International Parental Child Abduction Prevention For At-Risk Families During Travel

The issue of international parental child abduction continues to be a serious and growing problem around the world.  Each year there are thousands upon thousands of unsuspecting parents and children that become victims of this horrific crime. Don’t be mistaken… international parental child abduction is a crime as it is a severe form of abuse against not only the child, but also the left behind parent.  Those that are part of the team of the I CARE Foundation are very aware of the challenges that are present when faced with having to deal with a child that has been abducted… so prevention is always the key!  A child that is protected from international abduction is one that is able to live as they should… free from abuse and free from fear.

3e5fe-travel-consent-form-side-2When we look at abduction prevention, one of the most effective tools readily available to parents is the I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form, specifically protecting a child from wrongful retention in a foreign country which accounts for approximately 85-90% of all international child abductions. If your child is going to be traveling abroad, as a parent you should seriously consider utilizing this proven effective travel consent form to protect your child from abduction.  Being proactive is the key as the majority of parents who have become victims, have rarely seen the warning signs that may have told them the other parent was planning to kidnap their child.

Peter Thomas Senese, the Executive Director of the I CARE Foundation shares, “The travel document does not simply act as a parent consent form allowing a child to travel abroad but reinforces a child’s return to their country of origin based upon affirmation requirements that remove the majority of an abductor’s legal defenses to remain abroad in connection with Hague law.  The consent form is a tool that can be utilized by parents around the world, as well as attorneys who are trying to protect abduction. If a traveling parent refuses to sign the document, then under no circumstance should the other parent or a court permit a child to travel abroad as there is a heightened increase to an abduction threat.”

As you read this you might think to yourself… “This could never happen to me“.  Generally every parent that has become a victim would have, at some point, said the same thing. The parents that need to pay most attention to this information are those that are involved in relationships that are strained or are in the midst of a divorce or separation, as well, those that are involved in child custody disputes,  These parents should be very aware of the risks involved when it comes to your child traveling abroad – in particular if your child’s other parent has strong ties to a foreign country. Another important aspect to this – if you happen to have a custody agreement that states that your child must travel, never assume that a court order is enough to ensure that your child will return home safely because this is just not the case.  A parent that is already willing to kidnap their child, which is an extreme form of child abuse, is not going to think twice about ignoring the requirements of a court order.  The simple fact is that without the protection of a travel consent form that has immediate and clear ramifications attached to it, such as the I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form, there are no guarantees that your child will return home.

Understand that the intent here is not to be blunt, but rather share the cruel reality that faces so many families today.  Is there a chance that yours might be one of these families?  If so, don’t hide your head in the sand.  Being proactive and being aware of the warning signs of international parental child abduction, could well protect your child from a life of abuse at the hands of his/her other parent.

If you don’t fit into any of the criteria above, you should still be aware when traveling. Parental child abduction can commonly occur when both parents are traveling with their child to a foreign country. Perhaps you have planned a family vacation over, say, Christmas holidays during which, something like this could happen: The traveling family arrives in the foreign country they are visiting, and once they have landed, the would-be abducting parent files false claims of abuse and neglect against the other parent… the unsuspecting parent!  Once this is done, they notify the other parent that they and the child will not be returning back to the country of original jurisdiction.  From here, the targeted parent is generally forced to return back home without their child where they then need to seek legal assistance.

This is an example of what the cruel and unforgivable world of international child abduction can be like.  But once again, it is important to note, that as a parent there are things that can be done to help protect your child and to help protect yourself.

The I CARE Foundation focuses a great deal of their efforts on abduction prevention and has been involved in an growing number of cases in both prevention and reunification. The work of those involved with the Foundation speaks for itself.  At the forefront of this work is Peter Thomas Senese, who shows time and again that protecting children from parental abduction is a commitment that he stands unbowed to so that children and their families may never know the nightmare that is the world of international abduction. There are numerous sworn testimonial letters from individuals regarding the advocacy and volunteer work that Peter does each and every day.  As well, Peter has provided testimony to the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in regards to the issues that revolve around international parental child abduction.

And on a final note, it’s important to mention again about the 12.23% decline in the reported U.S. outbound abduction rate during the year 2013.  This past year’s decline brings the overall reduction in the outbound rate of international parental child abduction to over 38% since the I CARE Foundation began their advocacy efforts and working to bring an end to international abduction and trafficking.  As the I CARE Foundation continues it’s extensive work in advocating and protecting children we hope to see this trend continue in the year to come.  However, the truth is, there is still a great of work to do… so our efforts continue while we work to protect the innocence of children around the world.

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To DOWNLOAD a copy of the International Travel Child Consent Form, please visit the I CARE Foundation’s official website.

Japan Ratifies 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention

(January 24th, 2014)

rat28jp1 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention; a few hours later, the Japanese Ambassador to the Netherlands, Mr. Masaru Tsuji, deposited the instrument of ratification, making Japan the 91st Contracting State to this important treaty. This significant development reaffirms that diplomatic efforts among the international community, together with the invaluable assistance provided by the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, are working; it also reaffirms that the Hague Child Abduction Convention is the proper mechanism for all governments and families around the world to utilize in order to settle international child abduction disputes.

Unknown-1Japan’s ratification of the Convention comes after long-standing multi-lateral diplomatic efforts combined with global public outcry over Japan’s previous failure to participate in the international child abduction treaty and to offer victimized children and targeted parents of abduction a vehicle to turn to in order to resolve international parental child abduction disputes.

The 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention will enter into force for Japan on April 1st, 2014. Under Japan’s participation, foreign parents who have previously had a child internationally abducted to Japan are not eligible to file a Hague Application or utilize the treaty. Retroactivity remains a concern for hundreds of left-behind parents still seeking to reunite with their kidnapped children.

The 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention seeks to combat parental child abduction by providing a system of co-operation between Contracting States and a rapid procedure for the return of the child to the country of the child’s habitual residence. Judges overseeing litigation revolving around the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention are not to determine issues of custody as that issue typically falls under the jurisdiction of the courts located in the child’s country of habitual residency.

Japan’s ratification of the convention demonstrates that international diplomacy and education continues to work, while also creating a stronger atmosphere for other countries that are not participants to the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention, such as India, to strongly consider ratification.

rat28jpIn the past, Japan has been considered a ‘black hole’ for international parental child abductors as the overwhelming number of children abducted to Japan by a Japanese national living abroad have not been returned to the child’s country of original jurisdiction.

