ISS was founded in 1924 as a result of the large population movements that took place around the world at that period of time, in order to help families that had been divided into two (or more) countries. The Hellenic Branch is one of the first to operate internationally. The initial goal of the Hellenic Branch was to help the refugees from Asia Minor who took refuge in Greece in 1922. Thus, in 1924, the first International Council of ISS was established. Along with the United States, England, France, Switzerland, Poland, Turkey and Czechoslovakia, Greece was one of the founding members of the Organization.
ISS has a long experience in intercountry adoptions, as the Organization, since the 1950s, has been conducting the intercountry adoptions that were then taking place with European countries and the USA, with children who were in Greek state institutions.
Reference points in the history of the Hellenic Branch:
- In 1973, the Lavrio Refugee Program was established. The Hellenic Branch was responsible for providing social services to the population. It started by accommodating 68 refugees per year from different parts of the world who were experiencing a political crisis and it later on exceeded 550.
- In 1977, a group of professionals specializing in family law was established to provide social and legal counseling to intercultural families and couples. A revolutionary family mediation and counseling program, which helped to fill gaps in family law legislation aimed at both equality between spouses as much as personal self-improvement for themselves, the couple and their children.
- In 1995, ISS was asked by the Ministry of Health and Welfare to participate in the Adoption Committee, submitting a proposal for the reform of the Bill on intercountry adoptions, having as a goal to protect children and with the aim to establish specialized services and organizations that will conduct intercountry adoptions.
- In 1999, the Hellenic Branch publishes a template Guide to Institutions and Services for asylum seekers and refugees, which has been translated into 12 different languages so it can be completely usable by all those who are being helped.
A living part of the history and soul of the Organization was Ms. Chrysoula Kontogianni, who started working in the Hellenic Branch in 1980 and was the director of the Hellenic Branch from 1984 to 2019. With perseverance and dedication to the institution of intercountry adoptions, Ms. Kontogianni was a reference point to the people who participated in the ratification of the Hague Convention (1993) in Greece.