Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Peter Thomas Senese Testimony Presented To The United States Senate's Committee on Foreign Relations Offers New Solutions To The Global Child Abduction Problem

On February 27th, 2014 the U.S. Senate's Committee on Foreign Relations conducted a hearing before the Honorable Committee Chairman Senator Menendez and Majority Representative Senator Crocker to discuss international parental child abduction and proposed HR. 3212 legislation allowing the President of the United States the ability to sanction other countries the U.S. government believes to be non-complying with the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention.
The I CARE Foundation applauds all stakeholders working to stop abduction while advocating for the rightful return of all abducted children to their country of original jurisdiction. There is no question that a collective effort by all countries to prevent child abduction and efficiently return abducted children to their home country must immediately occur. This said, we believe it critical that all offered solutions protect the viability of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention, and, not jeopardize the recovery of children presently abducted or who may be a target of abduction in the future.
Respectfully, we submit that the testimony provided by Peter Thomas Senese on behalf of the I CARE Foundation supports an immediate synchronized efforts by all U.S. Ambassadors to resolve the issues of American child-victims of kidnapping while escalating the functionality of the Hague Conference Secretariat. Contrary to the position of others who have submitted testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, we believe passing legislation granting the United States government to sanction any other country for non-compliance to the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention or creating and upholding an MOU must only occur if all other options are explored and have failed. This has not occurred as of yet.  In addition, we respectfully submit that the failure of abducted children to be returned to their home country is not simply an American problem but a global pandemic. The reality is there are many children wrongfully detained in the United States due to actions that have unfolded in American courtrooms that are not in line with the intent and guidelines established by the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention, thus creating significant hardship for families living abroad victimized by abduction.  These issues and viable solutions are offered in Mr. Senese's submitted testimony.
We believe there are key immediate provisions the U.S. government can implement that will prevent abduction, and on a global scale, we believe several of the recommendations provided in Mr. Senese's extensive testimony offer real solutions on the global abduction front. In particular, we believe the I CARE Foundation's 'International Child Travel Consent Form' is the most efficient and effective tool all signatory countries of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention must utilize.
Testimonial Of Peter Thomas Senese
We invite you to read the testimony submitted to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations by Mr. Peter Thomas Senese on behalf of the I CARE Foundation along with the insightful testimony of:
Ambassador Susan Jacobs on behalf of the U.S. Department of State
Mr. Ernie Allan on behalf of the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Mr. David Goldman of the Bring Sean Home Foundation

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I CARE Foundation Provides Testimony To U.S. Senate On Issue Of International Parental Child Abduction

On behalf of the I CARE Foundation, it was a privilege to be able to provide testimony to the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on the issue of international parental child abduction. The I CARE Foundation firmly believes increased efforts in diplomacy along with meaningful judicial education and training programs are the solution to the global abduction crisis... as well we believe that the solutions offered to Congress are the most viable, effective and global-reaching ideas which offer both immediate and long-term answers for families of abduction.

We would like to share a portion of this testimony - which deals specifically with the I CARE Foundation's International Travel Child Consent Form - which has been an incredibly effective tool in the area of international child abduction prevention since it was developed.

Key Child Abduction Prevention Suggested Mandates:

Mandate Execution Of An International Travel Child Consent Form Steep In Hague Law

Section I – The International Child Travel Consent Form

Perhaps the singular most effective tool to prevent the international parental child abduction of American children and ensure their safe and immediate return to their home country is for Congress to mandate the use of a Hague-centric international travel child consent form and direct various government agencies connected to the welfare of our American child citizens and travel related matters to widely disseminate this form.

Clearly, the majority of international parental child abductions under the rules of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention occur when a child is wrongfully detained in another country. Typically this occurs under the guise of a family vacation.

The I CARE Foundation has created a travel consent form that is steep in Hague-oriented case law with focus on Articles 1, 12, 13 and 20. The I CARE Foundation's International Travel Child Consent Form was created to remove a parent's legal defenses under Articles 12, 13, and 20 of the Hague Convention who may be scheming to abduct a child prior to an alleged 'family vacation' abroad while also establishing strong support for a child’s immediate return under Article 1 of the Hague Convention.

Extensive high remarks for the I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form as a groundbreaking, comprehensive, and significant global international parental child abduction prevention tool have been voiced by the leadership within legal communities familiar with international parental child abduction during  legal forums around the world including compelling commentary from senior officers of the Hague Permanent Bureau during but not limited to international legal symposiums on child abduction held during the LEPCA Conference in the Hague, the IAML Conference in New York, and the Sapporo Bar Association’s Hague Symposium in Sapporo. In addition a large and growing number of attorney Bar Associations in the United States and abroad have published positive and meaningful feedback concerning the I CARE Foundation’s travel consent form with clear intent to educate their legal constituents about the landmark child abduction prevention tool. Perhaps most meaningful is the reality that many judges around the world have praised the I CARE Foundation’s travel consent form, have utilized the document in their courtrooms, and continue to implement the form in courtrooms around the world during child custody and child travel legal proceedings.

We respectfully point out that there is a current trend for courts around the world to reconsider ‘The Best Interest of the Child’ and include ‘The Best Interest of the Family’ under Article 13 of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention. Clearly, when courts engage in this analysis they create a direct contradiction to the expeditious intent of the convention, which inherently allow for ‘Well-settled claims’ to be lodged by the taking parent.

The I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form and the adjoining legal analysis was created as a mechanism to remove a would-be abductor’s legal defense of abduction prior to the act and cause either law enforcement or courts located in the in-bound country to quickly return the abducted child to their home country of original jurisdiction.

Section II - Conclusion and Recommendation Concerning Travel Consent Form

The I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form has been an effective child abduction prevention tool. Use of the form protects against schemes of abduction to Hague countries and may be useful when abduction occurs to non-Hague countries.

We respectfully suggest that the United States Congress direct the appropriate U.S. governmental agencies to discuss the mandated use of a formal international travel child consent form based upon the design of the I CARE Foundation model. In addition, we respectfully suggest that the Department of State engage with the Hague Conference and suggest that a global Hague Travel Consent Form be developed under the auspices of the Hague Conference and that its use be made mandatory. We are convinced that the mandatory use of a globally recognized Travel Consent Form signed by the left-behind parent (and possibly a notary) will dramatically reduce the number of (American) children who are abducted and equally will assist in the expeditious return of children wrongfully detained abroad if they were abducted.

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For more information or to download a copy of the I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form please CLICK HERE

Kindest Regards, 

International Executive Director 
The I CARE Foundation