The vast majority of left-behind parents are fathers residing in Europe and North America. Tragically, the targeted parent often has little or no rights of access or custody to their child once the child lands in Japan due to the country’s antiquated and prejudicial family law policies that tend to grant a child’s mother sole custody of the child while simultaneously removing the child’s father’s access to the child. Japan’s legal system does not recognize the concept of joint-custody.

In May 2013, the Diet had approved Japan’s compliance to the treaty, sending out a clear indicator that the country was steadily moving toward participation. Until today, Japan was the only country in the Group of Eight (G8) that has not affirmed the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention.

The following month (June) Japan’s Parliament enacted a law stipulating domestic implementation procedures for the Hague child abduction treaty.

Japan’s Parliament established procedures requiring the country to create a Central Authority under the auspices of the Foreign Ministry. The Central Authority’s responsibilities include the tasks of locating children who have been abducted and encourage families involved in international parental child abduction claims to settle disputes through consultations.

If the consultations fail, family courts in Tokyo and Osaka specifically trained in 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention matters will decide on matters. The Central Authority will be staffed with legal experts in international private law as well child psychologist and domestic violence counselors. A third Hague Court location could later be added.

Under the terms of Japan’s Parliamentary action in June, 2013 the new law provides grounds forrefusal to return a child if abuse or domestic violence is feared, issues that are expected to draw keen interest in light of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention’s Article 13, a provision that is almost always utilized by parental child abductors regardless of the gender of the abductor.

Child abduction prevention advocates from around the world hope that Japan’s ratification of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention will further push non-Hague countries including India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Philippines, and China (mainland) who are all believed to be actively assessing the Convention with a view to becoming a party to.

Today Japan has taken its place at the table of nations and finally a stand against the atrocity of international parental child abduction and severe abuse against targeted children and their families.  As Japan works to uphold the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention we must first and foremost not forget the children who have been abducted to Japan and their left-behind families, many whom successfully advocated for Japan’s ratification of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention.

We invite you to read the official comments shared by The Hague Permanent Bureau concerning diplomacy and Japan’s ratification. Please click here.


To visit the I CARE Foundation official website, please click here. 

The I CARE Foundation: Zero Tolerance For International Parental Child Abduction


1c402-icarelogoThe  I CARE Foundation takes a very strong stand when it comes to international parental child abduction… and that is one of zero tolerance for anyone planning or attempting such schemes! Under no circumstance should a parent feel that they have the right to abduct a child, nor should a parent ever think that removing a child from the other parent in this manner is in the child’s best interest.  It is not! There are both short and long-term ramifications on the child, and these are well-documented.  The underlying reality is that once abduction occurs, regardless if the kidnapping is done by a known person or stranger, the child’s safety is placed in grave risk.

When issues arise regarding mobilization (when a parent wants to relocate to another country with the child but without the child’s other parent), these issues should be rectified in accordance with the law. Not by creating an evil scheme filled with false innuendos and accusations against the other parent so to create a misleading impression that abduction is critical for the child’s safety and well-being. It is not. Seeking legal assistance via criminal and civil remedies if abusive conditions exist is the option that must be sought.

A would-be abducting parent puts their child in harm’s way, and this is not acceptable! The I CARE Foundation takes the position that international parental child abduction is a severe form of child abuse with consequences that will be extreme and will impact all phases of the child’s life.  With that being said, we also acknowledge the severe negative impact that abduction has on the victimized targeted parents. Both parties, the child and the targeted parent, are victims when we are dealing with parental child abduction.

In nearly all cases of parental abduction, children are used as pawns by the abducting parent in order to carry out their extensive premeditated plan which includes, but is not limited to causing severe suffering to the child’s other parent. One of the greatest challenges that children and their targeted parent face is the lack of accountability through the courts.  If a court neglects to hold abductors or would-be abductors accountable, this not only means that the targeted parents may remain at the mercy of a vengeance-seeking abducting parent that has already caused considerable harm, but it also sends a very dangerous global message that parental child abductors have limited risks when it comes to legal accountability, both in respect to the courts, but also law enforcement.  This needs to change!

The I CARE Foundation believes strongly that the Hague Child Abduction Convention is the right mechanism that all nations should participate in and adhere to.

As we look forward and create changes to help protect the hundreds of thousands of children each year who are targeted for international abduction, we see the critical need to create an International Judiciary College.

The fact is that the vast majority of judges who oversee international child abduction cases have not been trained in the very complex legal, psychological, political, financial and logistical matters that impact all cases of international abduction.  We face a reality that has untrained judges and courts contributing to many failures, including properly and expeditiously overseeing legal proceedings that seek the return of abducted children to their country of habitual residency.  An International Judiciary College, ideally under the guidance of the Permanent Bureauwould have a dramatic impact on reducing the global abduction rate, but also increasing diplomatic relationships among countries. As well, it is highly conceivable that the issues that exist today regarding the lack of judicial compliance would be greatly reduced as more judges become trained on Hague matters.

The reality is that today many targeted parents who have experienced abduction and who have been abused by the abducting parent remain targets of their child’s kidnapper.  Courts are hesitant to hold parental child abductors accountable for their act. Part of the problem lies heavily in an untrained judiciary – judges who are not trained in the deep understanding of parental abduction matters.  Tragically, the result of untrained judiciary and actors involved in abduction matters is that the targeted parent will believe that the courts will not hold the abductor accountable and equally alarming – by failing to hold the abductor accountable – the courts in essence empower the abductor who has returned with the child after the kidnapping – to attempt to abduct again or to continue making allegations against the targeted parent.

Tragically, when a targeted parent of abduction receives little or no support or protection from the court while they are working to protect their child from abuse (including but not limited to abduction), then that parent can become disenchanted with the legal system they once believed would protect them and their child. They lose hope.

Sometimes claims of abuse are real, and we acknowledge this reality.  In such cases we urge all parents to seek all intervention and assistance available to them under the rules of law.  Conversely, we have also seen in a great number of international child abduction cases when both men and women make false claims against one another.  This is a reality.

As always we encourage all parents to be familiar with the RISKS AND WARNING SIGNS of international parental child abduction.  Being aware of these warning signs is critical in preventing an international abduction from occurring.  Never think that you or your child(ren) could not become a victim of this inhumane crime.  Be proactive and protect yourself… and your child(ren).

If you happen to be a parent that has a child that is traveling abroad, either by choice or by court order, please consider using the I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form.

For more information on international parental child abduction, please visit the I CARE Foundation’s official website.

Kindest regards,

Peter Thomas Senese
Executive Director
I CARE Foundation

International Abduction: The Love Of A Chasing Parent

aa3c9-icarelogoTry to imagine a world that makes little sense.  A world where trust is replaced with mistrust, where belief is replaced with skepticism and where love is replaced with hurt.  This is the world of International Parental Child Abduction.  It’s a dark world that is filled with a great deal of pain and suffering.

