Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The International Travel Child Consent Form Is Now Translated Into Japanese


I CARE財団の子供の渡航同意書を日本語で提供

 
 
 
外国で片親により不正に奪取された子に関わる国際的な親による子の奪取を防止するために作成されたI CARE財団の子供の渡航同意書は現在、日本語でも提供されています。この渡航同意書は、1980年ハーグ国際的な子の奪取の民事上の側面に関する条約をめぐる法的な問題に対応し、日本から及び日本へ来る国際的親による子供の奪取の可能性の案件の監視を担当する日本及び世界の裁判所に、国際的な親による子の奪取に精通し、国際法、外交、そして司法の社会に広くサポートされ、ユニークで世界的に確立された裁判所が実施する奪取防止ツールを提供します。
 
2014年の夏に実施された大規模なI CARE財団の調査では、国際的な親による子の奪取に深く精通した世界中の何百人もの弁護士や裁判官を調査しました。調査結果によれば、94ヶ国の1980年国際的な子の奪取の民事上の側面に関する条約の署名メンバー国全ての国際的な親による子の誘拐の70%以上は、片親が子供のもう一方の親の同意または裁判所の命令を得ることなく、不正に子供を外国で拘束し、残された親の保護権と対象なる親に対する子の権利に違反する時に発生しています。この調査でも、不正な拘束に伴う1980年国際的な子の奪取の民事上の側面に関する条約の相当数のケースでは、奪取する親は多くの場合、子供が不正に拘束された国にある裁判所が、元の司法権を有する国に子を戻さないという行為に対する制裁を期待し、ハーグ条約の12条と13条で供されている奪取の弁護を利用していると結論付けました。
 
ハーグ常設事務局事務総長のChristophe Bernasconi博士は、2014年春の初旬にハーグのピースパレスで開催された親による子の奪取会議及び2014年晩春にニューヨークで開催された婚姻専門弁護士の国際学会で、I CARE財団の渡航同意書は極めて良くできており、模倣する価値があり、子が外国で渡航する時に活用すべき特に役に立つ子の奪取防止ツールであると述べていました。加えて、日本の札幌で開催された札幌弁護士協会のハーグシンポジウムで述べたハーグ常設事務局代表者は、家族法弁護士の大規模出席フォーラムでI CARE財団の渡航同意書の重要な実用性について言及していました。
 
ハーグ常設事務局事務総長のChristophe Bernasconi博士は以前、「渡航同意書を目にする可能性があり、以下について感銘を受けたということを述べなければなりません:これは私がこれまで見て来たこの種のものの中で最も包括的な文書であり、これは子の奪取を防止する上で最も価値があり、重要な取り組みであるというのはほぼ疑いがないことです。皆様の取り組みを賞賛し、皆様とチームにおめでとうと申し上げたいと思います…皆様の子の国際渡航同意書がいかに素早く実践的な成果を出し、いかにうまくその運用を監視していくのかということが分かり、本当に感動的です。これは本当に素晴らしいです。」
 
I CARE財団の国際担当常任理事のPeter Thomas Senese は以下のとおり述べていました。「I CARE財団の渡航同意書を活用して発生したこの渡航のケースの多くにより示されており、我々が把握している範囲では、この文書を利用した全ての子は帰宅できており、我々は国際的子の奪取防止の世界的な舞台においてハーグ条約に基づく渡航同意書が持つ重要な役割を引き続き目撃し、公式ハーグ渡航同意書をグローバルな拘束防止のツールに取り込むことを検討する事務総長の意図をサポートしています。我々はグローバルな国際的親によるこの奪取の割合は、ハーグ条約を基にした渡航同意書の利用により大きく減少すると極めて楽観的に見ています。我々の相当の研究では、全ての国際的な子供の誘拐の70%以上は、子が不正に外国で拘束されている時に発生しています – 我々の渡航同意書がうまく保護した親による子の誘拐のシナリオそのもの。」
 
「I CARE財団の子を保護する献身的な取り組みを示しており、我々のグローバルに認知された渡航同意書は現在、1980年ハーグ国際的な子の奪取の民事上の側面に関する条約の調印国で話される全ての言語を含め、30か国語で翻訳中であり、これまで翻訳が行われてきました。加えて、我々の渡航合意書周辺の数多くの法的な説明やその他の関連情報は引き続き、専門法律文書翻訳者の高レベルなチームにより全て30か国に翻訳されます。明らかに、これは小さな作業ではありませんが、欠くことのできない取り組みであることということを発表できることは喜ばしいことです。」
 
「日本に関して、そしてその点については、全ての国及びその子について、我々の渡航同意書の作成と利用はむしろ簡単です。子は魔法を知り、親による子の奪取の懸念の無い世界に住む権利を有しています。そして奪取を行う対象の親は、社会に誘拐から子を保護させる権利を有しています。我々はこの権利を確信しており、我々の作業と献身的な取り組みは継続していきます。」

The I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form Available In Japanese

 
The I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form created to prevent international parental child abduction associated with a child being wrongfully detained by one parent in a foreign country is now available in Japanese. The travel form addresses key legal issues revolving around the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention and provides Japan’s and courts worldwide charged with overseeing potential international parental child abduction cases to and from Japan with a unique, globally well-established court implemented abduction prevention tool that is widely supported by the international legal, diplomatic, and judicial communities familiar with international parental child abduction.
An extensive I CARE Foundation study conducted during the Summer of 2014 surveyed hundreds of attorneys and judges located around the world deeply familiar with international parental child abduction. The study’s findings showed that over 70% of all international parental kidnappings amongst the ninety-four 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention member signatory nations occur when one parent wrongfully detains a child abroad without the child’s other parent’s consent or a court order, violating the left-behind parent’s right of custody and the child’s right to the targeted parent. The survey also concluded the overwhelming majority of 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention cases associated with wrongful retention, the abducting parent often uses abduction defenses available to them under Article 12 and Article 13 of the Hague Convention in hope to have the court located in the country the child has been wrongfully detained in sanction their act of not returning the child to their country of original jurisdiction.
Hague Permanent Bureau Secretary General Dr. Christophe Bernasconi stated before hundreds of attorneys at the Lawyers in Europe on Parental Child Abduction Conference held at the Peace Palace in the Hague in the early Spring 2014, and the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Conference held in New York in the late Spring of 2014 that the I CARE Foundation’s travel consent form was extremely well-designed, worth emulating, and an extraordinarily helpful child abduction prevention tool that should be utilized when children are traveling abroad. Additionally, Hague Permanent Bureau representatives speaking at the Sapporo Bar Association’s Hague Symposium held in Sapporo, Japan spoke to the large attending forum of family law attorneys about the significant usefulness of the I CARE Foundation travel consent form.
Hague Permanent Bureau Secretary General Dr. Bernasconi previously stated, “I have had the possibility to look at the travel form and must say that I am impressed: this is the most comprehensive document of its kind that I have seen so far and there is little doubt in my mind that this is a most valuable and important effort to prevent child abduction. I applaud your efforts and wish to congratulate you and your team… It is really impressive to see how quickly your international travel child consent form has started to yield practical results and how well you monitor its operation – this really is remarkable.”
The I CARE Foundation’s International Executive Director Peter Thomas Senese stated, “Demonstrated by the large number of international child travel cases that have occurred utilizing the I CARE Foundation’s travel form, whereas to the best of our knowledge every child who used the form returned home, we continue to witness the important role a Hague-oriented travel consent form has in the global theater of international child abduction prevention and support the Secretary General’s intent to consider incorporating an official Hague travel form into the arsenal of global abduction prevention tools. We remain highly optimistic that the global international parental child abduction rate will substantially decline due to use of Hague-oriented travel consent forms. Our substantial research indicates that over 70% of all international child kidnappings occur when a child is wrongfully detained abroad – the exact parental kidnapping scenario our travel form has successfully protected against.
“Demonstrating the I CARE Foundation’s commitment to protecting children, I am pleased to announce that our globally recognized International Travel Child Consent Form is presently being or has been translated into 30 languages, including every language spoken by signatory countries of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention. In addition, numerous legal briefs and other pertinent information surrounding our travel form have and will continue to be translated into all 30 languages by a high-caliber team of professional legal translators. Obviously this is no small task; however, it is a vital undertaking.
“With respect to Japan, and for that matter all nation’s and their children, the creation and use of our travel consent form is rather simple: children have a right to know magic and to live in a world free of concern from parental child abduction. And targeted parents of abduction have a right to have society protect their children from kidnapping. We believe in these rights. Our work and dedication continues.”

