Thursday, May 30, 2013

California's Keisuke Law on International Parental Child Abduction Important Tool To Prevent Child Kidnappings.

Over the past week, the I CARE Foundation has recieved numerous communications regarding passport concerns related to international parental child abduction, particularly, abduction originating from California.

There is no question that international child abduction associated with Dual Citizenship and Two Passports presents a great challenge to many families targeted for abduction.  And as summer approaches, there is a higher threat of abduction, as the Summer School Break Is Known As International Parental Child Abduction Season.

This said, I wanted to take some time, particularly for those of you living here in California who are at risk of having a child abducted abroad, and share some additional information that may be of help.

Now, in the past, I have shared information concerning the Prevent Departure Program, and concerns associated with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, as well as concern over Dual Passports, amongst many items.

Today, I would like to share with you a very important abduction prevention tool that went into effect on January 1st, 2013 known as the Keisuke Law

On August 23rd, 2012, SB 1206, also known as Keisuke’s (Case-K’s) Law was passed by California legislators. The bill, drafted by Randy Collins of BAC HOME and sponsored by Senator Mimi Walters (R - Irvine)  is intended to prevent parents in a custody dispute from applying for new or replacement passports for their children without consent from the other parent. It was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on September 7th, 2012, and has now been in effect since January 1st, 2013.

In addition, the measure would allow the District Attorney to order a freeze on the California assets of an individual who is alleged to have abducted a child.

This bill was introduced at the request of Mr. Collins, whose son, Keisuke, was abducted to Japan from Orange County in June 2008 and has not been returned. Since his son’s abduction Randy Collins has committed his life to deterring future child abductions. SB 1206 was approved by the State Senate on a 37-0 vote.

The work and dedication of Mr. Collins and all who have helped this bill become law, exemplifies the ability of individuals to make great change. One voice does matter, as demonstrated by Mr. Collins. I speak for all within the I CARE Foundation family when I say, "Thank you."

With Japan apparenatly on the precipe of becoming a member of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, it is important to acknowledge that perhaps activism such as Mr. Collins and the passage of the Keisuke Law helped in some very important way send a message to Japan's Diet that abduction should not, will not be tolerated any longer.

So if you're in California, and you believe there is a child at-risk of abduction, please read the Keisuke Law, and make sure you contact a lawyer who is familiar with international child abduction prevention.

Remember, during the summer school vacation, international child abduction occurs often.With it, there are many risk factors and warning signs concerning international child abduction parents need to be concerned with.

Here's the law as signed by Governor Jerry Brown.

Kindest regards to all -
Peter Thomas Senese

Senate Bill No. 1206

An act to amend Sections 2040 and 3134.5 of the Family Code, relating to child abduction prevention.

[ Approved by Governor September 07, 2012. Filed Secretary of State September 07, 2012. ]


SB 1206, Walters. Child abduction prevention.

(1) Existing law requires, upon the commencement of proceedings for dissolution or nullity of marriage or legal separation of the parties, that the summons contain a temporary restraining order restraining both parties from, among other things, removing the minor child or children of the parties, if any, from the state without the prior written consent of the other party or an order of the court.
This bill would, additionally, provide that the temporary restraining order restrain the parties from applying for a new or replacement passport for the minor child or children of the parties without the prior written consent of the other party or an order of the court.
(2) Existing law authorizes the court, upon request of the district attorney, to issue a protective custody warrant to secure the recovery of an unlawfully detained or concealed child. The protective custody warrant for the child is required to contain an order that the arresting agency shall place the child in protective custody, or return the child as directed by the court.
This bill would authorize the court to also include within the protective custody warrant for the child an order to freeze the California assets, as defined, of the party alleged to be in possession of the child. The bill would provide that, upon noticed motion, any order to freeze assets pursuant to these provisions may be terminated, modified, or vacated by the court upon a finding that the release of the assets will not jeopardize the safety or best interest of the child. The bill would also require that if an asset freeze order is entered pursuant to these provisions, and the court subsequently dismisses the protective custody warrant for the child, notice of the dismissal be immediately served on specified entities.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


This act shall be known and may be cited as Keisuke’s Law.

SEC. 2.

Section 2040 of the Family Code is amended to read:
(a) In addition to the contents required by Section 412.20 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the summons shall contain a temporary restraining order:
(1) Restraining both parties from removing the minor child or children of the parties, if any, from the state, or from applying for a new or replacement passport for the minor child or children, without the prior written consent of the other party or an order of the court.
(2) Restraining both parties from transferring, encumbering, hypothecating, concealing, or in any way disposing of any property, real or personal, whether community, quasi-community, or separate, without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court, except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life, and requiring each party to notify the other party of any proposed extraordinary expenditures at least five business days before incurring those expenditures and to account to the court for all extraordinary expenditures made after service of the summons on that party.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing in the restraining order shall preclude a party from using community property, quasi-community property, or the party’s own separate property to pay reasonable attorney’s fees and costs in order to retain legal counsel in the proceeding. A party who uses community property or quasi-community property to pay his or her attorney’s retainer for fees and costs under this provision shall account to the community for the use of the property. A party who uses other property that is subsequently determined to be the separate property of the other party to pay his or her attorney’s retainer for fees and costs under this provision shall account to the other party for the use of the property.
(3) Restraining both parties from cashing, borrowing against, canceling, transferring, disposing of, or changing the beneficiaries of any insurance or other coverage, including life, health, automobile, and disability, held for the benefit of the parties and their child or children for whom support may be ordered.
(4) Restraining both parties from creating a nonprobate transfer or modifying a nonprobate transfer in a manner that affects the disposition of property subject to the transfer, without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court.
(b) Nothing in this section restrains any of the following:
(1) Creation, modification, or revocation of a will.
(2) Revocation of a nonprobate transfer, including a revocable trust, pursuant to the instrument, provided that notice of the change is filed and served on the other party before the change takes effect.
(3) Elimination of a right of survivorship to property, provided that notice of the change is filed and served on the other party before the change takes effect.
(4) Creation of an unfunded revocable or irrevocable trust.
(5) Execution and filing of a disclaimer pursuant to Part 8 (commencing with Section 260) of Division 2 of the Probate Code.
(c) In all actions filed on and after January 1, 1995, the summons shall contain the following notice:
“WARNING: California law provides that, for purposes of division of property upon dissolution of marriage or legal separation, property acquired by the parties during marriage in joint form is presumed to be community property. If either party to this action should die before the jointly held community property is divided, the language of how title is held in the deed (i.e., joint tenancy, tenants in common, or community property) will be controlling and not the community property presumption. You should consult your attorney if you want the community property presumption to be written into the recorded title to the property.”
(d) For the purposes of this section:
(1) “Nonprobate transfer” means an instrument, other than a will, that makes a transfer of property on death, including a revocable trust, pay on death account in a financial institution, Totten trust, transfer on death registration of personal property, or other instrument of a type described in Section 5000 of the Probate Code.
(2) “Nonprobate transfer” does not include a provision for the transfer of property on death in an insurance policy or other coverage held for the benefit of the parties and their child or children for whom support may be ordered, to the extent that the provision is subject to paragraph (3) of subdivision (a).
(e) The restraining order included in the summons shall include descriptions of the notices required by paragraphs (2) and (3) of subdivision (b).

