By International Social Service, the Global Social Work Organization
ISS - 100 Years : ISS Pioneer Advocacy related to adoption and, in particular, intercountry adoption.

ISS Pioneer Advocacy related to adoption and, in particular, intercountry adoption.

Involved in the drafting of the 1993 Hague Convention on the ‘Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (HCCH 1993 Adoption Convention), ISS remains committed to ensuring that adoptions and, in particular, intercountry adoptions, are truly a child protection measure as set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

For over three decades, ISS has been actively advocating for wider accession and ratification, as well as better implementation of the HCCH 1993 Adoption Convention through various means, such as evaluation and training missions, participation to conferences and expert/working groupsevidence-based advocacy initiatives towards international and regional instances, the ISS/IRC Newsletter, country situations reports as well as various publications.

Instrumental to the development and implementation of these activities is the team of the International Reference Centre for the Rights of Children deprived of their Family (ISS/IRC), a specialised research and advocacy program at the ISS General Secretariat, based in Geneva, and composed of multilingual child rights specialists providing services to child protection professionals in the fields of alternative care and adoption since 1993. The ISS /IRC has cultivated an in-depth expertise and a wealth of experience in developing and supporting the effective implementation of international standards and providing technical guidance to professionals from various disciplines and sectors across the globe in relation to the protection of the rights of children who are either at risk of or have been deprived of their families.

Always protecting the best interests of the child, ISS advocates for the following principles to be respected in relation to adoption:

. Adoption must ensure the right to family life for a child allowing for his or her full and harmonious development, provided that each family responds to the individual child’s needs.

. Concrete efforts to search for the family of origin in cases of abandonment as well as adequate support to parents in their caregiving role to avoid relinquishment should be carried out and provided.

. Adoptions should only take place when the child is declared adoptable by a national competent body and where, necessary consents have been obtained without any pressure, inducement by payment or compensation of any kind.

. Intercountry adoption may be considered when there is evidence that a child cannot be cared for “suitably” in his or her country of origin (principle of subsidiarity).

· Determining suitability of the adoption for a child starts from examining care with the family of origin to options that are family based of a durable nature, and offer support to the biological family. Temporary family-based options should apply until the most adequate solution is found for the child. The adoptability of the child should be the result of a thorough multidisciplinary assessment by qualified and experienced professionals.

. A home study must occur in a timely manner including, for instance, a detailed evaluation of the prospective adoptive parents’ capacity to care for the child’s unique needs, such as evidence of their adequate preparation and support.

. Intercountry adoption may be considered and given priority over national solutions, when deemed in the best interests of the child, and in compliance with international standards.

. Adoptions must be undertaken in a way that respects the child’s rights to know his or her origins, wherever possible.

. Adequate and accessible post-adoption support services should be made available to adopted children and adoptive families. This entails also providing the necessary support to adoptees and their families (biological and adoptive) prior, during and after a search for origins process.

For more information and in depth analysis and research, you can browse through the ISS/IRC Editorials and Articles, ISS/IRC Thematic factsheets and adoption publications.

ISS wants to draw your attention to the following publications in particular;

. A series of working papers on solutions such the Principle of subsidiarity, Access to origins, and Intrafamily intercountry adoptions.

. A series of guides for adoptees and prospective adoptive parents.

If you have specific questions or would like to receive more information about the ISS/IRC services, please contact 

ISS, the Global Social Work Organization

ISS is present in more than 120 countries, constituting a well-connected network of NGOs, authorities and private social work practices. The ISS global network is coordinated by the ISS General Secretariat in Geneva.
Meet our Members and Members to Be.


Members ad interim
  • Albania
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Monaco
  • Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia


Members ad interim
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Guyana
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Uruguay


Members ad interim
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Central African Republic
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea Conakry
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Ivory Coast
  • Liberia
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Morocco
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • Senegal
  • Seychelles
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Togo
  • Tunisia
  • Uganda
  • Zimbabwe

Asia & Oceania

Members ad interim
  • Afghanistan
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Laos
  • Mongolia
  • Palestine
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Sri Lanka
  • Syria
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Vietnam

International Social Service - West Africa Office

BP 16 603
Dakara, Fann 10 760
Tel:(+221) 33 860 17 44

Asia-Pacific Regional Office (APRO)

International Social Service Hong Kong Branch
6/F, Southorn Centre,
130 Hennessy Road,
Wan Chai,
Hong Kong
Tel.: +852 2835 7544
Fax: +852 2834 7627