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Being a Hero: Lessons From Optimus Prime

Okay, I make no apology for saying that I am not simply a fan of Optimus Prime, but I believe!

I believe in heroes. I believe that good does win over evil. I believe the greatest act is the one we put forth that embraces the notions that 'We are All in this Together' and 'All is One'.

I believe we all have a little of Optimus Prime in us: to become brave, powerful, wise and compassionate leaders who puts our talents to use improve others around us.





Optimus Prime is a character from the Transformers franchise. Prime is the leader of the Autobots, a faction of transforming robots from the planet Cybertron. The Autobots are constantly waging war against a rival faction of transforming robots called Decepticons. He is depicted as a brave, powerful, wise and compassionate leader who puts his talent to use improving the universe around him. Optimus is portrayed as having a strong sense of justice and righteousness and has dedicated himself to the protection of all life, particularly the inhabitants of Earth.[1] According to Bob Budiansky, co-writer of the Transformers series, Dennis O'Neil was responsible for his name.
In the narrative of his fictional universe, Optimus Prime was the last born of the original Thirteen Transformers. His spark was the most like their progenitor Primus, its frequency nearly identical. He was the mediator and visionary of the group, passing among them all as a calm, inspiring, thoughtful, unifying and well-liked friend. It was his unique spark and his inspiring reassurance that "All are One" that allowed the Primes to rally and succeed in their battle against the Chaos Bringer Unicron. When tragedy at last ended the era of the Primes and brought forth the new race of lesser descendant Transformers he alone chose to be reborn in the Well of All Sparks as one of them, that he might know them and their needs more completely.
All memory of his past life gone, he took the name Orion Pax and sought his way like any other robot on the new world. Eventually he found his place as a simple data clerk (dock worker in G1 cartoon), satisfied with his job. He was always anxious of the inequality amongst cybertronians and thus, after gaining inspiration from an outspoken gladiator named Megatron's call for an upheaval of Cybertron's society, took a stand to rid the oppressive caste system which hindered the freedom of all the sentient beings on Cybertron. Little did he realize that his instructor, the master archivist Alpha Trion, was also one of the Thirteen and knew of the secret within the data clerk. Once Pax and Megatron discovered they did not have as much in common as they once believed, the lowly data clerk was promoted by the High Council to be the next Prime. With the claiming of the Matrix of Leadership Orion Pax became Optimus Prime once more, regaining his memory and rising to lead his people. Over the centuries, loss and war have led Optimus to appear stern and serious to most. But beneath the surface, he's an individual who greatly cares for his fellow living beings, with a warmth and kindness his closest friends can rely on. He'll also find regret over the loss of a comrade to darkness, and the faintest glimmer of hope that he can be saved. Optimus Prime is primarly voiced by Peter Cullen, who voiced him in the original series. Following the production of the 2007 film, Cullen reprised his role for the sequels and supporting media and would even voiced Optimus in later series such as Transformers: Prime.

A believer -
Peter Thomas Senese



Monday, June 16, 2014

How To Stop Parental Child Abduction? The I CARE Foundation's International Travel Child Form and the Hague Child Abduction Convention

Travel Documents For Children?

Fear of international child abduction? Separation or Divorce in a multi-national relationship?

Selecting the best international travel consent form for your child can be the complete difference between an international parental child abduction being carried out or not by the child's other parent. Yes - I said 'International parental child abduction'.  You see, the vast majority of children - and there are tens of thousands of children targeted each year for international parental child abduction - who fall prey to abduction come from multi-cultural families that are often in conflict such as a failing relationship or outright divorce.

In today's global environment, there is only one global abduction prevention tool that can prevent against a child being wrongfully retained abroad, and that is the I CARE Foundation's International Travel Child Consent Form.  The fact is, there is no other child travel consent form created like it, as it it steep in the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention language needed to defend against a parental abduction. 


In fact, the I CARE Foundation's travel consent form has been hailed by the international legal community including Hague Conference Secretary General Dr. Bernasconi as a critically important child abduction prevention that all parents around the world should use when allowing a child to travel abroad.

                                          http://theicarefoundation.org/international-travel-child-consent-form/


According to the I CARE Foundation's extensive research,  the majority of all cases of international parental child abduction occur when a child is wrongfully detained in a foreign country. The wrongful detention of a child abroad generally occurs during a court directed travel order or when travel occurs by mutual parental consent, particularly during the summer school break or the Christmas holiday season. However, unknown to the targeted parent who may either travel with the child or who may remain in the child’s country of habitual residency, the scheming parent intending to remain abroad with the child has more than likely crafted a well-orchestrated scheme that includes use of Article 12 and Article 13 of the Hague Convention in order to remain abroad with the child.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of children wrongfully detained in a foreign country do not come home.  The I CARE Foundation’s ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’ protects against misuse of all known international child abduction defenses under the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention, including Articles 12, 13, and 20, while upholding the intent and spirit of Article 1 of the Child Abduction Convention.
One of the major problems that exist today when parents are required to attempt to bring home their wrongfully retained child is that the ease parental child abductors have in defending their act of abduction has expanded significantly. One of the primary reasons behind this ease of defense is that courts around the world have wrongfully expanded the scope of Article 13 of the Hague Child Abduction Convention - the 'best interest' clause - to such a wide scale that it makes it extremely difficult for a left behind parent to reunite with their child. 

However there is real hope - hope that has been proven in a large and growing number of cases around the world: the I CARE Foundation's travel form has been able to mute fraudulent claims of an Article 12 and Article 13 defense in courtrooms around the world.

Peter Thomas Senese, the creator of the I CARE Foundation’sInternational Travel Child Consent Form and the Executive Director of the I CARE Foundation stated, “Perhaps the singular most important factor is that local courts in foreign countries are not abiding by the intent and spirit of the Hague Child Abduction Convention.  Specifically, all abductors will make defense claims under Article 12 or Article 13 of the Hague Convention.   Article 12 has to do with intent to relocate, and Article 13 has to do with the ‘Best interest of the child’, which recently has been expanded in many courts to include ‘Best interest of the child and extended family’. Unfortunately, Article 13 in particular has become the Achilles Heel of the abduction prevention community.

“Hague Conference During Hague proceedings, the convention calls for the inbound country’s Hague Court to look at Article 13 defenses only in extreme cases as the intent of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention is to determine which court has jurisdiction of the child, and then properly and expeditiously return that child to the country where the court of original jurisdiction is located.  However, around the world, courts are no longer acting in an expeditious manner as is cited under Article 1 of The Hague Child Abduction Convention.  Instead, local courts are calling for detailed findings of what is in the best interest of the child and in essence making their own custody ruling even though they are not the court of original jurisdiction. Problematically, these courts are in essence mooting not only the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention but they are essentially quashing the court orders originating from the child’s country of original jurisdiction.