SEC. 3.

Section 3134.5 of the Family Code is amended to read:
(a) Upon request of the district attorney, the court may issue a protective custody warrant to secure the recovery of an unlawfully detained or concealed child. The request by the district attorney shall include a written declaration under penalty of perjury that a warrant for the child is necessary in order for the district attorney to perform the duties described in Sections 3130 and 3131. The protective custody warrant for the child shall contain an order that the arresting agency shall place the child in protective custody, or return the child as directed by the court. The protective custody warrant for the child may also contain an order to freeze the California assets of the party alleged to be in possession of the child. The protective custody warrant may be served in any county in the same manner as a warrant of arrest and may be served at any time of the day or night. For purposes of this subdivision, “assets” means funds held in a depository institution, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 1420 of the Financial Code, in California.
(b) Upon a declaration of the district attorney that the child has been recovered or that the warrant is otherwise no longer required, the court may dismiss the warrant without further court proceedings.
(c) Upon noticed motion, any order to freeze assets pursuant to subdivision (a) may be terminated, modified, or vacated by the court upon a finding that the release of the assets will not jeopardize the safety or best interest of the child.
(d) If an asset freeze order is entered pursuant to subdivision (a), and the court subsequently dismisses the warrant pursuant to subdivision (b), notice of the dismissal shall be immediately served on the depository institutions holding any assets pursuant to the freeze order.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Canadian and American Problems Protecting Children From International Parental Child Abduction

Due to the adjacent border shared between the United States and Canada, There Are Significant Problems Protecting Children From International Parental Child Abduction.

This past weekend, a widely publicized international parental child abduction case that originated in the United States and ended in Canada exemplified some of the serious challenges parents in both countries face dealing with abduction.

The case of a Longmont, Colorado mother who was assaulted this past Saturday by her separated husband after he broke into her home, where he is alleged to have pepper-sprayed her before using a stun gun on her before he kidnapped their three-year old child to Canada despite an Amber Alert being issued for the abducted child is hopeful that she will be reunited with her son over the coming days.  The child's father was arrested in Manitoba, Canada on Sunday, and thankfully, the child has been reported to be doing okay. 
Brandy Turner Holding Her Son Luke Prior To Abduction
The abduction of Luke Turner and his abducting father, Monty Ray Turner's ability to remove the child out of the United States and enter Canada despite an Amber Alert presents a dire concern international parental child abduction prevention advocates have been voicing for some time: the ease of which children are able to be illegally removed from both the United States' as well as Canada's borders due to existing border control policies and abduction prevention laws.  

As the school summer vacation months approach, it is anticipated that the majority of criminal international parental child abductions will take place. How to prevent these kidnappings is at the core of concern for tens of thousands of abduction prevention stakeholders, including targeted parents of abduction, law enforcement, courts of local jurisdiction, and respective government agencies around the world charged with protecting children.
According to the Longmont Daily Times-Call, the defenseless child's mother, Brandy Turner told police she stepped outside her home to smoke a cigarette and saw her husband in the backyard as Luke was having breakfast, Mrs. Turner, who had a restraining order issued against her husband, said she went inside, closed and locked the door, and tried to call 911, but Monty Turner forced his way inside and threw the phone to the floor. During a scuffle, Mr. Turner used pepper spray, shooting it into her face before she felt an electric shock, which she believes to be from a stun gun, she told the newspaper.
After snatching the child, Mr. Turner drove 1,500 kilometers east, leaving Colorado and entering Canada at some point while driving across the northern plains shared between the United States and Canada.
Brandy Turner told The Associated Press on Monday that she had spoken with Luke on the phone and he knows he’s coming home. She said she couldn’t travel to Canada to get him because she has no passport. The child is presently under the supervision of Canada's Child and Family Services. 
Failure Of The Amber Alert

The Canadian Border Services Agency is presently investigating how the child was able to enter Canada despite an Amber Alert issuance. 
How Monty Ray Turner Entered Canada Despite An
Amber Alert Is Unknown At This Time
Immediate concerns on how Mr. Turner was able to leave the United States and enter Canada include that somehow someone at the Canadian border dropped the ball, and did not carefully check for any Amber Alerts on the child and father. In addition, there is a possibility that Mr. Turner bypassed a border crossing all together and entered Canada by taking back roads that connect the two countries.

The CBSA is reviewing how Turner was able to get into the country with his son after an Amber Alert was issued.

Chris Dzikowicz, the head of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection sai, "The Amber Alert was issued in a state that wasn't a border state. I think the story may have been very different if it had been a border state where they would have been inclined to alert the border immediately," she said.

Longmont Det. Cmdr. Jeff Satur said, "The Amber Alert, when we issued it, initially concentrated on the surrounding states of Colorado, which would have been Nebraska, Utah, Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona. And then we also entered an Amber Alert in Missouri because our initial information was that he was heading toward Missouri.  We did not have any information that he was heading to Canada. That is something else that we are looking into because the boy's mother was not aware and did not authorize any passports."

Even without a passport, abducted children have been known to be taken across the Canada–U-S border.

According to the CBSA, to legally take a child under 18 across the international border, the parent needs a signed letter from the other parent.

But Dzikowicz said parents sometimes aren't asked to present notarized letters if the border guards don't see anything suspicious.

In the world of international parental child abduction, an abductor may initially enter into an adjacent country that shares a border with the child's country of habitual residency due to ease of departure, only to use the first landing country as a launching point to disappear with the child to another country and into a sea of seven billion faces. It is presently unknown if Mr. Turner was intending to leave Canada for another country. Nevertheless, one thing appears clear: the abductor seemingly knew where he was going, which means he may have previously canvassed an exit route out of the United States traveling along the remote northern plains that have limited border security.

Targeted parents around the world who have their children abducted often do not reunite with their children.  Rarely, are abducting parents prosecuted, as courts often fail to hold accountable an abductor for their act of kidnapping, often wrongfully citing 'best interest of the child'. 

