International Social Service – Hellenic Branch (ISS – Hellenic Branch)
The International Social Service – Hellenic Branch (ISS – Hellenic Branch) is a Non-Governmental and Non-Profit Organization, certified by the Greek State as an agency providing social welfare services, and recognized by the Presidential Decree 226/99 and by the L. 4538/2018 as a competent authority for handling intercountry adoptions.
The ISS – Hellenic Branch was founded in 1924 and helps individuals and families who, due to voluntary or forced migration (Greek expatriates, foreign citizens living in Greece, immigrants, refugees), social and psychological problems, require coordinated Social Services actions in more than one country.
Since 1993, the Hellenic Branch pioneered in the effort for Greece to ratify the 1993 Hague Convention on issues of international adoptions. It was eventually ratified in 2009 and the I.S.S- Hellenic Branch is the only non-governmental organization for the implementation and handling of intercountry adoptions.
The Organization, with its General Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, has Branches and Representatives in 140 countries working transnational (international network of national organizations and bodies) to address the social, psychological and legal problems of individuals and families caused by unintentional or voluntary relocation in other countries. The primary concern of the International Social Service is the protection of children internationally.
The Hellenic Branch of the ISS is the only Organization in Greece that provides transnational social services and collaborates with the ISS network around the world. For any case that requires cooperation with organizations abroad, both the Greek public sector (Prefectures, Ministries, Hospitals etc.), as well as non-governmental organizations and Embassies, address to the ISS for the referral of cases.
The main thematic area of the Organization is the international social work. The main areas of activity are:
- International Child Protection > This includes: protecting children in cases of guardianship, custody, abduction of the minor by one parent, maintaining contact with both parents in cases of divorce or separation, working on cases of unaccompanied children seeking reunification.
- Intercountry Adoption > Includes: evaluation of the prospective adoptive parents and their capability of the parental role, draft of social report (Home Study), Cooperation with the country of origin of the child to be adopted, Counselling and supportive work with the adoptive parents before and after the adoption process, Counselling with people who have been adopted and want to learn or find their roots.
- Intercultural Family Counselling > Includes: Pre-marriage information and counselling, mediation to resolve marital conflicts, prevention of child abduction by one parent.
Members of the ISS – Hellenic Branch participate in the international decision-making bodies of the International Social Service, such as the International Council, the Governing Board, and the Professional Advisory Committee.