“What the I CARE Foundation’s ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’ does is it upholds the intent and spirit of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention, including Article 1’s ‘Expeditious determination clause’. In addition, the travel consent form strongly addresses misuse of Article 12 and Article 13 defenses, and essentially moots use of false claim.  In addition, the I CARE Foundation’s travel consent form upholds the sanctity of the court of original jurisdiction located in the child’s country of habitual residency.

In essence, the I CARE Foundation’s ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’ is the only global child abduction prevention tool that safeguards against misuse of the Hague Child Abduction Convention defenses and calls for the immediate return of a child if that child is wrongfully detained by mutual consent of both parents.

Hague Conference Secretary General Dr. Bernasconi previously stated, “I have had the possibility to look at the travel form and must say that I am impressed: this is the most comprehensive document of its kind that I have seen so far and there is little doubt in my mind that this is a most valuable and important effort to prevent child abduction. I applaud your efforts and wish to congratulate you and your team . . . It is really impressive to see how quickly your international travel child consent form has started to yield practical results and how well you monitor its operation – this really is remarkable.”

For more information please visit The I CARE Foundation at www.theicarefoundation.org.  


For attorneys seeking access to the legal brief and analysis of the travel consent for contact legal@theicarefoundation.org 



Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day: A Day Of Many Special Meanings



Today we celebrate Father's Day, but for most father's like myself, the day is not about being a father but instead it is about our capacity to love our children.  So to each of you who celebrate this important day - whether you are a father, or a son or a daughter, today is about love.

With the greatest depth of feelings of love a person can have, I would like to say to my son that today I celebrate him: his life, his joy, his adventures, his journey, and his happiness.  I am extremely proud of you son, and know that our world is a better place because of your life.  And most of all, I love you - and always will.

Son, we have a kaleidoscope of meaningful adventures and important times shared together. I close my eyes for a moment and a floodgate of joyful memories immediately come to mind: Memories like the time years ago when you had the privilege of going into the Discovery Space Shuttle at the Kennedy Center, or the time we went looking for Big Foot in the Canadian Cascades, or the time we went to our first baseball game, or the first time we went fishing and a moose tried to get in our car, or the time you sat in the helicopter co-pilot seat and flew all day island hoping, or the first time we went jet-skiing,  and the many nights we did homework together, and the many, many times you decided we needed to 'go shopping', but most of all, the times that I recall most with the most meaning are the times when you would simply give me a hug and tell me you love me.  Thank you son: you are and always will be the most important part of my world no matter where your journey takes you.

Along my own journey, particularly as a child advocate dedicated to assisting families in crisis, particularly those impacted by abduction, there is no way to avoid becoming close to many of the children that I, in my capacity with the I CARE Foundation, have assisted.  Some of these children have become very important parts of my day-to-day life, while others who I have not personally met but have dedicated great efforts to, have become such an important part of my own spiritual fabric. I have been blessed to embrace the love I have for each of them - and to dedicate part of my life to ensuring that these children find life's magic.

Each of you and your families have reminded me every day that love is everything it is built up to be.

And to my Dad - as I shared with you this morning, not only have you been and continue to be an extraordinary father and man, but as I get older you continue to get wiser! I love you Dad.

And before I go, I would like to send this special message to a friend sitting 7,000 miles away .... working at his desk .... working to protect children:  Happy Father's Day, pal. The world needs you!

Happy Father's Day to all - and remember - today is a day to celebrate LOVE!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Peter Thomas Senese - U.S. Outbound International Child Abduction Rate Drops By 12.23% In 2013, 38.06% Decline Since 2009

The United States reported cases of outbound international parental child abduction declined by 12.23%  according to statistics supplied to the United States Congress by the United States Department of State.  The drop in the abduction rate marks the fourth consecutive year the number of American children victimized by international child abduction has declined. During fiscal years 2009 through 2013 the total abduction rate has declined by 38.06%. The reported drop in American child kidnappings is an anomaly in comparison to the existing worldwide growth of international parental child abduction cases that is nothing short of a pandemic.


On behalf of my I CARE Foundation colleagues and the families around the world we have assisted, I would personally like to acknowledge all individuals who have worked to protect children from abduction. I would also like to acknowledge the remarkable efforts and leadership in the area of governmental advocacy displayed by the United States Department of State's Office of Childrens Issues, who, over the past three years in particular have made great strides in protecting American children from abduction. There is a reason why American children are being protected, and it begins with the Office of Childrens Issues.

Additionally, the effort to protect children includes the many stakeholders, including other non-government organizations and their respective teams who have worked tirelessly to protect children and targeted families. It has only been through a collective effort by all advocates that the mountain of abduction here in the United States continues to be pushed back.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge all my colleagues at the I CARE Foundation around the world for the tireless efforts that have been put forth over the years since we actively began working to protect children from kidnapping. It is not coincidental that since we began our work to protect children from abduction that there has been a four-year consecutive decline equating to a 38.06% reduction in the United States international child abduction rate.

We acknowledge the 12.23% decline in the outbound abduction rate of American children that took place in 2013. However, truth is that this is not enough. Far from it. Additionally, there is a pandemic occurring worldwide that is destroying innocence. And it must be stopped.

There is work to be done.

Peter Thomas Senese
On Behalf Of The I CARE Foundation


THE I CARE FOUNDATION

Report on International Parental Child Abduction 
In The United States Of America

International Parental Child Abduction Today – 2014”

Written By
Peter Thomas Senese

Issued On May 23rd, 2014


United States Reported Outbound Child Abduction Rate Drops By 12.23 %

The 2013 reported number of outbound cases and actual number of reported child victims of international parental child abduction originating from the United States has significantly declined during 2013. Remarkably, this is the fourth consecutive year in a row (reporting years 2009-2013) that the United States international parental child abduction outbound rate has declined. According to the 2014 Department of State’s Hague Compliance Report to Congress, there was a 12.23% decline in the actual number of reported child victims of international parental kidnapping representing a reduction of 140 children. In addition, there was a 12.14% decline in the number of reported cases of abduction representing a caseload decline of 97 cases. The decline in the reported cases and number of child victims being removed from the United States is an anomaly: worldwide the vast majority of countries reporting incidents of international parental child abduction as defined by the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention continues to surge at pandemic rates, with the average annual child abduction growth rate forecasted at over 20% per year. 

Despite the significant decline in the reported outbound decline in the abduction rate of American children originating from the United States, we caution that international parental child abduction (herein referred to as ‘IPCA’) remains a severe, highly abusive, and potentially deadly crime that targets thousands of American children and hundreds of thousands of children around the world each year. The fact remains that IPCA is a highly abusive criminal act against a child that places the child in great physical and emotional danger, and could jeopardize the child’s life.

In the United States and abroad our reality remains child-citizens continue to be criminally kidnapped, illegally removed overseas, and wrongfully detained in foreign countries in shocking numbers by their non-custodial parent.

The significance in the 12.23% decline in individual cases of IPCA during 2013 should not be minimized, nor should the remarkable 38.06% reported decline in the number of reported individual outbound cases originating from the United States over the past four reporting years (2009-2013). In fact, statistically these are remarkable gains and exemplify the tremendous leadership and dedication first and foremost demonstrated by the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice combined with a collective array of child abduction prevention stakeholders who have had a significant impact not only raising awareness amongst potentially targeted families of abduction, but who have created or helped create new laws, policies, or protocols capable of stopping international parental child abduction.

