Presentation on theme: "THE ROLE OF SOCIAL WORKERS IN INTERNATIONAL LEGAL COOPERATION IN FAMILY & CHILD LAW WORKING TOGETHER TO SERVE THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD October 2011."— Presentation transcript:
THE ROLE OF SOCIAL WORKERS IN INTERNATIONAL LEGAL COOPERATION IN FAMILY & CHILD LAW WORKING TOGETHER TO SERVE THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD October 2011
TODAYS TALKING POINTS 1. Overview of the role of social work in child protection 2. The role of social workers when implementing policy, laws, and treaties 3. How to build capacity of social workers to protect children in international contexts 4. Improving cooperation and collaboration between social workers and legal/judicial partners in child protection 5. Recommendations for mutually supportive, sustainable international social work and legal cooperation
INTRODUCTION ISS-USA AND TODAYS PRESENTERS
TODAYS PRESENTERS Julie Rosicky Executive Director, ISS-USA usa.org Felicity Northcott Director, ACH Institute ISS-USA usa.org
ISS-USA: WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO Vision: Vision: ISS-USA envisions a world in which all interested parties have access to the technical, structural and practical support to achieve the best interest of children, adults and families separated by international borders Mission: Mission: The mission of ISS- USA is to promote resolutions in the best interests of children, adults and families separated by international borders. ISS-USA accomplishes its mission through the provision of intercountry social services, research, training, technical assistance and advocacy.
ISS-USA...provides case management, technical assistance, and serves as a key resource for obtaining and understanding necessary information to support the family plan, child placement and permanency options
ISS GLOBAL NETWORK
ISS-USA SERVICES Tracing for family members Tracing needed documents including birth, death and marriage certificates International home studies International mediation for custody and visitation Post-placement follow-up Criminal and Child Abuse Registry Checks Child Protection Alerts Repatriating U.S. citizens from abroad, including unaccompanied minors Technical Assistance on a wide variety of international child welfare issues Training for legal and social service personnel working with children with international dimension to their case.
WHAT ISS-USA DOES NOT DO... ISS-USA does not provide : 1.Translation of documents into the language of the country to where they will be sent; 2.Translation into English of documents received from ISS Units abroad; 3.Funds for child welfare staff to travel to visit a child in living abroad; 4.Funds to bring children back to the US after an overseas placement; 5.Funds to bring family members from abroad for court hearings or to take custody of a child involved in the child welfare system; 6.Legal advice; 7.Home studies in Hague adoption cases.
THE ROLE OF SOCIAL WORK IN CHILD PROTECTION AN OVERVIEW
SOCIAL WORKERS ARE CRITICAL When working with children and families, the primary focus for the social worker is finding solutions in the best interest of children.
SOCIAL WORKERS ARE CRITICAL The best interest of the child is an internationally recognized concept The Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1990 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, 1980 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co- operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, 1993 Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children, 1996
SOCIAL WORKERS PLAY MULTIPLE ROLES Social Analyst assess the situation and help people understand their options Social Catalyst responsible for the provision of services that will bring about change for the individual, family, community, or system Social Activist working through social relationships to sustain change
IMPLEMENTING POLICY, LAWS, AND TREATIES THE ROLE OF SOCIAL WORKERS
IMPLEMENTATION OF LAWS & CONVENTIONS Social workers are key to effective implementation of current domestic and international laws and conventions on child welfare issues
ROLE OF SOCIAL WORKERS IN INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS International Hague Convention on International Adoption (1993) U.N. Guidelines for Alternative Care of Children International Hague on Abduction (Hague 1980) Child Protection Convention (Hague 1996)
ROLE OF SOCIAL WORKERS IN DOMESTIC LAWS Fostering Connections Act of 2008 Wrongful separation of children from their parents in the U.S.
HOW TO BUILD CAPACITY OF SOCIAL WORKERS PROTECTING CHILDREN IN INTERNATIONAL CONTEXTS
BUILDING SOCIAL WORK CAPACITY Building the capacity of social workers both in the U.S. and other countries needs to become a priority and resources need to be devoted to the social work profession to ensure the protection of children in international contexts.
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN? Capacity needs to be increased in both the U.S. and other countries Graduate-level programs need to integrate the notion of transnational families into the general curriculum Attention needs to be paid to the recruitment and retention of professional social workers Financial, training, and content-specific resources needs to be increased for child welfare workers
IMPROVING COOPERATION AND COLLABORATION BETWEEN SOCIAL WORKERS AND LEGAL/JUDICIAL PARTNERS IN CHILD PROTECTION
COOPERATION AND COLLABORATION In order to have an effective system of child protection in any one country, regionally, or globally, it is imperative that all the actors are working cooperatively with the single aim of ensuring the best interest of the child.
COOPERATION AND COLLABORATION Social workers can step in where the law ends in order to best meet the needs of the child Both the social work and legal professions need to partner with governmental and non-governmental organizations at every level Judges can be instrumental in facilitating the cooperation between social workers and lawyers
COOPERATION AND COLLABORATION (cont) It is important to work with the Central Authority as soon as is warranted Non-governmental organizations often have expertise on international child protection issues and can provide services and promote awareness Regional collaboration on child protection issues can lead to improved outcomes for children on a much larger scale
RECOMMENDATIONS HOW TO ACHIEVE MUTUALLY SUPPORTIVE, SUSTAINABLE INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL WORK AND LEGAL COOPERATION
RECOMMENDATIONS 1.The child as the focus 2.All of us are social analysts, social catalysts, and social activists 3.Joint consideration of policy and practice 4.Appropriate training and resources 5.Dialogue and knowledge-sharing between social workers, lawyers, and judges 6.Collaboration among stakeholders 7.Understanding the big picture
SAVE THE DATE: ISS-USA CONFERENCE The focus of this conference will be on the need for cooperation among, and coordination between, the legal, judicial and social service partners in cross- border child protection. Key activities will include: Examining the push-pull factors that lead children to move across borders Identifying the existing, and needed, legal and social work frameworks required to resolve trans-national child protection issues Exploring what programs and systems are needed to protect children and families and how we can build the capacity of these systems to meet the growing needs of vulnerable children and families. November 3, :00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Lohrfink Auditorium, Georgetown University Washington, DC For more information or to Register: www. iss-usa.org
CONTACT US GENERAL SECRETARIAT 32, Quai du Seujet 1201 Genève Switzerland (+41 22) ISS-USA 200 E. Lexington St., Suite 1700 Baltimore, MD (443)