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:
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.