The fact the United States IPCA rate continues to decline despite heavily contradicting global trends found in other nations combined with increases in the population, including growth amongst the immigration migration sector, clearly indicates the immense efforts put forth by stakeholders working to stop child abduction is working. Nevertheless, there is a great deal that can and must be done to better protect at-risk children while also increasing efforts to reunite abducted children.

On a sober note, we acknowledge that fewer child victims of IPCA come home to their country of original jurisdiction and the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention process is taking longer than in previous years. Neither the failure to return children or the long delay times related to litigation are country specific: these are internal issues for every country and are not specific challenges faced solely by American citizens, but by all left behind parents. Thus, we re-emphasize our belief that the most efficient way to protect a child from IPCA is to prevent their abduction from occurring.

A look at the previous years statistics tells a compelling child abduction prevention effort taking place in the United States of America.

 2009-2013_CasesChildren_AbductionDecline

Specifically,during 2013 there were a total of 702 reported cases of international parental child abduction representing 1004 children. Previously, during 2012 there were 799 reported international parental child abduction cases filed with the United States Central Authority representing a total of 1,144 children. In 2011 there were a total of 941 reported international parental child abduction cases filed with the United States Central Authority, representing a total of 1,367 children. In 2010 there were 1022 reported cases of international parental child abduction representing 1,492 children. And in 2009 there were 1,135 cases of international parental child abduction representing 1,621 children.

When considering previous extensive growth in the United States reported outbound cases of IPCA coupled with the reality that cross-border child abduction continues to surge worldwide, the decline in the outbound abduction rate of American children is noteworthy.

In fact, the reported number of individual child victims of IPCA declined in 2010 by 8% (1,492 child victims from 1,621 child victims reported in 2009), 8.49% in 2011 (1,367 children), to a landmark decline of 16.3% in 2012 (1,144 children), followed by a 12.23% drop in 2013 (1,004 child victims).

These statistical declines become more apparent when viewing the years collectively. For example, there was a 38.06% decline in the reported outbound IPCA rate over the five-year period of 2009 through 2013. During this five-year period, the number of reported child victims of IPCA declined from 1,621 in 2009 to 1,004 child victims in 2013.  This represents a differential gain of 617 children who were protected from IPCA during 2013 in comparison to 2009. In addition, for the same reporting period there was a 38.15% decline in the number of reported family cases of IPCA (Note: a family case may consist of one or more children) representing a remarkable drop of 433 reported cases over the five-year period.

   


A comparative chart below provides further insight on the efforts to protect American children from IPCA taking place in the United States.


To put into perspective the significance in the reported 2013 decline in the reported cases of international parental child abduction and the fourth consecutive significant reduction in the cross-border kidnapping rate, it is important to note that previous to the 2009 fiscal year reported numbers, the international parental child abduction rate grew on average by nearly 20% per year the previous decade. In addition, the United States witnessed a yearly increase in population of approximately 2,400,000 people during 2008 – 2013, with an estimated 1,000,000 of these individuals newly arrived immigrants. We take exceptional note to the ongoing increases in the American immigration population due to the fact that many individuals who parentally abduct (referred to as a ‘Taking Parent’) were born and previously raised in a foreign country but relocated to the United States.

It is important to note that the unreported cases of international parental child abduction remain a very troubling area not just in the United States, but worldwide. However, we believe that outreach efforts by the United States Department of State, The I CARE Foundation, and the National Center For Missing & Exploited Children are in fact reaching communities who previously would not turn for assistance under the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention. And though there is no specific way to determine the unreported cases of IPCA, we believe there has been an increased awareness amongst communities who may previously may not have sought assistance to 1) become more aware of IPCA warning signs, 2) IPCA prevention measures, and 3) to turn to the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues for assistance. 

It is our belief that the previously less proactive communities who may have traditionally believed that they were unable to protect against IPCA have begun to mobilize and become more proactive in protecting their children.

It is our assessment that due to the mobilization of parents who may have previously been less active to prevent IPCA, that it is conceivable that the overall reported outbound rate of IPCA (when considering both reported and unreported cases) may have dropped more than the 12.23% reported rate of abduction.

While there is much to be pleased about regarding the significant decline in reported outbound American IPCA rate, the reality is that many children who are internationally abducted do not come home, and the statistical trend of available data clearly demonstrates that the number of children worldwide being returned to their country of original jurisdiction continues to decline.

The following chart provides insight on the growing rate of child abduction to the United States.


COUNTRY COMPARISIONS: The United States, The United Kingdom, and Canada 
To understand the significance of the United States four consecutive year decline in the reported outbound IPCA rate, it is useful to compare the reported American data with statistical information provided by other nations. We note that global IPCA reporting amongst signatory nations and non-signatory countries to the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention remains beyond dismal.
Canada IPCA Rate Grows By 40% Since 2009
In April, 2014, Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs reported there has been a 40-per-cent increase in the number of international parental child abductions since 2009. Most of those cases involve countries such as the United States, Mexico and those of the European Union that have signed an international treaty called the Hague Convention, which aims to help resolve such emotionally charged incidents. However, there are also a “significant” number involving such countries as Lebanon, India, Pakistan and China, which have not signed up to the Hague Convention, making already complicated cases even more difficult.
In November, 2013 Canada created the Vulnerable Children's Consular Unit under the Department of Foreign Affairs in recognition of their growing internal IPCA problem and in an attempt to assist targeted families from the grave ordeal of international child kidnapping.
Canada’s Senate’s Human Rights Committee is also studying the Hague Convention in the hopes of providing recommendations to make it work better. Senior leadership from the Hague Conference are expected to visit Canada and provide insight with Canada’s policymakers in the near future.
United Kingdom IPCA Rate Grows By 88%
The United Kingdom continues to face a growing problem of IPCA, though, similar to Canada, specific hard data has not been publicly reported.  However, according to public statements made by the Foreign Office’s Child Abduction Section in December, 2012, reported outbound cases of IPCA has grown by 88% over the past ten years.
This number appears extraordinarily low when considering that public statements by the Foreign Office's Child Abduction Section state that the unit fielded an average of four calls per day to its specialist advice line, more than half of which were new cases during 2011 alone. The Foreign Office also stated the statistics do not represent the total number of IPCA cases because many cases go unreported.

EXTREME DIFFICULTIES IN RECOVERING AN ABDUCTED CHILD

There are abundant reasons why it is very difficult for child-victims of IPCA to be returned to their country of original jurisdiction. They include, but are not limited to the following:
  1.  Amongst signatory countries to the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention, litigation proceedings and tactics by the Taking Parent and their counsel often deploy techniques to circumvent Article 1 (Expeditious Return Provision), while over-utilizing Article 13 b (Best Interest Provision). This is not a U.S. problem but a global issue all left-behind parents face. In addition, courts and the judiciary overseeing IPCA proceedings have taken a rather long-arm approach to Article 12 of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention.  The end result, as reported by a 2011 Hague Special Commission is that the average litigation period needed to make a determination has increased to 338 days as compared to 188 days; and,
  2. The reality is that attorneys familiar with Hague law often litigate before untrained judges who are not keenly aware of the spirit and intent of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention.  Trained attorney-specialist familiar with the protocols of the child abduction treaty have successfully implemented litigation techniques created to extend or delay the court proceedings outside of the spirit of Article 1 of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention.  In implementing calculated strategies before judges not familiar with the treaty or who may not intend to follow the rules established under the treaty, Taking Parents have been remarkably successful in being able to not only remain in the inbound country they have relocated to, but in many circumstances, limit the rights of the child to have contact with the other parent. This phenomenon appears to occur equally amongst men and women; and,
  3. Judges are often not trained on how to deal with IPCA cases nor are they familiar with the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention.  Because of a lack of training and education amongst the judiciary, many children around the world simply are not returned and the intent of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention is being marginalized. As an example of the problems best exemplified by an untrained judiciary, the United States has over 10,000 family court judges able to hear an IPCA case. The vast majority of these judges have no or extremely limited experience dealing with Hague matters. The average litigation period for cases being heard in the United States is 338 days. In comparison, in the United Kingdom there are 17 judges who handle Hague cases.  The average litigation period for cases heard in the United Kingdom has been reported at 49 days; and,
  4. Many nations do not comply with or uphold the spirit of the convention (ex, Brazil, Mexico, Germany); and,
  5. Many countries have not signed the convention (China, India, Saudi Arabia etc); and,
  6. Chasing Parents may not have an idea what country their child was taken to; and,
  7. Chasing Parents are responsible to carry the enormous financial burden associated with their child’s recovery. Many simply do not have the substantial resources needed; and,
  8. Many Chasing Parents do not have the knowledge necessary to navigate the difficult and complex legal system of international law, nor do they often know who to turn to and what to do; and,
  9. Nationalistic prejudices of court systems located in the ‘inbound’ country, whereas, a court may try to protect the abducting parent if that parent is a citizen of the country where they abducted the child to.
WHAT'S WORKING?