However, recently, parental child abductors are starting to be held accountable, which may be one of the reasons why the reported cases of outbound international parental child abduction originating from the United States has declined by 15% over the each of the last two fiscal years (2011 and 2012) after nearly 30 years of continued growth. It should be noted with great exception that Canada has failed to publicly report the number of Canadian children abducted from Canada since 2008. 

Monty Ray Turner and Luke Turner
Monty Ray Turner was arrested Sunday afternoon without incident at the Casablanca Motor Inn in Brandon after law enforcement authorities were able to quickly locate him after he used a credit card to check into the hotel. If he did not use the credit card, it would have been more difficult to locate him and the child. 
The boy’s grandfather, Ronald Turner, 72, was pulled over in Missouri on Sunday on a warrant for second-degree kidnapping. He was driving a vehicle with a licence plate number listed on an Amber Alert that had been issued after Luke was taken.

A Looming Cloud

As prosecutors in the state of Colorado are working to take custody of Monty Ray Turner, 51, who was being held on numerous charges, including kidnapping, a looming cloud covers Canada, the United States, Mexico, and island-nations located in the Caribbean due to existing international travel document requirements for minors under 16 years old need to cross a border that were established under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Specifically, a child traveling by land or by sea across adjacent borders who is under 16 years of age does not need to present a passport at the time of deparute. Instead, all that is required is a photocopy of the child's naturalization papers, such as a photo copy of a birth certificate. 

Peter Thomas Senese's Critically
Acclaimed Novel On International
Parental Child Abduction
The presentation of fraudulent documents at border points has long existed and is well illustrated in the publication of Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) Land and Sea Final Rule" that was released March 27, 2008 by the Department of Homeland Security. It was reported that CBP officers had intercepted over 129,000 fraudulent documents since January 2005 from individuals trying to cross the border over an approximate 3 ½ year period. This is a substantial number; however, we must ask ourselves how many fraudulent documents were never uncovered and successfully used, and how has this impacted international parental child abduction and human trafficking.

It should be of great concern that the ability to falsify travel documentation for children is appears to be relatively easy. The capability to easily present travel documentation without another parent's consent or to falsify travel documents for children in cases where a passport is not required appears relatively easy. The fact that simply a birth certificate or worse, a “copy” of a birth certificate and a letter of permission with no documentation to verify its validity, is sufficient to cross international borders is a serious security concern. And although it is is required that a parent or guardian traveling with the child without the other parent possess a letter of consent from the absent parent(s) we must strongly consider that there is no way to verify the validity of a parental consent letter.

Under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the WHTI was designed to strengthen border security and is a joint Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State (DOS) plan that is carried out in part by the U.S. Customs Border Protection Agency (CBP). The intent of the initiative is to further protect and strengthen our nation’s borders by requiring all travelers to and from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda to present a WHTI compliant document that establishes identity and citizenship.

So where do we go from here?

Clearly, the summer seaon is upon us, and with the school summer break now here, this is a time of year when thousands of children living in North America will become crime victims of abduction. 

As the Turner case unfolds, we must not only ask ourselves how did Mr. Turner exit the United States despite an Amber Watch, but how did he do this.  Furthermore, as the Watkins case resoundly demonstrated, not only should there be a mandatory requirement for all individuals regardless of age and type of travel (land, sea, or air) to present a valid passport at the time of departure.  Note how I said 'Valid Passport'? 

Clearly, children like Luke Turner and every other child deserve to be safe from kidnapping. 

                                       The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative 
                                    And International Parental Child Abduction 

How Are Children Internationally Abducted By Their Parent

Which leads us to the question, "How Are Children Illegally Abducted Into And Out Of The United States or Canada?"

Security flaws that can lead to our children becoming victimized include, but are not limited to the following:

1.     Failures by courts and judges to properly assess abduction risk and attach court orders that would preempt international child stealing; and,

2.     Failure to create or uphold present child abduction prevention laws or other laws created to protect our children’s safety; and,

3.     Identity and travel documentation fraud; and,

4.     A lack of uniform requirements for travel documentation when departing or entering the U.S.; and,

5.     The ability under present law to easily illegally transport children under age 16 across borders during land and sea travel; and,

6.     Human error during verification of travel documents by CBP at a point-of-entry or departure; and,

7.     Failures by law enforcement to act expeditiously to a potential abduction threat; and,

8.     Inefficient communication and data sharing between government agencies responsible to assist in preventing or resolving an international child abduction case; and,

9.     The deficiency by our federal government to create and interlink a children's travel alert, travel restriction data base consisting of real-time family court decisions at the state level with all U.S. border control agencies and transport companies similar to capabilities available through the Prevent Departure Program; and,

The I CARE Foundation
10. A lack of or outdated or underutilized state or federal laws and programs that fail to prevent the abduction of a child and in fact may enable an abduction to occur.

For more information about international parental child abduction please visit The I CARE Foundation or Chasing The Cyclone.  

For more information about international parental child abduction in Canada, please visit I CHAPEAU


Sunday, May 26, 2013

International Multicultural Child Custody, Divorce and Summer Child Abductions Warning Signs

Hi, I’m Peter Thomas Senese, the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation and as the summer school vacation period approaches, I would like to share with you the assortment of warning signs and risk factors associated international parental child abduction that targets thousands upon thousands of unsuspecting parents and defenseless children each year primarily who are a product of a multi-national relationship or marriage that is or has ended. In sharing some key warning signs today, it is my hope that children will be protected from kidnapping and overwhelming abuse.

Now if you’re like hundreds of thousands of parents around the world the term international parental child abduction may be one you are not familiar with. . . . . . until a child you know is kidnapped and illegally detained in a foreign country by the child’s other parent.

Before I go any further, let me say this: the vast majority of children abducted abroad never come home. Tragically, some can’t – they are gone forever.

According to United States Federal Law, the illegal removal of a child from the country without consent of a court or the child’s other parent is a criminal act of kidnapping. The conspiracy that leads up to the child snatching is generally filled with a host of illegal activities, including false allegations toward the targeted parent of abuse toward the child or other parent. This is something I will touch upon later. However, one thing more than anything else should be clear: parental child abduction is not just an act of kidnapping against an innocent child, but inherently, an abducted child becomes a prisoner of the kidnapper forced to follow and obey the predators instruction under the deplorable acts of parental alienation that the kidnapper deploys as they need to rationalize their behavior toward the child-victim.