But make no mistake: the love of a parent who is willing to chase the cyclone of abduction is stronger than the strongest tsunami. And not only have I felt this love myself during the time I was Chasing The Cyclone, but I have witnessed first-hand other parents do everything they can in the best interest of their child.

Now for those of you who do not know how parental child abductors typically attempt to have an international court sanction their illicit act of kidnapping, the way this is done under the rules of the Hague Convention is to slander, defame, and outright attempt to vilify their target before the courts. Claims of child abuse, molestation, incredible drug and alchohol use, etc., are commonplace, occurring in near every abduction defense. Of note, these claims are made by both men and women abductors equally against their targets.

There is no question that abduction litigation is complicated. In part this is due to various laws and cultural norms in countries associated to the litigation.

During the years I have worked to assist other parents, I have met few parents who have withstood the incredible challenges in attempting to reunite with their child than my friend Steven.  I am proud to stand with him as he works diligently to reunite with his daughter while hopefully reforming laws and policies that have failed him and his child.

One day, Steven will be reunited with his child. And until that day happens, he will have my unwavering support. Why?  Because my friend Steven is a very good, caring, honest, and loving man.

I would like to share this letter from Steven as it serves as a reminder of the many thousands of targeted parents around the world – near equally men and women – who are forced to defend against a child kidnappers claims under Article 12 or Article 13 of the Hague Convention.

Letters like Steven’s are very important for they educate each of us of the importance of stopping abduction.

As for the targeted parent who was able to protect their child, I must say that he unquestionably is one of the kindest, gentlest, and loving parents I know.

To read a large number of select testimonial letters from parents who I and the I CARE Foundation have assisted, Please Click Here. 

Critically, parents need to know the Warning Signs Of International Parental Child Abduction.

Of great interest is the fact that the I CARE Foundation’s groundbreakingInternational Travel Child Consent Form is being hailed as one of the most important child abduction prevention tools ever created.

On a personal note, it is my honor to be able to have helped as many parents and children as I and my colleagues at the I CARE Foundation have.

The shared select testimonials were provided in order to educate others of the severity parents around the world face when dealing with the abduction of their child.

One last thing: Steven – you know where I stand.

Kind regards to all,

Peter Thomas Senese

I CARE Foundation’s Travel Consent Form Continues To Protect Children From International Abduction

The I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form continues to be a tool utilized by parents, lawyers and judges on a worldwide scale and it is making an incredible impact on the fight to help protect children from being internationally parentally abducted.

As many of you are aware, the summer months are a time where international abductions are at the highest levels and, in my role as the Executive Director of the I CARE Foundation, I am pleased to say that every child that was expected to be returned home around the world, that used the Travel Consent Form, has indeed done just that… come home!

I invite you to read a piece that the Colorado Bar Association wrote about the I CARE Foundation and our groundbreaking International Travel Child Consent Form.

CBA_Logo_PressReleasesTo read more about the I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form and to download a copy of the form, please visit The I CARE Foundation’s website. 

Kindest regards to all,

Peter Thomas Senese
Executive Director
The I CARE Foundation

Peter Senese And The I CARE Foundation Create Hague Convention International Travel Child Consent Form

Peter Senese & The I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form:  A Groundbreaking Child Abduction Prevention Tool That Is Expected To Reduce The Number Of Parental Child Kidnappings Around The World.

The I CARE Foundation’s groundbreaking International Travel Child Consent Form is being embraced by the legal community around the world.  Highly respected international family lawyers that are already utilizing this abduction prevention tool are calling the Travel Consent Form a leading-edge resource that is expected to reduce the number of worldwide international parental child kidnappings.

The International Travel Child Consent Form was conceptually created during an I CARE Foundation conference held at the United Nations on abduction. It was constructed to create a conclusive and categorically undeniable evidentiary agreement between two parents that affirms a child’s country of original jurisdiction prior to travel abroad is permitted while emphatically removing many common abduction defenses established under the Hague Convention child-kidnappers often use to mislead the courts during litigation.

Peter Senese of the I CARE Foundation stated, “The now released International Travel Child Consent Form is steep in Hague-oriented case law with focus on Articles 1, 12, 13 and 20 of the convention. It was created to affirm and uphold original jurisdiction of a child, affirm the child’s country of permanent residency, and remove any misleading legal defenses an abductor may attempt to utilize under Articles 12, 13, and 20 of the Hague Convention. One of the most important aspects of the new resource is that it also establishes strong support for a child’s immediate return under Article 1 of the Hague Convention. We may not have created a new international law; however, we have created a universal tool that will stop many international abductions.”

Esteemed Washington D.C. uber international family law attorney Armin U. Kuder, partner at the highly respected firm Kuder, Smollar & Friedman, has been named in every article identifying leading family lawyers in the prestigious ‘Washingtonian Magazine’ while also has been named in ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ since the publication’s inception, provided insight on the pragmatic usefulness of the ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’ when he said, “If there is no prior attempt at international abduction of a child, it is extremely difficult to convince a court that it is going to happen. The I Care Foundation International Travel Child Consent Form is a powerful tool for exposing a would-be abductor’s intent. If a parent will not sign the form, we have compelling evidence to present to a court in support of limitations on travel, use of passports, and conditions for access to the child.”

Carolina Marín Pedreño is a partner at the prestigious London-based law firm of Dawson Cornwell, Carolina Marín Pedreño is the Founding Member of FASIM, an international association of attorneys based in Barcelona created to prevent and assist with international child abduction cases. Additionally, Carolina is the Secretary of the British and Spanish Law Association, a member of the Spanish Association of Family Lawyers, AEAFA, Resolution, Reunite: International Child Abduction Centre, the Society of British and Argentine Lawyers, and the Association of Lawyers for Children. She added, “As a practitioner I am very optimistic about the effect the consent form will have in reducing kidnapping. I have just offered to use it in a case in London to offer reassurance to the other parent and minimize any concerns they have about agreeing to a holiday abroad due to a perceived risk of kidnapping. The international judiciary should embrace it as a preventive tool.”