There are many reasons why the reported United States outbound rate of IPCA is declining.  Collectively, the primary reason is that efforts by government agencies and non-government agencies have increased efforts to not only raise awareness amongst potential targeted parents of IPCA, but educational outreach directed toward key stakeholders such as the judiciary, attorneys, law enforcement, and policymakers has made a major difference. The following are some important reasons why outbound cases IPCA is declining in the United States, while inbound cases are rising.
  1. There is an increased social awareness of IPCA, including awareness of warning signs and how to act in the event of a potential threat; and,
  2. Targeted parents at risk of having a child abducted have become more proactive in protecting their children; and,
  3. The Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues has become an exemplary child abduction prevention advocacy program under the guidelines available to all Central Authorities under the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention. Increased personal, extensive information via the Internet, and public outreach along with the ability to implement and take control of an assortment of abduction prevention programs such as the Passport Issuance Alert Program have been extremely beneficial.
  4. Inter-agency cooperation amongst the Department of State and other agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security have been extremely impactful. An example of this type of cooperation is found in the Prevent Departure Program.
  5. There is a strong core of NGO activism that has helped raise awareness of IPCA and provided outreach that government agencies are unable to.
  6. Courts and judges presiding over abduction prevention cases are acting with increased prudence when determining whether a child is a target of IPCA, including determining if a child should be allowed to travel, an assortment of passport-related issues, etc.; and,
  7. The I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form has become a globally effective tool in preventing a child’s wrongful detention abroad while also protecting against the wrongful use of Article 12 and Article 13 b; and,
  8. There is increased cooperation amongst law enforcement to assist targeted parents of abduction; and,
  9. United States lawmakers and policy administrators are taking a proactive stance against IPCA and this stand is having a trickle down effect amongst other stakeholders including judges, law enforcement, and child therapist, etc.
  10. The social media blogosphere of parent-bloggers has increased awareness of IPCA.
PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION IS A SEVERE FORM OF CHILD ABUSE

According to leading experts who specialize in international parental child abduction, conclusive and unilateral opinion and fact demonstrates that parental child abduction of a targeted child is a cruel, criminal, and severe form of abuse and mistreatment regardless if the child is with one of their (abducting) parents. This includes the illegal act of international abduction, whereas, the child is unexpectedly uprooted from their home, their community, their immediate and extended family, and their country. Sadly, severe short and long-term psychological problems are prevalent for many abduction victims who survive their kidnapping experience. It is commonplace for a child to be emotionally sabotaged, whereas, the abducting parent will try to remove all bonds and attachments the child has with the other parent, thus, removing the child’s right to know the love of the other parent, and keep in tact their own identity. Too many children simply never come home and in certain cases a child’s abduction overseas has led to the death of the abducted child.

In June, 2013 the United States Department of Justice issued a report stating that children who are victims of parental child abduction face increased abuse, including severe physical and emotional abuse at the hands of their parent abductor.

We strongly point that filicide - parental child murder - is a real threat to all children of abduction.

In addition, a leader in the field of parental child abduction issues, Dr. Dorothy Huntington wrote an article titled Parental Kidnapping: A New Form of Child Abuse. Huntington contends that from the point of view of the child, “child stealing is child abuse.” According to Huntington, “in child stealing the children are used as both objects and weapons in the struggle between the parents which leads to the brutalization of the children psychologically, specifically destroying their sense of trust in the world around them.”

We recall the words of Ms. Patricia Hoff who currently oversees the United States Department of State's Hague Attorney Network, who previously stated, “Because of the harmful effects on children, parental kidnapping has been characterized as a form of “child abuse” while the acting Legal Director for the Parental Abduction Training and Dissemination Project, American Bar Association on Children and the Law. Ms. Hoff also had stated, “Abducted children suffer emotionally and sometimes physically at the hands of abductor-parents. Many children are told the other parent is dead or no longer loves them. Uprooted from family and friends, abducted children often are given new names by their abductor-parents and instructed not to reveal their real names or where they lived before.”

The I CARE Foundation agrees completely with the sentiments shared above.

REASONS WHY ONE PARENT CRIMINALLY ABDUCTS A CHILD

Studies have demonstrated that an unprecedented number of abductions have occurred where one parent took unilateral action to deprive the other parent of contact with their child. The majority of abducting parents will typically use the child as a tool to cause the targeted parent great pain and suffering. Their intent is simple: to make the other parent suffer as much as possible by depriving that targeted parent with the love and connection to their own child. Nearly every published study on this subject has concluded that an abducting parent has significant, and typically, long-term psychological problems and may in fact be a danger to their child.

We take the time to acknowledge that in certain cases of parental child abduction, a parent claims to have no other choice but to flee the other parent due to serious, grave, and ongoing forms of abuse. We acknowledge that in many abduction defenses found under Article 13 of The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, an abducting parent will often claim mental, emotional, and physical abuse by the other parent as part of their defense to sanction their criminal behavior of abduction. However, we must also acknowledge that domestic violence is a very real, measurable, and in many cases, an ongoing crime that has limited law enforcement safety controls. We acknowledge that there are parents who must flee for their and their child’s safety due to failures by law enforcement and courts to protect their safety, combined with an habitual abuser who aims to cause grave hurt to the targeted parent.

In addition, and understandably, family abductions occur at a higher rate during times of heightened stress such as separation or divorce and often involve custody issues and visitation problems. The sad fact is that a large number of marriages, estimated to be between 40% and 50%, in the U.S. end in divorce.

One of the many considerations that factor into the increase in total abductions indicates that economic difficulties in the United States and elsewhere are a measurable factor in the number of increases in separations and divorces. This added stress can lead to a parental cross-border abduction, particularly since we live in a global society, and the number of international relationships has increased dramatically.

While all children can be potential targets of a family abduction, the likelihood increases when that child has a parent with ties to a foreign country. According to the Juvenile and Family Court Journal Vol. 48, No. 2 titled Jurisdiction In Child Custody and Abduction Cases, “Parents who are citizens of another country (or who have dual citizenship with the U.S.) and also have strong ties to their extended family in their country of origin have long been recognized as abduction risks.” This increase in cultural diversity within the U.S. population has created challenges for our existing laws. Many U.S. born children-citizens fall victim to parental abduction when a parents’ union ends.

Across the U.S., states are struggling to address their archaic and outdated laws, and establish additional precautions to better protect their child-citizen population. Unquestionably, it is critical that child abduction prevention laws are passed in each state and upheld by the judiciary and law enforcement. Failure to do so will likely lead to the looming disaster that is already upon us.