Generally, the vast majority of abductions are well-planned and are orchestrated so that the other parent is off-guard when the abduction occurs. Blindsided by the act of international parental child abduction – that tragically is treated very differently than a stranger abduction by law enforcement despite the act being a federal crime of kidnapping - parents who attempt to reunite with their child often enter a dark and dangerous world that will change their world forever.

But what are we fighting for?


We’re fighting for a child’s life.

Filicide – a term you may not know - is the act of child murder by a parent. In the United States, hundreds of children are murdered by their parents each year. This is not a phenomenon – parental child murder is a reality that knows no borders.

In cases of parental child abduction the kidnapper uses the child as a pawn to cause hurt and suffering toward the other parent. Denying that parent access to the child is a common theme and often the reason why abduction occurs.

The fear is – the reality is – that many abductors exhibiting sociopath behavior often believe that if they can’t have sole custody of a child – nobody will. Additionally, there appears to be a strong correlation of adult suicides connected to child abduction victims.

None of its easy to discuss yet we’re all only three degrees of separation from knowing someone who may be a target of abduction.

In the course of events leading up to the actual abduction or attempted abduction there are clear warning signs that may allow a parent to protect themselves and their children. And with the summer months upon us – the time of year when most child kidnappings take place – I hope that some insight I will share may be of use to you.

On behalf of my colleagues at the I CARE Foundation, one thing is certain: raising awareness and stewarding the message about the warning signs of international parental child abduction has played a role in reducing the number of reported outbound child kidnapping cases originating in the United States by 15% during the last two consecutive years after nearly 30 years of continued growth.

Make no mistake; the reality is that tens of thousands of children living in cities and on farms across our nation are targeted for kidnapping each year. It is carefully estimated that only 10% of these children will ever come home when we consider the ‘reported’ and ‘unreported’ cases of abduction.

Do you really want to play those odds?

Now before I get into a list of warning signs of international abduction you may ask yourself why is international parental child abduction affecting tens of thousands of families?

The answer is complex, but in general terms, we are seeing a substantial increase in multi-national relationships, which personally I think is great; however, with the notion of ‘global citizenship’ comes some challenges.

You see, as our world becomes a closer, more connected society, individuals from different nations develop relationships with one another, some leading to the birth of a child. Unfortunately, some of these relationships end, and when they do, the foreign-born national parent often desires to return to their home country – and when they do – they usually have a desire to take the child with them.

Except they have one problem: the other parent does not want their child to live abroad after being born and raised in their home country.

Knowing that the likelihood of a court granting them permission to live abroad with their child more than likely will not occur, the parent seeking to relocate to a foreign country often creates a clever, well thought-out plan to either abduct the child from the child’s country of original jurisdiction, or, they will create a deceitful scheme that will enable them to legally remove the child from the country they live in – such as plans to travel on a family vacation with intentions of permanent removal.

Once 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. In the meanwhile, the scheming taking 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.

Sometimes - and I have seen this happen many times – but a kidnapper will say that the other parent actually consented to have the child relocate . . . so that they can litigate ‘what’s in the child’s best interest’ abroad – in their country of origin – and at a tremendous disadvantage to the child’s other parent.

I want to make this very clear: the scheme of a parental child abductor does not discriminate by gender. Men and women generally abduct equally and often cite abuse and mistreatment as the reason why they abducted. They make the claim that they are not abductors but liberators fleeing abuse. The majority of these claims are false. They are lies created to defend against Federal kidnapping charges. They are lies created in hope a court would sanction the abduction under Article 13 of the Hague Convention – a rule that allows an abductor the ability to relocate if they can prove it is not in the child’s best interest to return to their home country. These lies are intended to cruelly cause the targeted parent suffering, including arrest in hope to make any litigation they may bring to reunite with their child difficult or impossible.

So if you think that since you may have a U.S. custody order, and that THAT order will allow you to simply go and bring your child home, you should know this: that once your child is in a foreign country, the pragmatic reality of the custody order you are in possession of may mean very little, especially if the abductor has made a criminal complaint against you and/or filed a civil action for custody. Usually, they happen at the same time.

And so here’s your reality: should you attempt to remove your child and take them home with you, you may be violating laws in the country you and your child are located in and you may be arrested . . . . Your custody order is at least temporarily, useless. Welcome to the world of parental child abduction.

But like Dante’ descending into the Inferno, your nightmare as a targeted chasing parent has only just begun. For example, as an American citizen, do you know that even though the abduction was a criminal act toward you and your child, you are responsible for 100% of all costs associated with finding, monitoring, and litigating your case, including the costs to bring your child home unless you become dead-broke – which often occurs for many targeted parents because the cost to reunite with a child often costs parents hundreds of thousands of dollars. So if you don’t have a large amount of money available, chances are you’re not going to bring your child home. But that’s not it: you still have to deal with the false charges and claims, and litigate abroad. If you don’t think foreign courts have prejudice, you are sadly mistaken.

And if you think you’ll simply be able to get an arrest warrant issued and seek extradition proceedings against the kidnapping parent, you’re in line for some serious disappointment because numerous countries that the United States has extradition agreements with do not have agreements in place regarding parental abduction. In fact, in certain countries, this is not even a crime!

Do you get the sense of hopelessness? If you do – welcome to the world of many chasing parents.

Add to it that while your child is gone, he or she is taught by the abductor to think you are a bad mother or father out to hurt them and their taking parent. Yes, parental alienation and parental isolation are alive and well – and in its abuse, it destroys the innocence and very fabric of your child.

So as the summer approaches, this is the time of year when parents need to be aware of the warning signs of parental child abduction.

I have often heard from parents who tragically stuck their head in the sand and didn’t pay attention to the warning signs that ‘Their partner was not that clever’, to find out just how cunning and deceitful they really were only after their child or children were gone.

The key to stopping child abduction is to prevent it from happening.

The MOST IMPORTANT WARNING sign of abduction is to understand the present relationship you have with the child's other parent and ask yourself 'May that parent have the intent, desire, ability, and means to take your child to another country without your permission, or possible intent to keep your child in a foreign country should you grant permission for your child to travel abroad with you, the other parent, or both of you?

Abduction often occurs as a prelude to parents separating or beginning divorce proceedings, though there are a significant number of abductions that occur post-divorce commencement litigation. In many cases, the abduction is a planned scheme, which means that generally, the parent intending to abduct a child will try to create an atmosphere that is opposite of their intent: meaning that they will try lull the other parent to thinking that they are committed to the relationship, when in fact they are not. This is a critical issue because it is easier to abduct a child when the targeted parent is not seeking to prevent abduction. So having the targeted parent think that there is a loving, committed relationship is critical for the abductor.

