90th Anniversary Conference of the German Member of International Social Service

Children in Focus – Best Interests and Rights of the Child in Social Work across Borders

Since its foundation in 1930 as the German member of the International Social Service network, the ISD (Internationaler Sozialdienst), which today is Department I in the German Association for Public and Private Welfare (Deutscher Verein für öffentliche und private Fürsorge e.V.), has been concerned with the implications of migration for children and their families. Protecting children across borders, safeguarding their rights and strengthening and uniting families are the goals of the joint work, then as now. Embedded in the German Welfare Congress 2022, the ISD invites you to a conference to honour its 90th anniversary.

Families in migration are faced with specific challenges. When this stressful situation is further complicated by conflict situations regarding their children, the pressure on those affected is particularly high. But also professionals face special challenges in their work across national borders. A central problem area are cross-border conflicts over child custody, the right of access and child abduction. The migration movements of recent years have also raised new questions, e.g. how the best interests of the child can be taken into account in the context of refugees, deportation and voluntary return. Moreover, new developments such as reproductive medicine are resulting in new cross-border situations. In this regard, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Hague Conventions have had a significant impact on international cooperation in the interest of children.

The more complicated the situation, the greater the risk of losing sight of the individual child, his or her wishes and interests. The conference therefore places the focus on the child. Jointly with international speakers, current developments and challenges of cross-border social work will be discussed with a specific focus on children’s rights and the determination and safeguarding of the best interests of the child in a transnational context.

The conference languages are German and English with a simultaneous translation.



10:30 – 11:00 Uhr
Opening of the conference and welcome | GERMAN (with English translation)

11:00 –11:45 Uhr
Best interests of the child: Determination of the best interests of the child in a cross-border context | ENGLISH (with German translation)

11:45 – 12:30 Uhr
The abducted child – Considerations from a psychological perspective | ENGLISH (with German translation)

Lunch break

14:00 – 14:30 Uhr
Hague Convention on Child Abduction: Review and current questions | ENGLISH (with German translation)

14:30 – 15:30 Uhr
Child abduction – How helpful are the existing possibilities of support offered to parents and children in case of abduction? – A panel discussion | ENGLISH/ GERMAN (with translation)

Coffee break

16:00– 18:00 Uhr
5 parallel Specialist Forums

  • The new Brussels IIb Regulation (EC) – What will change for child and youth welfare services and for the family courts? | GERMAN
  • Aliens law meets child and youth services law – child and youth services law meets aliens law | GERMAN
  • Child welfare and child protection in Poland – Legal framework and actors | GERMAN
  • Child welfare and child protection in Lebanon – Legal framework and actors | GERMAN/ ENGLISCH (with translation)
  • Surrogate motherhood and the rights of the child – a contradiction? | GERMAN

18:00 Uhr
Anniversary champagne reception – 90 Years of Internationaler Sozialdienst

18:30 Uhr
„Abend der Begegnung“ (Evening of encounter) – German Welfare Congress (DFT)


09:00 – 10:30 Uhr
Put to the test: What do unaccompanied minor refugees need to really „arrive” in Germany? – A panel discussion | GERMAN/ ENGLISH (with translation)

10:30 – 11:00 Uhr
Conclusion – 100 Years of International Social Service – 100 Years of Social Work across Borders: An outlook on upcoming developments and challenges | GERMAN/ ENGLISH (with translation)