IMMIGRATION MIGRATION AND ITS AFFECT ON CHILD ABDUCTION CASES

A report compiled by the renowned Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center reports that most immigrant groups are comprised of young families. The likelihood that a child will be born while the parents are present in the U.S. is high. Prior to 2007, data collected on parents of children under 18 only identified one parent, and a second parent could only be identified if they were married to the first parent. Currently, a second parent identifier is considered whether or not the parents are married to each other. The new data more accurately reflects the number of children living in the U.S. with at least one foreign-born parent.

In 2008 that meant that 22% of all children in the United States had at least one foreign-born parent. In fact, consider the following statistics compiled by the Center for Immigration Studies in its March 2007 analysis. Immigrants and their U.S. born children under age 18, as a share of population: California – 37.9%, Los Angles County – 50%, New York State – 27.9%, New York City – 46.7% and Florida – 27.9%.

It must be noted that although 31.3% of all immigrants originate from Mexico, other countries have significant entry numbers as well. Included in the March 2007 Current Population Survey (CPS) were statistics indicating that 17.6% of all immigrants were from East/Southeast Asia, 12.5% from Europe, 5.5% from South Asia, 3.5% from the Middle East, and Canada at 1.9%.

Traditionally, states such as California, New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois and Arizona have had large numbers of immigrants in their population. What is surprising is the trends in migration toward new centers of immigrant growth. The CPS prepared an analysis of states with statistically significant growth in immigrant population between 2000 and 2007. Most notably, Wyoming, which experienced a percentage increase of 180%, Tennessee at 160%, Georgia at 152.1%, and Alabama at 143.6%. The impact of unprecedented increases in immigrant migration is likely to create multiple challenges as states struggle to keep pace with their newest segment of population and their children.

Additionally, it has been well established that illegal aliens do not respond to surveys such as the US Census or the CPS. Because the U.S. government does not have accurate records of arrival and departures for individuals present illegally in the country, their numbers must be estimated, as there is no hard data to draw from. However, indirect means for establishing these figures are used, and they must be viewed with a considerable amount of uncertainty. In 2007 CPS, it was estimated that of the approximately 37.9 million immigrants present in the U.S., nearly 1 in 3 immigrants were present illegally.

It is important to note this segment of our population when discussing child abduction because when a child is born in the U.S. that child automatically is a U.S. citizen. While the available data gives us fairly accurate figures regarding the number of children born in the U.S. as well as those immigrants who are present legally, a number is impossible to compile accurately in relation to the unauthorized resident population.

In regards to children born to illegal immigrants, in the five-year period from 2003 to 2008, that number rose from 2.7 million to 4 million. The report published by the Pew Hispanic Centers reported that nationally the children of illegal immigrants now comprise 1 in 15 elementary and secondary students in the U.S. Additionally, in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Texas more than 1 in every 10 students in those states are the children of illegal immigrants.

The ability of state governments to prevent the abduction of children by family members could be drastically improved by comprehensive legislation. While aiming to protect all children, special consideration must be given to those children who may be at increased risk simply by virtue of their parentage. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the resident population of the U.S. projected up to April 22, 2010 estimated that one international migrant enters the U.S. every 36 seconds. International travel has become commonplace and as more cross-cultural relationships develop children are born. A number of these relationships will end and may result in an increased risk of international abduction of the child. Attempting to retrieve a child who has been abducted and possibly hidden internationally is a near impossibility as a multitude of problems surface in cases such as these. Unfortunately, studies have proved 4 of 5 Americans drastically underestimate the threat of a family abduction. Statistically, it is a sobering thought when you become aware of the vast numbers of children that are criminally abducted each year. Preventative laws are a necessity as an immediate remedy to this unconscionable crime.

SUMMARY

IPCA remains a serious problem worldwide. The challenges of parental child abduction prevention and reunification have no border.  As an organization dedicated to preventing IPCA, we take note of the decline in the 2013 IPCA rate and acknowledge that since the leadership of the I CARE Foundation began extensive advocacy to combat IPCA, the overall outbound rate of IPCA against American children has declined by over 38%. In our efforts to raise awareness of IPCA amongst families worldwide, combined with our efforts associated with utilization of the Prevent Departure Program, the global use of the groundbreaking I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form, and our work to create and implement numerous state laws created to protect children, we believe that there is substantial positive change on the horizon.

The I CARE Foundation’s role in fighting IPCA has been measurable. We would also like to acknowledge that as far as working to protect children from abduction all advocates are in this together.

There remains a great deal of work to do.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Divorce And Summer Vacation Allowing Your Child To Travel With The Other Parent - Risks Of Parental Child Abduction


Peter Thomas Seneseand the I CARE Foundation’s groundbreaking International Travel Child ConsentForm has been hailed by the international legal community including Hague Conference Secretary General Dr. Bernasconi as a critically important child abduction prevention that all parents around the world should use when allowing a child to travel abroad.

http://theicarefoundation.org/international-travel-child-consent-form/
 

It is estimated that between 85% and 90% of all cases of international parental child abduction occur when a child is wrongfully detained in a foreign country. The wrongful detention of a child abroad generally occurs during a court directed travel order or when travel occurs by mutual parental consent, particularly during the summer school break or the Christmas holiday season. However, unknown to the targeted parent who may either travel with the child or who may remain in the child’s country of habitual residency, the scheming parent intending to remain abroad with the child has more than likely crafted a well-orchestrated scheme that includes use of Article 12 and Article 13 of the Hague Convention in order to remain abroad with the child.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of children wrongfully detained in a foreign country do not come home.  The I CARE Foundation’s ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’ protects against misuse of all known international child abduction defenses under the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention, including Articles 12, 13, and 20, while upholding the intent and spirit of Article 1 of the Child Abduction Convention.

It is important to ask why the majority of parents are successful in carrying out their scheme of abduction?

Peter Thomas Senese, the creator of the I CARE Foundation’sInternational Travel Child Consent Form and the Executive Director of the I CARE Foundation stated, “Perhaps the singular most important factor is that local courts in foreign countries are not abiding by the intent and spirit of the Hague Child Abduction Convention.  Specifically, all abductors will make defense claims under Article 12 or Article 13 of the Hague Convention.   Article 12 has to do with intent to relocate, and Article 13 has to do with the ‘Best interest of the child’, which recently has been expanded in many courts to include ‘Best interest of the child and extended family’. Unfortunately, Article 13 in particular has become the Achilles Heel of the abduction prevention community.

“Hague Conference During Hague proceedings, the convention calls for the inbound country’s Hague Court to look at Article 13 defenses only in extreme cases as the intent of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention is to determine which court has jurisdiction of the child, and then properly and expeditiously return that child to the country where the court of original jurisdiction is located.  However, around the world, courts are no longer acting in an expeditious manner as is cited under Article 1 of The Hague Child Abduction Convention.  Instead, local courts are calling for detailed findings of what is in the best interest of the child and in essence making their own custody ruling even though they are not the court of original jurisdiction. Problematically, these courts are in essence mooting not only the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention but they are essentially quashing the court orders originating from the child’s country of original jurisdiction.

“What the I CARE Foundation’s ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’ does is it upholds the intent and spirit of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention, including Article 1’s ‘Expeditious determination clause’. In addition, the travel consent form strongly addresses misuse of Article 12 and Article 13 defenses, and essentially moots use of false claim.  In addition, the I CARE Foundation’s travel consent form upholds the sanctity of the court of original jurisdiction located in the child’s country of habitual residency.