So - if you have been in a difficult, strained relationship with a person who has deep ties to a foreign country, and suddenly that person is demonstrating a new-found love or new-found commitment . . . and they eventually pose the idea of traveling abroad with the child so the child could visit that person's family, THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS WARNING SIGN that abduction may be planned.

Remember, even if you are invited to travel with the other parent and child, this does not mean you or your child are safe. I know many parents who traveled abroad with the other parent and child who were in possession of custody orders - only to have false claims of abuse, neglect, or acts of violence made against them within days of touching down in the foreign country. Once that happens, the legal nightmare begins - despite possessing joint custody, there is very little that the targeted parent can do to remove the child from the inbound country because the abducting parent usually has filed legal documents seeking court relief to remain abroad - typically in their country of origin.

So here we are - the school summer vacation season is upon us. Parents need to ask themselves this question: Has my relationship with my child's other parent been strained, and all of a sudden there is a new-found love or commitment by that parent - and is there a trip abroad being suggested or planned? Because if so - you should be very concerned.

As touched upon earlier, if you believe the other parent may remove or retain the child abroad in order to gain an advantage in expected or pending child-custody proceedings by seeking the jurisdiction of the courts located in their country of origin, you should be very concerned.

For example, if a child is taken to a nation in the Middle East, there is a high probability that that nation will allow the abductor to keep the child abroad since the legal environment or cultural traditions may provide the abductor the safe harbor they seek.

In fact, there are many nations who simply do not return internationally kidnapped children, and this includes the majority of countries found in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, who outrageously, are not signatory members of international treaties on abduction. And before I let you think that having a child abducted to European or South American countries is any better you better think again. For example, I have a good friend who is a highly decorated police officer in New York who had his daughter abducted to Germany. For nearly 4 years this loving, honest, compassionate father has fought to reunite with his child. Yet she remains in Germany and he is as close as bringing her home today as he was when the kidnapping first occurred.

Unfortunately, there are countries, particularly in the Middle East, that have cultural environments that make it very difficult for a woman to recover their child. Cultural norms in Asia make it equally difficult for a man to recover their child. But child recovery and reunification is rare. In fact, there are many cases when the international courts order for a child to be returned to their country of original jurisdiction, and the kidnapping parent does not follow the court orders and does so without fear of retribution or arrest . . . . its a common theme.

Now back to the WARNING SIGNS - If the other parent threatens you that they will take your child abroad and you will never see them, don't take this threat as a non-event. Many abductors who have successfully kept a child abroad did in fact make at least one threat that they were returning to their own country of origin.

Another WARNING SIGN is if the other parent presses you to sign a passport application for your child to obtain a passport from their country of their origin. Remember - your child has a right to dual citizenship if their other parent is a foreign born national.

BEWARE that many nations do not require a second parent's signature in order to obtain travel documents for a dual national child. . . for example France - so you very well may not know if the other parent has a secondary passport issued from another country. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT because even though the U.S. courts may obtain or even cancel your child's American passports, they have no control on passports issued by another country. The fact is that even though a U.S. court order may restrict international travel for the child - passports issued by a foreign country are accepted without question at points of departure from the U.S. "

So if abduction is going to occur - there is a high probability that foreign issued passports will be used to leave the United States.

NEEDLESS TO SAY, if you discover a foreign passport for your child issued from another country that you were not aware of, you have a serious problem on your hand.

Often the scheming parent will use a sudden illness of a family member abroad as a scheme to play on the targeted parent's heart, often seeking to have their child, 'See their grandmother or grandfather before they pass away.' I can't even begin to tell you how many scenarios like that I am aware of - when the targeted parent who let their child travel with the other parent - soon finds out that there was no family emergency, but instead - an abduction scheme.

A CRITICAL WARNING SIGN is if you soon realize that the other parent is sending large sums of money or other personal belongings abroad - or if they are removing all financial ties to the country they presently live in . . . such as selling their home, quitting their job, selling their car. You get the idea.

There is one other VERY IMPORTANT WARNING SIGN that I would like to touch upon here: if there is a false police complaint and incident report filed by your child's other parent against you, there is a likelihood that they are establishing a case against you based upon domestic violence and abuse which will be very beneficial to them in court should they abduct your child.

Disgracefully, both men and women abductors are known to make false claims of abuse toward the other parent when planning to abduct . . . if you think it can’t happen to you – you better think again.

With false police complaints in mind, there is something every parent should be aware of: generally, a parent seeking to abduct a child will often make a false police report against the other parent on Thursday afternoons thru Friday afternoon in hope to have their targeted parent arrested and detained by law enforcement over the weekend so that while the child's other parent is in jail, they have an unimpeded path to depart the country.

When the abductor arrives in the inbound country where they had schemed to abduct the child to - they have established a paper trail of domestic abuse or violence reports that may provide the court in the foreign country with all the evidence they need to allow the abductor the right to keep the child there, thus becoming a 'liberator' as opposed to an 'abductor' because they created the false appearance that they had to run to protect their lives.

Remember, children under 16 years of age living in the United States, Canada, or Mexico are not required to present a valid passport when traveling within North America so long as they travel by land or sea under policies established by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative . . . . which means that a closed circuit cruise ship that starts and ends in the same port, but that may travel to foreign ports, is in fact a vehicle for abductors to use.

Hopefully the I CARE Foundation's efforts will cause our government to modify this policy and mandate that children traveling abroad, regardless of age must present a valid passport.

The Truth is that there are a substantial amount of warning signs of abduction, and parents need to pay attention to them TODAY.

Should you believe that your child is at risk of abduction, please contact a qualified attorney who has true experience litigating international child abduction prevention cases.

If child abduction is in process, please contact law enforcement immediately as well as a qualified attorney familiar with abduction. You should also immediately contact the United States Department of State's OFFICE OF CHILDREN'S ISSUES.

As the summer approaches, the reality is that thousands of children will be targeted for abduction. It is anticipated that several thousand children will be kidnapped abroad when combining reported and unreported cases of abduction.

Of these children taken, only a small number will ever return home . . . ever see their targeted parent again . . . ever return to the community they were raised in . . . ever see their family now left behind.

In the process, their identity will be stolen . . . who they are will be denied . . . they will learn to know hatred because that is what an abductor will preach to them in order to have that child hate their left behind parent . . . and they will live a life as a fugitive.

Most of all they will become prisoners illegally detained by a vengeful abductor who is using that child to cause harm and destruction to the other parent.

