The International Social Service

The Swiss Foundation of the ISS is the Swiss branch of the International Social Service, a worldwide network active in over 140 countries. For over 80 years, the International Social Service has provided support to children and families facing problems of social and legal issues in cross-border situations.  We intervene in situations of cross-border family conflicts, child protection (reporting situations of risk, social assessments, socio-legal advice, mediation, etc. . .) and migration (family reunification, unaccompanied minors, prospect development upon return to their country of origin).

In addition to individual casework (for more information click here), consultation and counselling is an important part in the work of the ISS. Each year we offer advice and information by phone or email to hundreds of people in the following sectors: child protection authorities, juvenile offices, migration authorities, judges, lawyers and private individuals.

Serving children and their families

As its name suggests, the employees of the ISS work with methods from social work and mediation. Their interventions are based on a legal framework of national, international and foreign law, in priority the 1989 UN-Convention on the Rights of the Child. They listen and attempt to defuse the conflict, seeking a customized solution with the applicant, the relevant stakeholders and systematically adapting their advice to a changing situation. The ISS does not take sides with either of the parents. It is neutral and seeks to bring both parents and all others concerned to act in the interests of children.

Cases are treated in Geneva and Zurich by two interdisciplinary teams (law, mediation and social work). All our employees have intercultural skills and are fluent in several languages ​​- currently the languages ​​spoken in the ISS are German, English, French, Italian and Spanish. The ISS can rely on a vast network of partners in Switzerland and abroad.