General Secretariat

Protecting Children and Uniting Families Across Borders for 98 years

Child protection & adoption resources for professionals

Kafalah ANG

This new kafalah publication calls for a greater respect of the rights of makfoul children.

Through the analysis of over twenty country contexts, the study aims at clarifying in particular: Where does kafalah originate from? What are its characteristics in different States, and how is it recognised or enforced in another State? More importantly, it addresses current challenges in order to ensure that kafalah is indeed a child protection measure respectful of children's rights, both domestically and across borders.

Available in English and French

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Based on research and extensive experience in alternative care and adoption, ISS has decided to officially publish some of its resources by way of a new series. Each series is a small publication that starts with comparing laws and policies, ending importantly with promising practices to facilitate implementation.

  • PRINCIPLE OF SUBSIDIARITY: ISS/IRC Comparative working paper 1, available in English, French and Spanish.
  • ACCESS TO ORIGINS: ISS/IRC Comparative working paper 2, available in English, French and Spanish.
  • INTRAFAMILY INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS: ISS/IRC Comparative working paper 3, available in English, French and Spanish.


     Principle ANG              ACCESS ORIGINS ANG               IntrafamilyIntercountryAdoptions ANG


Study ACCP ChidrenCambodia

Capacity Development FamilySupport Cambodia

Two new reports from Cambodia were published in 2018: "Study on Alternative Care Community Practices for Children in Cambodia" and "Capacity development plan for family support, foster care and adoption in Cambodia 2018-2023". Both studies were commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY).

The first study, by UNICEF, USAID and Coraminternational, evaluates the different types of alternative care in Cambodia in order to assess the alignment on the implementation of the 2008 Minimum Standards of Alternative Care for Children.

The second study, a capacity development plan, by the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference and ISS, aims to accelerate the child welfare reform in Cambodia.

Both studies will allow professionals to have a better view of the child situation in Cambodia and to implement effective measures for a better child protection.

Based on the Capacity Development Plan, ISS is currently working with two experts, to develop Guideline on the Procedures for Family Based Care.

Studies are available in English.


 At the occasion of the 1993 Hague Convention's 25th anniversary, the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference in association with ISS/IRC has published a brochure recalling the Convention's "basics" and providing an overview on accomplishments and areas to improve. The Brochure also recalls essential tools and publications developed by the HCCH and the ISS/IRC in view of ensuring the Convention's effective implementation.

It is thanks to collaborative efforts and the trust of the HCCH, Central Authorities and governmental organizations that the ISS/IRC is able to accomplish and continue its mission that is sharing information/promising practices in order to equip child protection professionals throughout the world.

The Brochure is available in English and French

ICABreakdowns image ENG

This new publication on intercountry adoption breakdowns aims at giving support to adoptees, adoptive parents, professionals from Central Authorities and from other competent authorities, and Adoption Accredited Bodies, in order to prevent and manage the crises, and even breakdowns, faced by adoptive families. Two messages are clearly set out in this manual. 1. Benevolent, professional, quality support can transform a crisis into an opportunity to reinforce relationships which have suffered from a series of personal and interpersonal factors. 2. Adoption breakdown is a painful process but it never signifies that a person's life is a failure.

Available in English, French and Spanish

Publication for sale in English, French and Spanish CHF 20.-

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Illegal Adoption Professional Handbook ANG



This handbook is structured around four main Chapters, each focusing on the potential responses available to a finding of an illegal adoption from a specific standpoint: legal, psychosocial, social and political. Personal testimonies are woven into the Chapters, highlighting the harsh reality, challenges and achievements of those most affected. Likewise, multiple promising practices illustrating initiatives to address potential difficulties successfully, creatively and sustainably, are provided. The professional handbook does not, of course, purport to have an answer to every situation, but it does provide numerous avenues for dealing with feelings such as anger, grief, regret, disappointment and disillusionment when facing an illegal adoption – ideally providing some hope. Whilst the past cannot be changed, we live in the present with an opportunity to make the future brighter.

Available in English, French and Spanish

Publication for sale in English, French and Spanish CHF 20.- 

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During the fourth Special Commission, ISS/IRC launched its Manifesto for Ethical Intercountry Adoption which, based on the guiding principles of the 1993 Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, intends to promote ethical practices in order to protect the children better as well as anyone involved, and to ensure that intercountry adoption is a protection measure that is used only in the child's best interests. The Manifesto invites intercountry adoption stakeholders to reflect on the fundamental issues involved in adoption ethics. The considerations proposed are based on both applicable international standards as well as on multiple missions completed by members of the ISS/IRC team in countries of origin.

Available in English, French and Spanish.

Publication for sale in English, French and Spanish CHF 10.-

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This study is based on data collected in relation to multiple cases of illicit activities related to intercountry adoption around the world over the last 50 years. This study aims to underline issues of concern surrounding an adoption procedure that are not necessarily and directly covered by the 1993 Hague Convention. Moreover, the publication thoroughly examines the theoretical and technical obstacles that hinder the protection of children against any form of trade in the context of intercountry adoption. Finally, the authors issue various recommendations in order to fight against these reprehensible practices.

Publication for sale in English CHF 15.-

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Sante-ang 0001



 As a follow-up to an initiative taken by the International Adoption Service (IAS) of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in France, and in collaboration with the latter, the ISS /IRC undertook a study on the place of child health in the adoption process. As the topic is vast, the study has focused on the measures implemented by receiving countries, given that their responsibility is particularly at stake in relation to this issue. The perspective of the countries of origin is also included thanks to contributions received from several of them. The study is organised according to the typical outline of an adoption procedure. Each part provides a synthesis of the results as well as the main conclusions, and offers suggestions designed to strengthen or improve the situation. At the end of the document, a factsheet summarises the suggestions formulated through the use of a good practice.

Available in English, French and Spanish.




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