The ‘Christopher Morris International Travel Consent Form’ is named in honor of New York police officer Christopher Morris’ and his legal fight to reunite with his daughter. Despite being a 911 hero, a former member of the FDNY, and a highly decorated police officer, Mr. Morris’ three year struggle to reunite with is daughter demonstrates nobody is immune to abduction. Mr. Morris was present at the conference on abduction held at the United Nations. He commented, “There are thousands of tragedies of abduction occurring each year because parents wrongfully detains a child abroad and then attempt to have a court sanction their disobedient act by further dishonest acts of trying to convince the court there was consent to relocate or it is in the best interest of the child to remain abroad due to abuse. If the I CARE Foundation’s travel consent form was available and had been signed before my daughter traveled to Germany, she would be in New York today. Peter Thomas Senese and the I CARE Foundation continue important and meaningful work to help children around the world. Every parent should utilize this form when a child is traveling abroad.”

Mexico’s Carlos Alvarado is a partner at the International Law Group and considered one of the most knowledgeable international family law attorneys in Mexico. Mr. Alvarado was responsible for codifying and translating the I CARE Foundation’s travel consent form into Spanish. Mr. Alvarado added, “The International Law Group has confidence this new International Travel Child Consent Form will be an excellent tool to prevent international child abductions by inhibiting parents or legal guardians abduct. I am confident governments and its agencies, including courts, will be willing to “enforce” the use of this form for all minors traveling abroad. There are no reasons for a parent or guardian not to sign it if there are no intentions to abduct. I have sent the form to a large number of colleagues in Mexico, including current Judges. Their unanimous opinions were the same: This may not stop international abduction but we all should spread and “enforce” the use of this form to prevent it, and, in case of litigation, have another element to build a stronger case. Litigation of abduction cases are difficult and extremely expensive. This new doctrine should drastically reduce the challenges of reunification in many cases.”

Silvia A. Sejas Pardo, a highly respected Argentinean and Spanish international lawyer based in Spain and who is a Founding Member of FASIM, an international association of attorneys dedicated to preventing child abduction commented, “The consent form is simple and clear which makes it an easy instrument to implement globally. The I CARE is providing with the consent form a unique, applicable tool to prevent child abduction. The international community should welcome it. Hopefully it would become a common piece of paper to travel with.”

To download a copy of the ‘International Travel Child Consent Form’ in English or Spanish please visit the I CARE Foundation’s official website

Summer Vacation Schemes and Fraud Behind International Child Abduction

During the summer school vacation, fraud, scams, and conspiracies to kidnap a child are at their highest levels.  This is the time of year when parents of children look at returning back to their country of origin after either deciding to separate from their spouse or during divorce.Yes, child custody disputes can get ugly. But there is something much more at hand – something very dark – when international parental child abduction occurs.  You see, a tremendous number of well-respected reports issued by government and non-government agencies alike have all said the same thing: children who are victims of parental kidnapping are used by their taking parent and used as a tool to cause harm to the other parent.


International parental child abduction is not just the act of snatching a child from the country they live in and illegally removing them to another country without the other parent’s consent or a court order.

Abduction often takes place when one parent decides to detain a child in a foreign country without the other parent’s consent or a court order. This often occurs during high conflict child custody disputes.


The reality is that wrongful detention of a child under the rules of the Hague Convention appears to be the most common form of abduction. Parents need to know and understand the risk factors associated with allowing a child to travel abroad and act proactively to protect them.

Often there is extensive deceit and fraud involved at the hands of an abducting parent.  This includes never giving any indication to the other parent that their alleged ‘family vacation’ is in fact an abduction scheme.

Unfortunately, there are many abduction defenses that are implemented as part of an abductor’s strategy to have a court sanction their act of kidnapping.

There is no question abduction is complicated.  Especially for someone who first experiences the betrayal and fraud associated with abduction.


Recently, the I CARE Foundation launched a very unique abduction prevention tool: one that has never before been created.  It is a universal international travel child consent agreement that was created to remove possible legal defenses associated with an abductor’s scheme to wrongfully detain a child abroad.


Please visit the I CARE Foundation to receive a copy of the international travel child consent agreement or to learn more about the criminal act and schemes of parental child abduction.

Kind regards to all,

Peter Thomas Senese

International Travel Child Consent Form: Help Stop Parental Child Abduction

I CARE Foundation (International Child Abduction Research & Enlightenment)

I am very pleased to share that on behalf of the I CARE Foundation we have released the ‘International Child Travel Consent Form’ created to help stop international parental child abduction’s associated with the wrongful detention of a child traveling abroad.

This agreement has been created for parents with children that will be travelling abroad.  

The release is timely as it allows parents the ability to sign in time for summer vacations as summer is the prominent time for international parental child abductions to occur.

As school ends for the summer vacation, the vast majority of international parental child abduction threats and kidnappings take place. Often, these abductions occur when one parent is able to legally remove a child from their country of origin, and travel abroad – as an example, under the idea of a family vacation to visit relatives.  However, and unknown to the child’s other parent, who may or may not be traveling with the scheming parent, there is a deceitful and fraudulent plan to never return back home.

Today the I CARE Foundation released the “International Child Travel Consent Form” that was created to stop international parental child abduction when a parent traveling abroad with their child may consider not returning the child to their country of jurisdiction.


I have said this many times previously, the key to protecting children at risk of abduction is to prevent their kidnapping. Today the I CARE Foundation is pleased to release our ’The International Child Travel Consent Form’ based upon substantial ‘Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction’ case law.

The travel document is designed to remove an abductor’s defense under acts of wrongful detention and focuses on key issues related to the Hague Convention’s Articles 12, Article 13, and Article 20.

The dedicated work of the I CARE Foundation’s legal advisory board, which includes members of the United States Department of State’s Hague Convention Attorney Network, to create this formidable legal abduction prevention tool bespeaks of the ongoing dedication to stop the criminal and highly abusive act of kidnapping.

The travel document does not simply act as a parent consent form allowing a child to travel abroad but reinforces a child’s return to their country of origin based upon affirmation requirements that remove the majority of an abductor’s legal defenses to remain abroad in connection with Hague law.

The I CARE Foundation’s international travel parental child consent form is a new tool that can be utilized by parents around the world, as well as attorneys who are trying to protect abduction. If a traveling parent refuses to sign the document, then under no circumstance should the other parent or a court permit a child to travel abroad as there is a heightened increase to an abduction threat.”

The I CARE Foundation’s ‘International Child Travel Consent Form’ addresses many of the possible legal defenses an abductor may use in court under Article 12, Article 13, or Article 20 of the Hague Convention.

The ‘International Child Travel Consent Form’ will be available in Spanish, French, German, and Italian in the coming days.

For more information about the ‘International Child Travel Consent Form’ and international parental child abduction please visit The I CARE Foundation official website.

