"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. I applaud your efforts and wish to congratulate you and your team . . . It is really impressive to see how quickly your international travel child consent form has started to yield practical results and how well you monitor its operation - this really is remarkable." - Secretary General Mr. Bernasconi of the Hague Convention On International Private Law -
Welcome to the official website of the International Child Abduction Research & Enlightenment Foundation (the I CARE Foundation). The Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation registered under the corporation laws of New York State. We are a self-funded organization dedicated to stopping worldwide international parental child abduction and trafficking. The I CARE Foundation does not accept outside contributions or donations from the public.
The I CARE Foundation is strongly committed to upholding the civil remedies available to targeted parents of international parental child abduction created under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and urge all parents who have had a child illegally abducted abroad or wrongfully detained in a foreign country to seek legal remedy under the Hague Convention. Equally, we strongly urge all parents who have had a child taken to never - under any circumstance - attempt to re-abduct a child wrongfully taken as this act may be illegal, and nearly always, places the child at grave risk.
The I CARE Foundation was created by notable child advocates possessing deep expertise and knowledge in all areas of international parental child abduction prevention and reunification. The Foundation's Special Advisory Board consist of child advocates possessing diverse, but extraordinary skill sets including significant expertise in international family law established under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, family and child psychology, with a particular emphsis on parental aleinatin and isolation, as well as post-reunification intergration, and research development and underwriting. These independent activities enable the Foundation to socially contribute in efforts and dialog created to protect children from the criminal act of international parental kidnapping and child abuse, as international parental child abduction is a serious offense against innocent, defenseless children.
In our desire to assist families in crisis from the threat or actual event of abduction, the foundation has continued to ask the questions, 'Why are children parentally abducted?' and 'What are the real threats to both child and targeted parent of abduction?"
With these two questions at the forefront of our focus, undoubtedly there is great concern for the safety of children who are parentally abducted. In fact, a recent report issued by the U.S. government warned that children of parental abduction face extreme risks of severe violence and possible murder. These horrific threats are what child abduction advocates around the world have been fighting to stop for a long time. Undeniably, there is great concern for children targeted for abduction. However, the I CARE Foundation recognizes that targeted parents of abduction often face extreme hardship and challenges.
In our efforts to assist reduce the abduction rate, the I CARE Foundation has been actively engaged in various state and federal legislative issues, along with policy modification matters all geared to protect children.
Recently, the foundation launched the I CARE Foundation's International Travel Child Consent Form as another abduction prevention resource that lawyers around the world have embraced as a new weapon to stop cross-border kidnappings. The concept for the travel consent form was created during a conference at the United Nations. A year later, and after careful preparation, a potentially powerful tool that is expected to help protect children from the act of international abduction associated with wrongful retention of a child abroad was born. In a short period, the I CARE Foundation's International Travel Child Consent Form has been utilized in courtrooms around the world as a strong abduction prevention tool. With an estimated 70% to 80% of all child victims of international parental child abduction being those wrongfully retained in another country, the travel consent form has the ability to dramatically reduce the number of children abducted under the rules of the Hague Convention.
Previously, the I CARE Foundation has shared that American parents at risk of having their child abducted by the child's other parent may be able to find assistance under the little known but highly effective Prevent Departure Program so long as the other parent does not possess a right of U.S. citizenship.
Our work continutes as abduction remains a severe pandemic that cripples the very fabric of society. As our world rightfully celebrates the reality that we are becoming a closer society, one with undercurrents that embrace the ideals of global citizenship, we are mindful that mobility may lead to increased cases of abduction.
Currently, global acts of international parental child abduction have reached pandemic levels. Cross-border parental child kidnapping is not immune to any civilized nation possessing open borders. Various studies forecast this crime against children to continue to grow at a rate of 20% per year around the world despite the outbound U.S. child abduction rate declining by over 15% during fiscal years 2011 and 2012.
Tragically, hundreds of thousands of children are believed to be targeted each year for international parental child abduction.
