Sunday, June 8, 2014

The International Travel Child Consent Form: One Year Of Protecting Children From Parental Child Abduction

All of us at the I CARE Foundation are celebrating today.  Why?  Well,  one year ago today the I CARE Foundation's International Travel Child Consent Form was released with the intent to help bring an end to international abduction. Today, but really each and every day, we celebrate the lives of the children that have been protected. We celebrate their innocence as they were protected from the abusive and unforgiving world of international parental child abduction.
As of today, hundreds of children around the world have traveled under the protection of the travel consent form, and in 100% of the cases, that we are aware of, they have concluded with the children returning home.  The travel consent form was, in fact, created as an abduction prevention tool to protect children from international abduction due to the wrongful retention abroad – so when the cruel reality is that approximately 70% of all Hague cases around the world are based upon wrongful retention, this single document is actually protecting children and their innocence, which was the goal.
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.
While we talk about the I CARE Foundation’s travel consent form – and celebrate it’s successes over the past year – it is important to note that the most recent Department of State Hague Compliance Report to the U.S. Congress stated that there was a decline in the reported U.S. outbound international parental child abduction rate of 12.23% during 2013 in comparison to the previous year. Over the past 4 reporting years (2009-2013) the reported outbound child abduction cases of American children have declined by 38.06%.  We acknowledge the 12.23% decline in the outbound abduction rate of American children that took place in 2013. However, the truth is that this is not enough… it’s far from enough. 
It is also important to remind all parents that the summer holidays, in the work that we do, is also referred to as abduction season.  This is the time of year when the majority of international abductions occur.  Please, if you have a child traveling abroad this summer, consider utilizing the travel consent form – you can download a copy of the form HERE.  As well, parents everywhere should be aware of the risks and warning signs of international parental child abduction.  After all, education is prevention!
So, on this day, we celebrate!  And we celebrate knowing this ground-breaking document has, in fact, had such an incredible impact in the lives of so many.  But in saying that, there is much work to be done… so our work continues.
On behalf of the I CARE Foundation family,
Jen Cluff
Director of Social Media