What We Do


ISS Canada is a national branch of International Social Service (ISS). ISS is a worldwide network, which offers professional services and helps to resolve intercountry social and legal problems affecting children, families and other vulnerable persons wherever they live.

ISS expertise and participation in international forums contribute to the development of conventions and policies at the international level. ISS contributed to the development of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; the Hague Conventions, including the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of Intercountry Adoption, and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

ISS Canada provides Canadian agencies access to the international resources of ISS.

Resources to Protect Children & Families

In response to global issues, ISS develops specialized resources to protect children and families. International Social Service operates projects in cooperation with a number of partners to provide support and guidance to social welfare personnel and to policy makers in countries facing major crises in order to plan for and protect vulnerable children and families. Other international projects provide specific working tools and training for social welfare personnel.

International Reference Centre (IRC)

The International Reference Centre for the rights of children deprived of their family (ISS/IRC) is a division of the ISS General Secretariat launched in 1997. Its principle goal consists of sharing, distributing and promoting good practices in the realm of intercountry adoption and more broadly, the protection of children deprived of their family or at risk of being so, in need of adoption or already adopted. It aims at supporting professionals across the globe.

Based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 (CRC) and the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption of 1993 (THC-1993), the ISS/IRC has developed a specific competence in the area of adoption and in the broader context, the prevention of the abandonment, placement, support to families of origin (nuclear and extended) and the respect of children placed in foster care and in institutions. The ISS/IRC promotes the development of global policies for the protection of children so that each solution is conformity with international conventions.

ISS/IRC Principles

  • Greater protection of the best interests of children deprived of their family or at risk of being so, in need of adoption or already adopted
  • A global policy for children and the family, aiming to:
    • prevent abandonment and placement measures;
    • maintain or reintegrate the child in the family of origin when possible and appropriate;
    • encourage permanent family solutions rather than temporary placements in institutions or families;
    • promote domestic adoption; ensure respect for the rights of the child in domestic and intercountry adoption;
    • adapt the size and the organisation of institutions for the safe custody and protection of children who are kept there, for limited periods of time;
    • combat abuses, trafficking, sale and abduction of children.
  • The ratification and application of international conventions relating to the rights of these aforementioned children.

The acquaintance/knowledge, exchange of experience, contact, dialogue and collaboration between professionals of governmental and non-governmental agencies throughout the world