Sadly, the vast majority of internationally abducted children never come home. Various studies put the number of children who are returned from to the United States at approximately 10% to 12.5%, though we acknowledge the number of actual reunification may be considerably lower (reunification rates are based upon 'reported' and anticipated 'unreported' cases of abduction).
There are many reasons why the recovery rate of abducted children is so low. They include, but are not limited to a failure of many nations to participate in international child abduction recovery treaties such as the
Hague Convention On The Civil Aspects Of International Child Abduction (Notably Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Nigeria and the Philippines), while other signatory nations to the Hague Convention fail to comply with the intent and purpose of the convention (Notably, Poland, Germany, Brazil, and Mexico). Recovery difficulties by parents are not simply limited to the political landscape.
There are very serious and troubling conditions targeted parents face in their attempt to protect their stolen children. This includes that in the United States, the entire financial responsibility and burden a parent faces when attempting to find, litigate, and bring home their criminally abducted child rests solely on them. These costs are enormous, and prohibitive for many parents.
Additionally, a targeted parent of abduction must generally navigate the incredible legal mazes that exist when juxtaposing local jurisdictional laws of the outbound country (the laws of jurisdiction associated where the child lived prior to the abduction), the laws of the nation where the child is residing and was illegally taken to (the inbound nation), and finally, international laws established if both the inbound and outbound nation are signatory members of a treaty (such as the Hague Convention in the United States and Canada). Obviously there are many other great challenges a parent and child victimized by abduction may face.
According to both an assortment of government agencies and non-government agencies familiar with international child abduction, parents who criminally internationally abduct their child generally use their child as a pawn against the other parent in order to cause the targeted parent pain and suffering. Though we acknowledge that their are unique cases where a parent charged with international child abduction commits the act of abduction in order to leave an abusive situation, we believe that it is necessary that all individuals abide by the laws of the nation they live in, and seek legal assistance and relief in accordance to the laws they are governed by. Of particular note is that both men and women abductors often claim neglect, abuse, and danger to both themselves and the child they have either illegally removed from the country of jurisdiction or wrongfully detained in a foreign country. Many instances of claims of abuse occur in order for a parental child abductor to defend against the criminal act of abduction. Specifically, under Article 13 b of the Hague Convention, a legal defense by an abductor may be put forth so long as the taking parent can argue under specific conditions that it is not in the best interest of the child for the international courts to order for the child to be returned to the country of original jurisdiction.
The I CARE Foundation strongly believes that international parental child abduction is an act of child abuse. In the United States it is a crime under the federal
International Parental Kidnapping Crimes Act, along with kidnapping and abduction statutes that exist in every state. Canada has similar laws.
As our world becomes more connected, and individuals born in different countries travel abroad, marry or enter into relationships that eventually bear a child or children with an individual from a different country, the reality is that a proportion of these relationships end. When some of these relationships end, a growing number of parents born in a foreign country but living abroad with their child desire to return to their native country without the child's other parent. Aware that they may face many challenges legally relocating to another country with their child, all-to-often, these parents attempt to relocate abroad without the other parent 's consent or a court's order. When they do this, this is an act of abduction. In addition, there are times when a parent may attempt to internationally abduct a child of the relationship in order to use the child for monetary gain.
It is critical that governments everywhere pass and uphold laws and policies geared to prevent international parental child abduction. Additionally, it is critical that all countries enter into and uphold international treaties geared toward protecting children from abduction and establish and uphold measures that would ensure the swift return of an abducted child. We assert that substantial sanctions should be enforced by governments everywhere against countries that neither enter into international treaties such as the Hague Convention On The Civil Aspects Of International Child Abduction or fail to uphold the intent and purpose of the treaty.
The primary mission of the I CARE Foundation is to conduct research in the area of international parental child abduction, use our research and knowledge to educate legal professionals and society in general of the grave issues surrounding and associated with international parental child abduction, and participate in the social and political dialog geared to create new laws and policies that will protect children from abduction.
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The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. Should you have any legal questions, please consult with an attorney.