For attorneys interested in obtaining a full legal brief and framework of the travel consent form, please contact


Kindest regards to all,

Peter Senese

I CARE Foundation Director

Parental Child Abduction and the Serious Risk of Violence or Murder

Parentally Abducted Children Are At Serious Risk Of Violence or Murder 
At The Hands of A Parent Abductor

“Unfortunately, the threat of violence—and death—in these cases is all too real,” said Ashli-Jade Douglas, an FBI analyst in our Violent Crimes Against Children Intelligence Unit who specializes in child abduction matters.  “Most non-custodial parental abductors want retaliation. They feel that if they can’t have the child full time—or any amount of time—then the other parent shouldn’t have the child, either.”

The following statement shared on the Department of Justice’s official website should cause great concern for society as we try to protect our children from brutal crimes connected with abduction – and that includes murder.  The I CARE Foundation has been sharing this for some time: children of international parental child abduction are at risk of murder. The truth is – children are put in grave risk at the hands of their abducting parent.  Parental child abductors are willing to break the laws as well as the orders of a court – as well, they have no concern with perjury or contempt.  Parental child abductors kidnap children in order to cause the targeted parent hurt and suffering.  Simply put, the aggressive act of kidnapping – using a child to cause harm – is the reality of parental child abduction.

It is imperative that every social services program, every child welfare organization and every family protective service agency charged with investigating any claims of child abuse carefully analyze any allegations of abuse. Critically, these organizations must carefully scrutinize any claims made by a parent who was previously charged with child abduction, especially if a court determined that parent had committed a criminal act of child kidnapping, or in Hague cases during international parental child abduction that uses a civil procedure for the return of a child despite the federal act of kidnapping being committed, it is imperative that all social service personnel charged with investigating any claims of abuse or neglect made by a child abductor against their previous targeted parent be cautiously examined.  Critically, all social service agencies acting on a complaint against a child made by a parent child abductor must commence their investigation with the hard reality that the child was a victim of kidnapping along with other forms of serious abuse, and carefully review the sociopath tendencies of abductors.As published on the United States Department of State’s website, “When non-custodial parents resort to kidnapping, they believe they are acting in the best interests of their children. Although a minority of parental kidnappers may actually save their children by taking them out of the reach of the other parent, the motives of most parents who steal their children are not at all altruistic. Parents find a myriad of reasons or self-justification for stealing a child from another parent Some abductors will find fault with the other parent for nonsensical transgressions; others will steal a child for revenge.”

The State Department’s report includes, “[A] profile [of] the parent who shows signs of flagrant paranoid beliefs or psychotic delusions. In this situation, the intervention must focus on the child and his or her safety and well-being . . . Unfortunately, the other parent and the child must be informed about a safety plan at all times.”  Continuing, the Department of State’s report specifically states, “[The] profile [of an international parental child abductor] is the sociopathic personality.”

Again, nobody wants to think about a parent killing their child.

However, we must take into heavy consideration the statement by the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)  concerning the sociopathic behavior of abductors. Grave concern was expressed, “As with paranoid and delusional parents, sociopathic parents are unable to perceive their children as having separate needs or rights. Consequently, they often use their children blatantly as instruments of revenge or punishment or as trophies in their fight with the ex-partner. Hence, the sociopathic parent believes that domestic violence and child abduction can be perpetrated with impunity. Like paranoia, a diagnosis of severe sociopathy is rare (4 percent of the studies’ samples).

Filicide is not a term that I like to talk about, but the reality is, we need to talk about it more.  For those that are not aware, the term filicide refers to the deliberate act of a parent killing his or her own child.  In the United States, hundreds of children are murdered by their parents each and every year. Proportionately, filicide occurs everywhere. It is not a phenomenon isolated within American borders: parents do kill children. And we can’t put our head in the sand and think this does not exist.

According to a recent statement released by the FBI, there is a trend that I find incredibly disturbing coming from non-custodial parents – and that is the rate in which they are abducting and threatening to harm their own children… all with the intent of retaliation against the parent who has been given legal custody.

Now, with a large number of American children being born to unwed parents, along with the high rate of marriages ending in divorce, the reality is that there is an increasing number of cases where a single parent is going to have custody of the child. The FBI’s statistics show that between the years 2010 and 2012 there was an increase of 41% in child abduction cases that involved custody matters.  So if we add that to the increased number of those parents seeking retaliation through harming their own child – do we need to be concerned?  You bet we do!

In the FBI statement there were some recent cases of filicide that occurred at the hands of non-custodial parents:

  • In 2009, a non-custodial mother abducted her 8-month-old son from his custodial father in Texas. She told the father she killed the boy to prevent the father from employing his custodial rights and in retaliation for his alleged involvement with other women.
  • In 2011, a 2-year-old girl was abducted by her non-custodial father in California. A week later, both were found dead. The father committed suicide after shooting his daughter.
  • In 2012, a non-custodial father in Utah abducted and killed his 7- and 5-year-old sons and then committed suicide. He was angry over not being afforded sole custody of the children.

Ashli-Jade Douglas offers up this advice to help keep children safe:  “Custodial parents should inform schools, after-care facilities, babysitters, and others who may at times be responsible for their children about what custody agreements are in place so that kids are not mistakenly released to non-custodial parents.”

The common misconception that parental abductions are considered a family matter has to end.

Parental child abduction is a serious crime. The act of abduction leads to ongoing forms of abuse toward a child.

When a child is abducted they should immediately be considered to be in great danger!

Law enforcement agencies need to act quickly to ensure that these innocent children are not going to be harmed.  The sociopathic behaviors that a kidnapping parent exhibits has them believing in their own mind what they are doing is in the best interest of the child.  When we think again about the fact that many of these cases revolve around revenge or retaliation, you can see it’s not out of the question to have the ultimate revenge be at the expense of the innocent child… with the act of filicide.2abc2-icarelogo

This is all very disconcerting, but one thing is for certain:  raising awareness and stewarding the message about the warning signs of international parental child abduction is the key.  This awareness has played a role in reducing the number of reported outbound child kidnapping cases originating in the United States by 15% during the last two consecutive years after nearly 30 years of continued growth.

If I may ask you to please share the warning signs of international abduction – you may very well be getting this information out to a family that needs it… ultimately possibly saving the life of an innocent child.  It is that desire, that is so ingrained in me, that I continue my fight each and every day!

Together we can, and are, making a difference.

– The I CARE Foundation –

The Extreme Difficulties Recovering A Child That Has Been Parentally Abducted

Recovering an internationally abducted child is very difficult regardless if the abducted child is taken to a Hague signatory country or a non-member of the Convention.