Tragically, these children will lose their innocence. As I said earlier, many will never come home . . . some simply will never have the opportunity to . . . . they can't.

For more information I urge you to visit the I CARE Foundation's website. You may also visit the official website for Chasing The Cyclone, which is the website of my deeply inspired novel about international child abduction that contains an extensive amount of resources. And of course, you should visit the United States Department Of States Official Website, particularly if abduction is in progress.

Protect yourself and your child. Educate yourself.

Click here to read how to stop international parental child abduction when a child may be issued two dual passports.



Saturday, May 25, 2013

Today Is International Missing Children's Day: Help Stop Child Abduction

Today commemorates the 30th International Missing Children's Day. All children who are missing: parentally kidnapped or abducted by a stranger or who disappear in a world of billions are always at grave risk. Today we acknowledge the large number of children and their families who went missing and who are no longer with us, as the tragedies they experienced nor our sympathy ever adequately expressed. On behalf of the entire I CARE Foundation family and in the name of those children and their families who faced the unthinkable of having a child missing, snatched, abducted, kidnapped, held hostage, or used as a pawn as part of a deplorable scheme, we take today to honor those who have had to endure so much as we affirm our commitment to assisting families in crisis due to abduction.

Today, May 25th, 2013 marks the 30th International Missing Children's Day. First proclaimed by United States President Ronald Reagan as an American day of recognition over the epidemic number of missing children in the United States that has been observed by every administration since, the worldwide pandemic that impacts countries around the world is now recognized as a day to remember innocent children now gone, while reminding parents, guardians, and society as a whole of the major responsibility to make child safety a priority while raising awareness that abduction of children must be stopped at all costs. 
The I CARE Foundation is committed to stopping child abduction and human trafficking. All forms of abduction, no matter who is kidnapping a child, places the child's life in grave risk. 
In the spirit of today, I ask that you please consider sharing on your various social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, and any blog you administer the following essay focused on how summer is the time of year the vast majority of children are kidnapped, and what parents can do to protect them.  One thing is certain: there is no coincidence that since the I CARE Foundation launched a grassroots campaign to raise awareness of abduction, outbound kidnappings have declined by 15% the last 2 years after 30 years of growth. 
As a parent of a child who was once abducted, I can't thank you in advance enough for your support as we move forward in further protecting children.
It is estimated that at least 8 million children worldwide go missing each year or 22,000 a day. The majority of these child-victim disappearnaces, abductions and kidnappings could have been avoided if society was more proactive in protecting innocence.

Unfortunately, many countries do not view protecting children as a priority and thus don’t have appropriate mechanisms in place to recover missing children who are at high risk of being exploited into trafficking, prostitution, and parental abduction. 

Today we ask all of our friends to take a few minutes out of your day and share the following two articles via your social media networks because, if history repeats itself, this information will reach a family at risk of abduction today.

Summer Vacations And International Parental Child Abduction

Protecting Against International Child Abduction: Dual Citizenship and Two Passports

Thank you in advance for your help!

On behalf of the I CARE Foundation family -

Peter Thomas Senese


Friday, May 24, 2013

Preventing Summer International Child Abduction Using Dual Nationality and Two Passports

I CARE Foundation Director Peter Thomas Senese:
Dual Citizenship And International Child Abduction

It is a mistake to think that the United States Government cannot help prevent the international parental child abduction of an American child-citizen by an abducting parent who possesses either sole American citizenship or is a dual citizen of the United States and another country.

For any parent, lawyer, or stakeholder who is involved in attempting to prevent an international child abduction originating from the United States whereas the suspected taking parent may possess secondary passports issued from a foreign country for the targeted child, I urge you to contact the indefatigable, dedicated team at the United States Department of State's Office of Children's Issues Abduction Prevention Unit.

If you are an at-risk parent who believes your child's other parent is planning or in the process of international parental child abduction, please contact the United States Department of State's Office of Children's Issues Abduction Prevention Bureau to discuss potential measures that may be available to you to ensure the individual parent suspected of an international child abduction threat does not illegally depart the United States and remove your child in violation of a court order or in breach of your right of custody.  

Please contact the Office of Children's Issues Prevention Bureau to discuss if there are potential prevention techniques unique to your case that may allow the Department of State to work with other federal agencies so to secure your child is not a victim of international parental child abduction.

To contact the Department of State's Office of Children's Issues Prevention Bureau please contact:

The United States Department of State
Office Of Children's Issues
Abduction Prevention Bureau
SA-17, 9th Floor  
Washington, DC 20522-1709
                                           Phone: 1-888-407-4747   or   202-501-4444

To contact the I CARE Foundation concerning abduction matters please email us at

Many U.S. citizen children who fall victim to international parental abduction possess dual nationality. Being aware of the child's other parent's possession of a secondary passport issued from that parent's country of origin is critical in preventing abduction because children abducted abroad usually travel outside of the country on their foreign passport. Preventing the issuance of your child's secondary passport to a foreign country is possible, but not guaranteed, based upon the country of origin of the child's other parent and their laws.

In the United States, it was apparent that parents intending to illegally remove a child in a foreign country knew that if they possessed dual citizenship, that it would be rather easy to depart America using their foreign issued passport that they have had issued for them and more than likely, the child they are intending to wrongfully remove.  In part, this belief appears to have been circulated because it was commonly believed that the United States does not have exit controls, and, existing policies such as the Prevent Departure Program (discussed herein) does not apply to individuals who posses a right of American citizenship.

Well - I am here today to tell any individual who is thinking that you can illegally remove an American child-citizen from the United States using a secondary passport issued from another country in your and in the child's name - you better think again. 

For all parents, lawyers, court officials, policymakers, policy administrators, child advocates - and to any person who is thinking of aiding or abetting a person intent on committing the crime of international parental child abduction - here's what you need to know: The United States Department of State's Office of Children's Issues and the branch's Child Abduction Prevention Bureau is deeply committed to stopping the abduction of American children.

Want a little proof?

Well, let me begin by saying that due to a host of factors, the global international parental child abduction rate appears to be growing at over 20% per year. Except in the United States of America, where the international parental child abduction rate declined by over 15% in 2011, declined by over 16% in 2012, and is expected to decline further in 2013.

Why is this happening?

Many reasons - first and foremost - it is because the Department of State has committed necessary resources to the Office of Children's Issues and their Abduction Prevention Unit. In turn, their has been real cooperation between the Department of State and other federal agencies who have the ability to assist in stopping a child's international abduction.

