ISS network

International Social Service (ISS) is one of the oldest international non-governmental organisations established in 1924 in Geneva as to provide support to children and families who were separated during the migration processes after the First World War. At present, ISS is a network of more than 110 organisations all over the world that deals with the so called inter-country cases.

ISS is recognized by the international community and has a consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, UNICEF and Council of Europe. ISS works also in close cooperation with the Hague Conference on Private International Law, with which it has signed Agreement for Cooperation within the Hague Conventions related to children.

When it comes to communication, mediation or localisation of a child, the 1996 Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children allows other bodies alongside with the Central Authorities to participate in such activities. ISS is given as a concrete example for “other body” in the Explanatory Report with respect to the application of Article 31 of the Convention (page 591). In particularly, ISS is explicitly cited as an organisation of uncontested competence, to which Central Authorities can refer for cooperation and mediation regarding parental responsibility and child protection measures:

ISS-Bulgaria is a branch of the ISS. In this role ISS-Bulgaria provides social and legal assistance to Bulgarian and Foreign individuals and entities by means of mediation for preparation of social reports and assessments, which help Courts and Social Services to take decisions in the best interests of the child and his/her family in cross-border situation. Mediation is bilateral: Social Service or Court from abroad require assistance for a social report from Bulgaria or Bulgarian Court or Child Protection Service need a social report from overseas.