There are abundant reasons why it is very difficult to have an illegally stolen child returned despite the United States being a signatory of The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. They include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Lack of action in reporting a child’s abduction by a targeted parent left behind; and,
  2. Many nations do not comply with or uphold the spirit of the convention (ex, Brazil, Mexico, Germany); and,
  3. Many countries have not signed the convention (ex. Japan, China, Russia, and many countries located in the Middle East); and,
  4. Chasing Parents may not have an idea what country their child was taken to; and,
  5. Chasing Parents are responsible to carry the enormous financial burden associated with their child’s recovery. Many simply do not have the substantial resources needed; and,
  6. Many Chasing Parents do not have the knowledge necessary to navigate the difficult and complex legal system of international law, nor do they often know who to turn to and what to do; and,
  7. Nationalistic prejudices of court systems located in the ‘inbound’ country, whereas, a court may try to protect the abducting parent if that parent is a citizen of the country where they abducted the child to; and,
  8. Cultural differences; and,2abc2-icarelogo
  9. A Chasing Parent’s fear to attempt to recover their child due to threats from the abducting parent or individuals associated with the abducting parent; and,
  10. Lack of cooperation from law enforcement; and,
  11. Limited power of the Office of Children’s Issues to intervene on behalf of a U.S. citizen.

For more information on abduction please visit the I CARE Foundation.

FACSA Foundation: The Shattering The Silence Tour


Issued by: 

Connie Lee – FACSA Foundation Founding Director

(Tele. 318.540.4464)



The Shattering The Silence Tour and Documentary Project, at, is changing the social stigma of child sexual assault, public policies, conducting current research of community needs and assessment, educating communities on prevention and education of child sexual assault, by hosting free conferences with local advocates; filming a documentary on survivors stories across the nation,the latest healing modalities, and the most effective counseling techniques, with the hundred and fifteen cities Shattering The Silence Tour and Documentary Project, at
According to the U.S. Department of Justice 1-3 girls, and 16 boys, will be sexually assaulted before their eighteenth birthday. Statistics are from the 10% of reported accounts, for 90% do not tell. They are silenced by the perpetrator with threats to their lives or the lives of their loved ones; who is usually a dad, mom, uncle, trusted neighbor, friend, or community leader. The children remain silent due to fear of retribution from the perpetrator, or losing their only circle of support and love they have ever known, their family. This becomes their way of life until someone steps in and protects them. According to ChildHelp USA, 5 children die a day due to abuse and neglect.
Today is the day we no longer turn away in indifference. Today is the day we tell our children, we have heard their silent cries in the night and we share their pain. People believe it is easy to turn away because you don’t see it. I say, “This is not true, for you see it every day from the angry and volatile society; which shoots up schools, murders and rapes children; where crimes of petty theft receive more sentencing than the rape of a child; where children are sold into indentured servitude, child porn, or into prostitution. What kind of society have we become, where we stand by and allow such atrocities take place, and not raise our voices to change this?
Where is the OUTRAGE?  
Enough Is Enough, We Will Not Be Silent Any Longer!”
Join the FACSA Foundation Revolution at, or any local child advocacy groups!! I pass the baton to you, for you to advocate for our children. The children are counting on you!
Listen To Connie Lee Speak About the
Learn More About The
FACSA Foundation and Connie Lee’s Incredible Work

Colorado Child Becomes A Victim Of Parental Child Abduction To Canada Despite Amber Alert

A Longmont, Colorado mother who was assaulted this past Saturday by her separated husband after he broke into her home, where he is alleged to have pepper-sprayed her before using a stun gun on her before he kidnapped their three-year old child to Canada despite an Amber Alert being issued for the abducted child is hopeful that she will be reunited with her son over the coming days.  The child’s father was arrested in Manitoba, Canada on Sunday, and thankfully, the child has been reported to be doing okay.

Brandy Turner Holding Her Son Luke Prior To Abduction

Brandy Turner Holding Her Son Luke Prior To Abduction

The abduction of Luke Turner and his abducting father, Monty Ray Turner’s ability to remove the child out of the United States and enter Canada despite an Amber Alert presents a dire concern international parental child abduction prevention advocates have been voicing for some time: the ease of which children are able to be illegally removed from both the United States’ as well as Canada’s borders due to existing border control policies and abduction prevention laws.

As the school summer vacation months approach, it is anticipated that the majority of criminal international parental child abductions will take place. How to prevent these kidnappings is at the core of concern for tens of thousands of abduction prevention stakeholders, including targeted parents of abduction, law enforcement, courts of local jurisdiction, and respective government agencies around the world charged with protecting children.

According to the Longmont Daily Times-Call, the defenseless child’s mother, Brandy Turner told police she stepped outside her home to smoke a cigarette and saw her husband in the backyard as Luke was having breakfast, Mrs. Turner, who had a restraining order issued against her husband, said she went inside, closed and locked the door, and tried to call 911, but Monty Turner forced his way inside and threw the phone to the floor. During a scuffle, Mr. Turner used pepper spray, shooting it into her face before she felt an electric shock, which she believes to be from a stun gun, she told the newspaper.

After snatching the child, Mr. Turner drove 1,500 kilometers east, leaving Colorado and entering Canada at some point while driving across the northern plains shared between the United States and Canada.

The brutality of the assault and abduction is indicative of sociopathic behavior exhibited by many parental child abductors.

Brandy Turner told The Associated Press on Monday that she had spoken with Luke on the phone and he knows he’s coming home. She said she couldn’t travel to Canada to get him because she has no passport. The child is presently under the supervision of Canada’s Child and Family Services.

Failure Of The Amber Alert

The Canadian Border Services Agency is presently investigating how the child was able to enter Canada despite an Amber Alert issuance.


How Monty Ray Turner Entered Canada Despite An Amber Alert Is Unknown At This Time

Immediate concerns on how Mr. Turner was able to leave the United States and enter Canada include that somehow someone at the Canadian border dropped the ball, and did not carefully check for any Amber Alerts on the child and father. In addition, there is a possibility that Mr. Turner bypassed a border crossing all together and entered Canada by taking back roads that connect the two countries.

Immediate questions as to why Mr. Turner fled to Canada are troubling.

In the world of international parental child abduction, an abductor may initially enter into an adjacent country that shares a border with the child’s country of habitual residency due to ease of departure, only to use the first landing country as a launching point to disappear with the child to another country and into a sea of seven billion faces. It is presently unknown if Mr. Turner was intending to leave Canada for another country. Nevertheless, one thing appears clear: the abductor seemingly knew where he was going, which means he may have previously canvassed an exit route out of the United States traveling along the remote northern plains that have limited border security.

