Tuesday, March 4, 2014

International Travel Child Consent Form Presented To U.S. Senate As Abduction Prevention Tool

I would like to share part of a testimony that was provided to the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, on behalf of the I CARE Foundation, that deals specifically with the issue of international child abduction.

The I CARE Foundation holds a firm belief that increased efforts in diplomacy, along with meaningful judicial education and training programs, are the solution to the global abduction crisis. We feel that the solutions that were offered to Congress are the most viable, effective and global-reaching ideas which offer both immediate and long-term answers for families of abduction.

This particular section 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.

The Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law Dr. Christophe Bernasconi  recently made the comments concerning the I CARE Foundation travel form: 
"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."
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