In essence, the I CARE Foundation’s ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’ is the only global child abduction prevention tool that safeguards against misuse of the Hague Child Abduction Convention defenses and calls for the immediate return of a child if that child is wrongfully detained by mutual consent of both parents.

Hague Conference Secretary General Dr. Bernasconi previously stated, “I have had the possibility to look at the travel form and must say that I am impressed: this is the most comprehensive document of its kind that I have seen so far and there is little doubt in my mind that this is a most valuable and important effort to prevent child abduction. I applaud your efforts and wish to congratulate you and your team . . . It is really impressive to see how quickly your international travel child consent form has started to yield practical results and how well you monitor its operation – this really is remarkable.”

Turkey’s Honorable Judge Selma Nilhan Tekinalp, a world renown child advocate and leading authority on Hague abduction law stated, “From the I CARE Foundation sponsored conference at the United Nations I participated in, and discussed with Mr. Peter Thomas Senese numerous issues revolving around how we may prevent abduction, I am pleased to share that the ‘I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form’ has the worldwide potential to dramatically reduce global child abduction. This agreement is deep in Hague law, and strikes at the core of abductor statements who may attempt to mislead courts into sanctioning a kidnapping established under the rules of the Hague Convention.”

Armin U. Kuder, partner at the highly respected firm Kuder, Smollar & Friedman, has been named in every article identifying leading family lawyers in the prestigious ‘Washingtonian Magazine’ added, “The I Care Foundation International Travel Child Consent Form is a powerful tool for exposing a would-be abductor’s intent. If a parent will not sign the form, we have compelling evidence to present to a court in support of limitations on travel, use of passports, and conditions for access to the child.”

For more information please visit The I CARE Foundation at www.theicarefoundation.org.  For attorneys seeking access to the legal brief and analysis of the travel consent form please contact legal@theicarefoundation.org

 
www.theicarefoundation.org


 

 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

How To Prevent International Abduction Due To The Wrongful Detention Of A Child: The I CARE Foundation's International Travel Child Consent Form

Each year the I CARE Foundation sees a dramatic increase in the number of international parental child abductions during the summer months.  This is the time that would-be abducting parents are planning their schemes.  Most often we see families travelling abroad as part of summer plans, but the would-be abducting parent doesn't consider this a family vacation, rather they use it as an opportunity to abduct their child.

Often, when it comes to parental child abduction, the warning signs are visible if you know what to look for, but typically the other parent is unsuspecting of any schemes of abduction.  Once travel is complete and they are abroad, the scheming parent will often lay a host of criminal charges against the other parent, including domestic, physical and mental abuse, threats of murder, and outlandish acts of child abuse and neglect – all for one purpose: to sever the other parent’s relationship with the child and to gain legal actions to the foreign courts they are now physically located in by having the targeted parent arrested and prevented from seeing either them or the child.

Now what most individuals do not realize is that once that child steps foot on foreign soil, that child’s temporary welfare becomes the responsibility of the rules of law and courts of the country they are located in.  Which means this: the police and courts must follow the procedures established under their law: the targeted parent more than likely will be arrested, issued restraining orders against them, and have their access to their child denied until an investigation is done. Meanwhile, the abducting parent files a host of legal motions in the country that will further restrain the targeted parent.

Welcome to a scheming kidnappers idea of a vacation.

It is however, not only the summer vacation season that we need to be concerned about international parental child abduction.  Parents that are involved in high-conflict child custody disputes, especially those of an international nature, where a child may be travelling abroad - they need to think very carefully and be very aware of the risks involved for their child in relation to international travel.

The truth is, international parental child abduction associated with child custody disputes and court orders relating to travel is commonplace. Often, parents involved in international child custody disputes and who may be targeted for abduction think that their child is best protected from abduction when there is a court order in place for the child to return if the other parent is granted travel... but this is just not the case.  Unless you have an international travel child consent form that has immediate ramifications attached to it, then a parent and child targeted for abduction are in serious risk.

Abduction is never in the best interest of the child.

The Hague Convention offers civil remedies for children and parents of abduction. However, the process can be difficult at times and often does not work due to the complexities of law and the limited support a targeted parent may receive litigating their case to reunite with their child.

Clearly, the best way to protect a child from abduction is to prevent international parental child abduction.

In order to combat international child abduction, the I CARE Foundation created the ground-breaking, Hague-centric International Travel Child Consent Form, which can be utilized to protect against a child’s wrongful detention abroad.  Ultimately, the travel consent form helps to ensure the child is returned home should there be an international abduction. With approximately 85-90% of all international abductions based upon the wrongful detention of a child abroad, the I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form is the most effective tool available to assist parents and children at risk of abduction.

Here is a brief Q & A regarding the International Travel Child Consent Form which will help explain why this ground-breaking tool is so critical in the prevention of international child abduction.
Q.  Why use the I CARE Foundation’s Hague International Child Abduction-centric ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’?

A.  It is estimated that between 85% and 90% of all cases of international parental child abduction occur when a child is wrongfully detained in a foreign country. The wrongful detention of a child abroad generally occurs during a court directed travel order or when travel occurs by mutual parental consent. However, unknown to the targeted parent who may either travel with the child or who may remain in the child’s country of habitual residency, the scheming parent intending to remain abroad with the child has more than likely crafted a well-orchestrated scheme that includes use of Article 12 and Article 13 of the Hague Convention in order to remain abroad with the child.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of children wrongfully detained in a foreign country do not come home.  The I CARE Foundation’s ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’ protects against misuse of all known international child abduction defenses under the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention, including Articles 12, 13, and 20, while upholding the intent and spirit of Article 1 of the Child Abduction Convention.

Q.  Is the I CARE Foundation’s ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’ enforceable in foreign courts?

A.  Yes. One of the key elements of the I CARE Form is that the document requires an Apostolic Notarization (see information on Apostolic Documentation). The travel consent form must be delivered prior to travel to the consulate or embassy of the country the child will be traveling to that is located in the child’s country of habitual residency as well as a copy sent to the child’s country of habitual residency’s consulate or embassy located in the country they intend to travel to.

Peter Thomas Senese TestimonyQ.  How difficult is it to have a child who is abducted returned to their country of original jurisdiction?

A.  One of the greatest challenges all targeted parents face is that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to recover and reunite with abducted children.  Statistically, the grave challenges have not been fully revealed primarily due to the vast majority of countries around the world not reporting their abduction rate. In fact, of the 91 signatory countries of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention, only a handful of countries have reported their international parental child abduction statistics.  One country that has done reporting is the United States. And as reported in the testimony presented to the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations hearing that took place in February, 2014, approximately 40% of American children abducted to Hague signatory countries are returned home.  This number has rapidly declined over the past few years.  Additionally, less than 20% of all children taken to non-Hague signatory nations have been returned to the U.S.

It is noteworthy to share that excluding the United States, countries that have reported their abduction rate have demonstrated on average a 20% growth in abduction per year.  The ongoing global abduction rate increase is in contradiction to the reported U.S. outbound abduction rate, which has declined by 23% during  the reporting periods of FY 2011 and 2012.

Q.  Why is it that the majority of parents are successful in carrying out their scheme of abduction?

Hague Conference
A.  Perhaps the singular most important factor is that local courts in foreign countries are not abiding by the intent and spirit of the Hague Child Abduction Convention.  Specifically, all abductors will make defense claims under Article 12 or Article 13 of the Hague Convention.   Article 12 has to do with intent to relocate, and Article 13 has to do with the ‘Best interest of the child’, which recently has been expanded in many courts to include ‘Best interest of the child and extended family’. Unfortunately, Article 13 in particular has become the Achilles Heel of the abduction prevention community.