For those of you who may be a target of abduction, it is important to know the majority of international parental child abductions that occur are carefully planned schemes that attempt to catch the targeted parent off guard. A parent intending to snatch a child may use an assortment of reasons in order to obtain the secondary passport. Certain countries require signatures of both of the child's parents, while many require only the signature of the parent that possesses citizenship to that country.

In scenarios where only the parent who possesses citizenship to the country the child has a right to secondary citizenship to can apply for their child's passport, the grave risk and reality is that if abduction is planned, the abducting parent will attempt to conceal the existence of the secondary passport from the other parent. Additionally, in cases where dual signatures are required, it is possible that the taking parent can fraudulently submit the other parent's signature to the passport bureau of the other country as generally there are limited documentation controls in place set up to validate the application request.

While the Department of State will make every effort to avoid issuing a U.S. passport if the custodial parent has provided a custody decree, the Department cannot prevent embassies and consulates of other countries in the United States from issuing their passports to children who are also their nationals. 

All is not lost if you act thoughtfully. For example, you can ask a foreign embassy or consulate not to issue a passport to your child. On numerous occasions I or one of the attorneys associated with the I CARE Foundation have accompanied a targeted parent and personally visited a foreign embassy or consulate and requested that a secondary passport not be issued in the name of the child due to an abduction threat.

If traveling to an embassy or consulate is not a possibility, I suggest you contact the consulate, locate a supervisor who oversees their passport issuance program, and speak to them about your concern for abduction and specifically state you do not want that country to issue a passport. Immediately after that telephone call, you must submit a written request, along with certified complete copies of any court orders addressing custody or the overseas travel of your child you have. From experience, I strongly suggest you also include your marriage certificate, your child's birth certificate, and any other relevant documentation that establishes your marriage or legal partnership and establishes that you are the parent of the child or children. In your letter, inform them that you are sending a copy of this request to the U.S. Department of State

If your child is only a U.S. citizen, you can request that no visa for that country be issued in his or her U.S. passport. No international law requires compliance with such requests, but some countries will comply voluntarily.

With respect to your requests to a foreign country, there is one thing I would like to share from experience: you are likely to get more cooperation at times if you or your legal representative schedule an appointment in person. This is something I have seen first-hand in my capacity as a director of the I CARE Foundation.

What is dual nationality?

The concept of dual nationality means that a person is a citizen of two countries at the same time. Each country has its own citizenship laws based on its own policy. Persons may have dual nationality by automatic operation of different laws rather than by choice. For example, a child born in a foreign country to U.S. citizen parents may be both a U.S. citizen and a citizen of the country of birth.

A U.S. citizen may acquire foreign citizenship by marriage, or a person naturalized as a U.S. citizen may not lose the citizenship of the country of birth.U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another. Also, a person who is automatically granted another citizenship does not risk losing U.S. citizenship. However, a person who acquires a foreign citizenship by applying for it may lose U.S. citizenship. In order to lose U.S. citizenship, the law requires that the person must apply for the foreign citizenship voluntarily, by free choice, and with the intention to give up U.S. citizenship.

Intent can be shown by the person's statements or conduct.The U.S. Government recognizes that dual nationality exists but does not encourage it as a matter of policy because of the problems it may cause. Claims of other countries on dual national U.S. citizens may conflict with U.S. law, and dual nationality may limit U.S. Government efforts to assist citizens abroad. The country where a dual national is located generally has a stronger claim to that person's allegiance.

However, dual nationals owe allegiance to both the United States and the foreign country. They are required to obey the laws of both countries. Either country has the right to enforce its laws, particularly if the person later travels there. Most U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States. Dual nationals may also be required by the foreign country to use its passport to enter and leave that country. Use of the foreign passport does not endanger U.S. citizenship. Most countries permit a person to renounce or otherwise lose citizenship.

Information on losing foreign citizenship can be obtained from the foreign country's embassy and consulates in the United States. Americans can renounce U.S. citizenship in the proper form at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.

Two Parent Signature Law for a Passport

U.S. law requires the signature of both parents, or the child's legal guardians, prior to issuance of a U.S. passport to children under the age of 16. To obtain a U.S. passport for a child under the age of 16, both parents (or the child’s legal guardians) must execute the child’s passport application and provide documentary evidence demonstrating that they are the parents or guardians. If this cannot be done, the person executing the passport application must provide documentary evidence that he or she has sole custody of the child, has the consent of the other parent to the issuance of the passport, or is acting in place of the parents and has the consent of both parents (or of a parent/legal guardian with sole custody over the child to the issuance of the passport).


The law does provide two exceptions to this requirement: (1) for exigent circumstances, such as those involving the health or welfare of he child, or (2) when the Secretary of State determines that issuance of a passport is warranted by special family circumstances.

Prevent Departure Program

Since 2003, United States citizens have had available a very effective international child abduction prevention tool called ‘The Prevent Departure Program’. Unfortunately, many parents at risk of having their child internationally abducted are not aware that this incredibly useful tool is available to them.

In the aftermath of 911, the Department of Homeland Security’s ‘Prevent Departure Program’ was created to stop non-U.S. citizens from departing the country. The program applies to non-US citizens physically located in America considered individuals at risk of child abduction. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) oversees this program and it is monitored 24 hours a day.

What the ‘Prevent Departure Program’ does is provide immediate information to the transportation industry, including all air, land, and sea channels a single point of contact at Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and provides a comprehensive database of individuals the United States believes may immediately depart to a foreign country.

The program only applies to aliens, and is not available to stop U.S. citizens or dual U.S./foreign citizens from leaving the country. CRITICALLY -  as I stated earlier, if  you are an at-risk parent who believes your child's other parent is planning or in the process of international parental child abduction, please contact the United States Department of State's Office of Children's Issues Abduction Prevention Bureau to discuss potential measures that may be available to you to ensure the individual parent suspected of an international child abduction threat does not illegally depart the United States and remove your child in violation of a court order or in breach of your right of custody. The Office of Children's Issues Prevention Bureau may be able to determine if there are potential prevention techniques unique to your case that may allow the Department of State to work with other federal agencies so to secure your child is not a victim of international parental child abduction.

Under Section 215 of the ‘Immigration and Nationality Act’ (8 U.S.C. 1185) and it’s implementing regulations (8 CFR Part 215 and 22 CFR Part 46), it authorizes departure-control officers to prevent an alien’s departure from the United States if the alien’s departure would be prejudicial to the interests of the United States. These regulations include would-be abductions of U.S. citizens in accordance to court orders originating from the child’s court of habitual residency.

If the abductor and child are identified, they will be denied boarding. In order to detain them after boarding is denied, there must be a court order prohibiting the child’s removal or providing for the child’s pick-up, or a warrant for the abductor.