In a previously well-publicized international parental child abduction case that remains active, Mr. Stephen Watkins of Canada had his two young sons illegally removed from Canada to the United States by his former wife Edyta ( Ustaszewski / Ustaszewska ) with the assistance of the abductor’s father, Tadeusz Ustaszewski. Once in the United States,  Edyta Watkins disappeared, and was able to enter Poland. Despite Poland being a signatory of the Hague Convention of the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and arrest warrants for kidnapping issued against her, Edyta Watkins has remained at-large, and Mr. Watkins children have not been returned home.  Mr. Watkins children traveled into the United States without valid passports.

Targeted parents around the world who have their children abducted often do not reunite with their children.  Rarely, are abducting parents prosecuted, as courts often fail to hold accountable an abductor for their act of kidnapping, often wrongfully citing ‘best interest of the child’.

However, recently, parental child abductors are starting to be held accountable, which may be one of the reasons why the reported cases of outbound international parental child abduction originating from the United States has declined by 15% over the each of the last two fiscal years (2011 and 2012) after nearly 30 years of continued growth. It should be noted with great exception that Canada has failed to publicly report the number of Canadian children abducted from Canada since 2008.

Monty Ray Turner and Luke Turner

Monty Ray Turner and Luke Turner

Monty Ray Turner was arrested Sunday afternoon without incident at the Casablanca Motor Inn in Brandon after law enforcement authorities were able to quickly locate him after he used a credit card to check into the hotel. If he did not use the credit card, it would have been more difficult to locate him and the child.

The boy’s grandfather, Ronald Turner, 72, was pulled over in Missouri on Sunday on a warrant for second-degree kidnapping. He was driving a vehicle with a licence plate number listed on an Amber Alert that had been issued after Luke was taken.

A Looming Cloud

As prosecutors in the state of Colorado are working to take custody of Monty Ray Turner, 51, who was being held on numerous charges, including kidnapping, a looming cloud covers Canada, the United States, Mexico, and island-nations located in the Caribbean due to existing international travel document requirements for minors under 16 years old need to cross a border that were established under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Specifically, a child traveling by land or by sea across adjacent borders who is under 16 years of age does not need to present a passport at the time of deparute. Instead, all that is required is a photocopy of the child’s naturalization papers, such as a photo copy of a birth certificate.

Peter Thomas Senese's Critically Acclaimed Novel On International  Parental Child Abduction:  CHASING THE CYCLONE

Peter Thomas Senese’s Critically Acclaimed Novel On International Parental Child Abduction: CHASING THE CYCLONE

The presentation of fraudulent documents at border points has long existed and is well illustrated in the publication of Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) Land and Sea Final Rule” that was released March 27, 2008 by the Department of Homeland Security. It was reported that CBP officers had intercepted over 129,000 fraudulent documents since January 2005 from individuals trying to cross the border over an approximate 3 ½ year period. This is a substantial number; however, we must ask ourselves how many fraudulent documents were never uncovered and successfully used, and how has this impacted international parental child abduction and human trafficking.

It should be of great concern that the ability to falsify travel documentation for children is appears to be relatively easy. The capability to easily present travel documentation without another parent’s consent or to falsify travel documents for children in cases where a passport is not required appears relatively easy. The fact that simply a birth certificate or worse, a “copy” of a birth certificate and a letter of permission with no documentation to verify its validity, is sufficient to cross international borders is a serious security concern. And although it is is required that a parent or guardian traveling with the child without the other parent possess a letter of consent from the absent parent(s) we must strongly consider that there is no way to verify the validity of a parental consent letter.

Under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the WHTI was designed to strengthen border security and is a joint Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State (DOS) plan that is carried out in part by the U.S. Customs Border Protection Agency (CBP). The intent of the initiative is to further protect and strengthen our nation’s borders by requiring all travelers to and from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda to present a WHTI compliant document that establishes identity and citizenship.

So where do we go from here?

Clearly, the summer seaon is upon us, and with the school summer break now here, this is a time of year when thousands of children living in North America will become crime victims of abduction.

As the Turner case unfolds, we must not only ask ourselves how did Mr. Turner exit the United States despite an Amber Watch, but how did he do this. Furthermore, as the Watkins case resoundly demonstrated, not only should there be a mandatory requirement for all individuals regardless of age and type of travel (land, sea, or air) to present a valid passport at the time of departure.  Note how I said ‘Valid Passport’?

Clearly, children like Luke Turner and every other child deserve to be safe from kidnapping.

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative 
And International Parental Child Abduction 

How Are Children Internationally Abducted By Their Parent

Which leads us to the question, “How Are Children Illegally Abducted Into And Out Of The United States or Canada?”

Security flaws that can lead to our children becoming victimized include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Failures by courts and judges to properly assess abduction risk and attach court orders that would preempt international child stealing; and,
  2. Failure to create or uphold present child abduction prevention laws or other laws created to protect our children’s safety; and,
  3. Identity and travel documentation fraud; and,
  4. A lack of uniform requirements for travel documentation when departing or entering the U.S.; and,
  5. The ability under present law to easily illegally transport children under age 16 across borders during land and sea travel; and,
  6. Human error during verification of travel documents by CBP at a point-of-entry or departure; and,
  7. Failures by law enforcement to act expeditiously to a potential abduction threat; and,
  8. Inefficient communication and data sharing between government agencies responsible to assist in preventing or resolving an international child abduction case; and,
  9. The deficiency by our federal government to create and interlink a children’s travel alert, travel restriction data base consisting of real-time family court decisions at the state level with all U.S. border control agencies and transport companies similar to capabilities available through the Prevent Departure Program; and,
  10. A lack of or outdated or underutilized state or federal laws and programs that fail to prevent the abduction of a child and in fact may enable an abduction to occur.

For more information about international parental child abduction please visit The I CARE Foundation or Chasing The Cyclone.

For more information about international parental child abduction in Canada, please visit I CHAPEAU.

May 25th Is National Missing Children’s Day: Help Stop Child Abduction


Today commemorates the 30th International Missing Children’s Day. All children who are missing: parentally kidnapped or abducted by a stranger or who disappear in a world of billions are always at grave risk. Today we acknowledge the large number of children and their families who went missing and who are no longer with us, as the tragedies they experienced nor our sympathy ever adequately expressed. On behalf of the entire I CARE Foundation family and in the name of those children and their families who faced the unthinkable of having a child missing, snatched, abducted, kidnapped, held hostage, or used as a pawn as part of a deplorable scheme, we take today to honor those who have had to endure so much as we affirm our commitment to assisting families in crisis due to abduction.