During Hague proceedings, the convention calls for the inbound country’s Hague Court to look at Article 13 defenses only in extreme cases as the intent of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention is to determine which court has jurisdiction of the child, and then properly and expeditiously return that child to the country where the court of original jurisdiction is located.  However, around the world, courts are no longer acting in an expeditious manner (outside of tribunal courts such as those established in England) as is cited under Article 1 of The Hague Child Abduction Convention.  Instead, local courts are calling for detailed findings of what is in the best interest of the child and in essence making their own custody ruling even though they are not the court of original jurisdiction.

Problematically, these courts are in essence mooting not only the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention but they are essentially quashing the court orders originating from the child’s country of original jurisdiction.

What the I CARE Foundation’s ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’ does is it upholds the intent and spirit of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention, including Article 1’s ‘Expeditious determination clause’. In addition, the travel consent form strongly addresses misuse of Article 12 and Article 13 defenses, and essentially moots use of false claim.  In addition, the I CARE Foundation’s travel consent form upholds the sanctity of the court of original jurisdiction located in the child’s country of habitual residency.

In essence, the I CARE Foundation’s ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’ is the only global child abduction prevention tool that safeguards against misuse of the Hague Child Abduction Convention defenses and calls for the immediate return of a child if that child is wrongfully detained by mutual consent of both parents.

Q.  Who has supported the I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form?
A.  The I CARE Foundation’s ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’ has been supported by global child abduction prevention leaders around the globe including the Hague Conference Secretary General Dr. Christophe Bernasconi who states,
I have had the possibility to look at the travel form and must say that I am impressed: this is the most comprehensive document of its kind that I have seen so far and there is little doubt in my mind that this is a most valuable and important effort to prevent child abduction. I applaud your efforts and wish to congratulate you and your team . . . It is really impressive to see how quickly your international travel child consent form has started to yield practical results and how well you monitor its operation – this really is remarkable.
In addition, Turkey’s Honorable Judge Selma Nilhan Tekinalp, a world renown child advocate and leading authority on Hague abduction law stated,
The judiciary has an absolute responsibility to prevent against international parental child abduction. In cases when a parent wrongfully takes or detains a child in a foreign country without court order or consent society must understand that this is never a child custody case but a case of kidnapping. The grave and severe abuse to children of abduction at the hands of their kidnapping parents is devastating and only now coming into public light. From the I CARE Foundation sponsored conference at the United Nations I participated in, and discussed with Mr. Peter Thomas Senese numerous issues revolving around how we may prevent abduction, I am pleased to share that the ‘I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form’ has the worldwide potential to dramatically reduce global child abduction. This agreement is deep in Hague law, and strikes at the core of abductor statements who may attempt to mislead courts into sanctioning a kidnapping established under the rules of the Hague Convention. I welcome the creation of the Special Commission.
Esteemed Washington D.C. international family law attorney Armin U. Kuder, partner at the highly respected firm Kuder, Smollar & Friedman, has been named in every article identifying leading family lawyers in the prestigious ‘Washingtonian Magazine’ while also has been named in ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ since the publication’s inception, provided insight on the pragmatic usefulness of the ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’ when he said,
If there is no prior attempt at international abduction of a child, it is extremely difficult to convince a court that it is going to happen. The I Care Foundation International Travel Child Consent Form is a powerful tool for exposing a would-be abductor’s intent. If a parent will not sign the form, we have compelling evidence to present to a court in support of limitations on travel, use of passports, and conditions for access to the child.
Silvia A. Sejas Pardo, a highly respected Argentinean and Spanish international lawyer based in Spain and who is a Founding Member of FASIM, an international association of attorneys dedicated to preventing child abduction commented,
The creation of the Special Commission is a critical step in furthering the global utilization of the ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’ into courts everywhere. We as lawyers who are on the front-line in the fight to stop abduction not only must embrace this clever and sophisticated tool, but we must share of its high merit with lawyers and the judiciary around the world. If we do, we will prevent many abductions.
Carolina Marín Pedreño is a partner at the prestigious London-based law firm of Dawson Cornwell, Carolina Marín Pedreño is the Founding Member of FASIM, an international association of attorneys based in Barcelona created to prevent and assist with international child abduction cases. Additionally, Carolina is the Secretary of the British and Spanish Law Association, a member of the Spanish Association of Family Lawyers, AEAFA, Resolution, Reunite: International Child Abduction Centre, the Society of British and Argentine Lawyers, and the Association of Lawyers for Children, added,
The positive feedback of the Secretary General is extremely welcome as it highlights the potential of the I CARE Foundation’s ‘International Travel Child Consent Form as an international instrument to prevent and reduce cases of child abduction globally. The I Care Foundation has created a wonderful tool, but it is essential that the judiciary and child abduction practitioners around the world now use the Consent Form in international cases; only then will a body of case law develop in each jurisdiction that will enshrine the importance of the Form and lead to a significant decrease in international child abduction. I welcome the creation of the Special Commission and look forward to sharing our findings with the Hague Conference’s leadership.
Mexico’s Carlos Alvarado is a partner at the International Law Group and considered one of the most knowledgeable international family law attorneys in Mexico. Mr. Alvarado was responsible for codifying and translating the I CARE Foundation’s travel consent form into Spanish. Mr. Alvarado added,
The creation of the I CARE Foundation Special Commission is a very significant event for it further demonstrates the significant progress of the ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’. There is no question in my mind that when fully implemented, we will see a sizable decline in child abductions. On this note, society must remember that when a parent internationally abducts a child, this is not a child custody case, but a kidnapping. And as reported last month by the U.S. Department of Justice, children who are abducted by one parent face high degree threats of violence and possible murder. I look forward to sharing the findings of the Special Commission with the leadership of the international community.
Linda Hammerschmid is Secretary of the Family Law Association of Quebec and a Family Law practitioner in Montreal Canada with over 30 years’ experience in the field. Ms. Hammerschmid commented,
The creation of the new International Travel Consent form is a MUST have, not only for Government Departments, Family Law Attorneys and divorcing couples, but also for INTACT families, and should be kept at the homes of ALL parents to use whenever one or the other wishes to travel alone with their children. Far too often the traveling parent only informs the other, AFTER departure, of their intention not to return the children.
Q.  Has the I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form Work?

A.  The I CARE Foundation’s Travel Consent Form has been utilized in courtrooms around the world. To date and to the best of our knowledge, every child who has traveled under the form and who has properly executed all the instructions suggested on the form have all returned to their home country of origin.

Q.  Will the Hague Secretariat Seek To Implement An International Travel Consent Form in the future?

A.  It is our understanding that the creation of a formal Hague Travel Consent form is a high priority for review of the Secretary General.

Q.  Are there legal briefs and case law analysis available that support the I CARE Foundation’s ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’ and is there a fee for the legal brief?

A.  The I CARE Foundation has prepared an extensive legal analysis of the travel consent form. The analysis is free of charge.

Q.  Can the I CARE Foundation’s ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’ be used for travel to non-Hague signatory countries?

A.  The reality is that children taken to non-Hague signatory countries do not come home. This is a truth that still remains true today. We urge all courts and lawyers considering use of the I CARE Foundation’s ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’ to proceed with great caution when considering allowing travel for a child to a non-Hague country particularly when there are concerns that a child may be wrongfully detained.  If there are moderate concerns of abduction, we strongly advise against any type of travel regardless of the use of our travel consent form or not.

If you should have questions regarding the I CARE Foundation's International Travel Child Consent Form, please contact us at legal@theicarefoundation.org

Please visit the I CARE Foundation website to download a free copy of the International Travel Child Consent Form.

Kind regards to all,

Peter Thomas Senese