In order for an at risk parent to participate in the program (remember: the Department of State may be able to assist a parent targeted by another individual who is in possession of dual citizenship and find issues unique to your case that may enable them to work with other federal agencies in cases of American or dual citizenship), all of the following must be demonstrated:

1. Subject may NOT be a US citizen; and,

2. The nomination must include a law enforcement agency contact with 24/7 coverage; and,

3. There must be a court order showing which parent has been awarded custody or shows that the Subject is restrained from removing his/her minor child from certain counties, the state or the U.S.; and,

4. The Subject must be in the US; and,

5. There must be some likelihood that the Subject will attempt to depart in the immediate future.

With respect to the established guidelines listed above, note that in order to request the listing of the other parent, that person must be an alien of the United States.

The second mandate states a request to place an individual’s name on the Prevent Departure Program must include support by a law enforcement agency or from the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues, which has the authority of requesting for the Department of Homeland Security to list a suspected child abductor on the ‘Prevent Departure Program’.

The third criteria: possessing a custodial order, is essential. Regardless if the other parent has joint custody or rights of visitation, critically, you must make sure that there are injunction orders in place prohibiting the child from being removed from the jurisdiction of habitual residency. Unfortunately, many international parental child abductions are well planned out in advance of the actual abduction, and the targeted parent has no idea that an abduction is in progress until it is too late. This is why it is essential for parents in partnership with non-nationals to be fully aware of the warning signs associated with a potential international child abduction.

The fourth criteria states the obvious: in order to prevent an alien-parent suspected of abducting a child on U.S. soil, that parent must be on U.S. soil.

The fifth criteria requests that the applying parent demonstrate that the alien-parent has demonstrated the likelihood of abducting the child across international borders in the immediate future. Remember – you need to document and record as much evidence as possible.

For many parents who face the risk of having their child abducted and removed across international borders, the nightmare that both targeted parent and victimized child face is unbearable.

The Prevent Departure Program is not for everyone and should not be abused; however, in situations where an abduction threat is real and the targeting parent intent on abducting a child is a non-US citizen possessing the capacity to breach court orders and abduct a child of a relationship, the Prevent Departure Program may be a useful tool.

Individuals seeking to Department of State assistance and implementation of the Prevent Departure Program should make sure that they have the following information ready to submit to the Office of Children's Issues:

1.      Full name, date, place of birth of Potential taking parent.

2.      Full name, date, place of birth of Potential left behind parent (and PLBP’s contact info, including a surface address).

3.      Passport number and issuing country (if available, and not U.S.) for both parents.

4.      Full name of child.

5.      Date, place of birth of child.

6.      U.S. passport number of child.

7.      Passport number and issuing country of any dual national passport of child (if available).

8.      Copy of court order with travel restrictions.

9.      Full contact details, including a 24/7 phone and email (to email court documents, we do not have after hours fax access), for law enforcement contact.

10.   Details of potential travel plans.
The contact information for the Department of State is as follows:

The United States Department of State
Office Of Children's Issues
Abduction Prevention Bureau
SA-17, 9th Floor  
Washington, DC 20522-1709
                                           Phone: 1-888-407-4747   or   202-501-4444

In the United States, International Parental Child Abduction is clearly beginning to be taken as a serious crime against innocent children. The incredible efforts by the Office Of Children's Issues to protect American children from abduction has produced real, measurable, and impactful results. As the world's abduction rate spirals out of control, an anomaly is occurring in America: children are being protected from kidnapping. 

From our vantage point in the battle trench fighting abduction, and from our own measurable history of protecting a large number of children who have either been abducted or were targeted from abduction, the I CARE Foundation is fully aware that none of the successes we have had assisting targeted children would be possible if not for the Department of State and the tremendous cooperation protecting children provided by other agencies.

I think it is important to point out that in all cases where a secondary passport is a concern, one of the legal strategies the attorneys associated with the I CARE Foundation have successfully implemented is to seek an emergency order from the court possessing jurisdiction of the child whereas, the petition requests that 'responding parent' (parent believed to planning an abduction) provide formal documentation from the consulate or embassy of their country of origin that grants the consulate or embassy permission to answer a court subpoena concerning the issuance of a passport (the consulate or embassy is not required to do so even if a subpoena is issued), or, that the court order the responding parent to provide an official letter from their country of origin stating that neither a passport for the child has been issued from that country and no application for a passport has been submitted.

During the emergency application, the targeted parent (the 'applicant') has sought a host of measures, including seeking for the court or the applicant to take possession of the child's American passports; and, for the child being placed on the United States Passport Issuance Alert Program; and, for either removal of child access or limited, supervised access of the targeted child by the parent suspected of child snatching. If the Prevent Departure Program is applicable, attorneys have previously sought for the court to request that the U.S. Department of State petition the U.S. Department of Homeland Security place a person considered a high-risk child abductor on the secure screening list to ensure that person does not travel outside of the country with the child unless permitted to do so by court order.

However, as stated previously - each abduction prevention case is different. It is imperative that at-risk parents contact the Department of State.  Should a parent or attorney have questions they would like to address with the I CARE Foundation, they may do so by email at:  

I think it is also worth sharing the concern that a parent traveling by land or sea across international adjacent borders (For the United States this means travel to Canada, Mexico, or certain Caribbean island-nations) with a minor under 16 years of age does not need to present a valid passport for their child at the border-crossing (valid passports are required for all travelers regardless of age only when traveling abroad by aircraft) as established by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

Thus, a parent planning to abduct a child could do so by boarding a closed circuit cruise, or by simply driving across the border. It is critical that an attorney attempting to prevent abduction familiarize themselves with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative loopholes and present these issues to the court they are litigating over. One other good idea is that they present to the court the statistical realities of child abduction return, including whether a country that appears to be a likely inbound country is a member of the Hague Convention, and whether or not they are a complying country. Of course, that's not all that should be presented to the court. A few other important issues include the potential for severe abuse to the child; and, the severe abuse to the targeted parent, the cost to litigate; and, the ability for the taking parent to disappear abroad, including departing the country they initially 'landed' in, and travel to another country; and finally, the likelihood that a child will be returned.

I invite you to read Summer Vacations and International Parental Child Abduction and to visit the official website of the U.S. Department of State, I CARE Foundation and Chasing The Cyclone for more information about abduction.

One little word of advice: the majority of parents who have had their child abducted never saw it coming. Do not stick your head in the ground and think this cannot happen to you. Educate yourself.

- Peter Thomas Senese -
Founding Director - The I CARE Foundation