Executive Director Julie Rosicky. “Developing policy, procedure and protocols to ensure positive outcomes is a big part of what we plan to achieve.”
It is hoped that the Demonstration Grant will result in a training and best practices model that will be replicated throughout the United States.