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Our History, Vision & Principles

Our History

The origins of International Social Service in Australia go back more than half a century, when an Australian branch of the international ISS network was first established.

The ISS network itself was founded in Geneva in 1924, in response to the migration of displaced persons after World War I and the need to assist families separated across international borders. To coordinate support for people in need, ISS established an international social work network, which today spans over 130 countries and continues to assist children and families with a range of intercountry social work services.

ISS has had a presence in Australia since the late 1930s. It was established as International Social Service – Australian Branch in 1955 and formally incorporated in its present form in 1961.

Today ISS Australia has offices in Melbourne and Sydney and staff based in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. All our services are provided Australia-wide.

Our Vision

A world in which children’s best interests and rights are defended, and families are connected.

Our Mission

To protect, defend and support the best interests and rights of children and families in Australia who have been separated by international borders.

Our Operational Focus

ISS Australia has developed an Operational Focus document setting out the range of strategies and activities we use to fulfill our Mission and achieve, or seek to achieve, our Vision. Download it here.

Our Principles

ISS promotes and protects the rights of families, children and other vulnerable persons according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international human rights standards. The best interests of the child are paramount in all our work. As ISS celebrates diversity, it continually strives to practice in a culturally appropriate manner. The principles of neutrality, confidentiality, independence and impartiality are at the heart of the organisation’s work. ISS’s shared commitment to families, children and individuals unites its global network.