As professionals, we know that when a child enters foster care we first look for family: Who can lovingly care for this child? Who can honor their family heritage? Who will be there for them long after their 18th birthday?
When that family member is located across an international border, International Social Service is here to help.
International Social Service activates a global network of social workers in over 130 countries who connect family members separated by international borders. Focused on the needs of each child, the organization believes that all children have a right to be with family—whether near or far.
“It is a matter of equity,” says International Social Service-USA CEO, Julie Rosicky. “Children should not fall through the cracks because it’s complicated.”
When a caseworker in Tennessee found out seven-year-old Beatriz’s parents were living in Guatemala, International Social Service found a child welfare partner in their region. By working as a team, they were able to reunify Beatriz with her parents.
When Ella was placed in foster care in Australia during the Covid-19 pandemic at the age of twelve, International Social Service was able to do a remote home study. This shortened Ella’s stay in foster care in Australia by connecting her with her grandpa in the United States.
Ella and Beatriz represent two of the 400 unique cases seen every year by International Social Service—a number that is expected to grow. Today, one in every four children in the United States has an immigrant family member, according to a report by The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Data Center.
Renee Evelyn is an adoption field support supervisor in New Jersey and an alumnus of the AdoptUSKids MPLD program. Renee has worked with International Social Service throughout her career in child welfare.
“International Social Service is a bridge between the families we serve here in the United States and the family relationships outside of the country,” says Renee. “They facilitate those connections, resources, and bonds, whether it be a child here in care and the parents overseas or vice versa.”
In Renee’s experience, finding family internationally has been very important. Working with International Social Service has helped children in New Jersey. Renee believes it is a valuable resource that could serve children and families in other states as well.
The organization is always recruiting child welfare professionals. Partners help to find families, conduct home studies, and much more. The team at International Social Service encourages anyone interested in learning more to contact them on their website.
“There is more than one way to get things done on behalf of children. We are here to be another tool in your toolbox,” says Julie.
*Identifying information has been changed to protect the confidentiality of all involved.