Today, May 25th, 2013 marks the 30th International Missing Children’s Day. First proclaimed by United States President Ronald Reagan as an American day of recognition over the epidemic number of missing children in the United States that has been observed by every administration since, the worldwide pandemic that impacts countries around the world is now recognized as a day to remember innocent children now gone, while reminding parents, guardians, and society as a whole of the major responsibility to make child safety a priority while raising awareness that abduction of children must be stopped at all costs.

The I CARE Foundation is committed to stopping child abduction and human trafficking. All forms of abduction, no matter who is kidnapping a child, places the child’s life in grave risk.

In the spirit of today, I ask that you please consider sharing on your various social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, and any blog you administer the following essay focused on how summer is the time of year the vast majority of children are kidnapped, and what parents can do to protect them.  One thing is certain: there is no coincidence that since the I CARE Foundation launched a grassroots campaign to raise awareness of abduction, outbound kidnappings have declined by 15% the last 2 years after 30 years of growth.

As a parent of a child who was once abducted, I can’t thank you in advance enough for your support as we move forward in further protecting children.

It is estimated that at least 8 million children worldwide go missing each year or 22,000 a day. The majority of these child-victim disappearances, abductions and kidnappings could have been avoided if society was more proactive in protecting innocence.

Unfortunately, many countries do not view protecting children as a priority and thus don’t have appropriate mechanisms in place to recover missing children who are at high risk of being exploited into trafficking, prostitution, and parental abduction.

Today we ask all of our friends to take a few minutes out of your day and share the following two articles via your social media networks because, if history repeats itself, this information will reach a family at risk of abduction today.

Summer Vacations And International Parental Child Abduction

Protecting Against International Child Abduction: Dual Citizenship and Two Passports

Thank you in advance for your help!

On behalf of the I CARE Foundation family –

Peter Thomas Senese

Peter Thomas Senese Hosts Television Special On International Parental Child Abduction On National Missing Children’s Day

Peter Thomas Senese Hosts Educational Television Special On International Child Abduction On National Missing Children’s Day

New York City Metropolitan area airing of ‘International Parental Child Abduction: A Pandemic’ which I hosted will air this Saturday at 8:30pm on Time Warner channel 56, Cablevision channel 69, Fios channel 44, and RCN channel 84 and also streamed online at the same time (Saturday at 8:30 PM) in conjunction with International Missing Children’s Day.

The segment is rather direct: Summer is when the majority of kids are abducted: this is how to stop their kidnapping. Its purpose very straight-forward: to simplify the risk factors of child abduction that occur during the summer school vacation and provide suggested steps on how targeted parents can protect their children.

The show will air in the 19 million person New York Metropolitan area this evening and is expected to be released thereafter in numerous communities around the United States.

To watch the show via web feed, please visit: (Channel 3).

A special thank you to Mark Sullivan for directing the educational segment, and to the indefatigable Carolyn Vlk and Joel Walter, Esq. for their writing contributions.

As history has demonstrated, sharing direct and straight-forward educational messages about child abduction prevention has helped many families targeted for kidnapping. God willing, the airing of ‘International Parental Child Abduction: A Pandemic’ will reach others who it is intended to reach.

In addition to this direct educational segment, I am happy to share that production of ‘150,000 Internationally Kidnapped Children’ is expected to wrap mid-Summer, 2013. The documentary film is a rather different production than tonight’s airing.

On International Missing Children’s Day, I ask each of you to raise your voice and help raise awareness of abduction.

Kindest regards to all,

Peter Thomas Senese
The I CARE Foundation

How To Prevent Child Abduction When Dealing With Dual Citizenship And Two Passports

I CARE Foundation Director Peter Thomas Senese Speaks About 
Dual Citizenship And International Child Abduction

Many U.S. citizen children who fall victim to international parental abduction possess dual nationality. Being aware of the child’s other parent’s possession of a secondary passport issued from that parent’s country of origin is critical in preventing abduction because children abducted abroad usually travel outside of the country on their foreign passport. Preventing the issuance of your child’s secondary passport to a foreign country is possible, but not guaranteed, based upon the country of origin of the child’s other parent and their laws. Nevertheless, it is important to strongly note the majority of international parental child abductions that occur are carefully planned schemes that attempt to catch the targeted parent off guard. A parent intending to snatch a child may use an assortment of reasons in order to obtain the secondary passport. Certain countries require signatures of both of the child’s parents, while many require only the signature of the parent that possesses citizenship to that country.

In scenarios where only the parent who possesses citizenship to the country the child has a right to secondary citizenship to can apply for their child’s passport, the grave risk and reality is that if abduction is planned, the abducting parent will attempt to conceal the existence of the secondary passport from the other parent. Additionally, in cases where dual signatures are required, it is possible that the taking parent can fraudulently submit the other parent’s signature to the passport bureau of the other country as generally there are limited documentation controls in place set up to validate the application request.

Of troubling concern is the fact that the United States does not possess border exit controls, thus there are limited ways to ensure that a child departing the country is doing so without violating a custody order. Granted, there are certain government programs that exist that have worked extremely well, such as the Prevent Departure Program; however, there are restrictions to such programs such as the Prevent Departure Program, including that a person considered to be a high-abduction risk cannot possess a right of American citizenship. Thus, if a parent who is planning to abduct a child possess dual citizenship, they cannot be placed on the secure screening list established to protect against international kidnapping. Additional difficulties abound, including the reality that a U.S. court has limited authority in obtaining records from a foreign embassy or consulate to determine if a parent has requested or obtained secondary passports for a child.

While the Department of State will make every effort to avoid issuing a U.S. passport if the custodial parent has provided a custody decree, the Department cannot prevent embassies and consulates of other countries in the United States from issuing their passports to children who are also their nationals.

All is not lost if you act thoughtfully. For example, you can ask a foreign embassy or consulate not to issue a passport to your child. On numerous occasions, I, or one of the attorneys associated with the I CARE Foundation, have accompanied a targeted parent and personally visited a foreign embassy or consulate and requested that a secondary passport not be issued in the name of the child due to an abduction threat.

If traveling to an embassy or consulate is not a possibility, I suggest you contact the consulate, locate a supervisor who oversees their passport issuance program, and speak to them about your concern for abduction and specifically state you do not want that country to issue a passport. Immediately after that telephone call, you must submit a written request, along with certified complete copies of any court orders addressing custody or the overseas travel of your child you have. From experience, I strongly suggest you also include your marriage certificate, your child’s birth certificate, and any other relevant documentation that establishes your marriage or legal partnership and establishes that you are the parent of the child or children. In your letter, inform them that you are sending a copy of this request to the U.S. Department of State.

If your child is only a U.S. citizen, you can request that no visa for that country be issued in his or her U.S. passport. No international law requires compliance with such requests, but some countries will comply voluntarily.

With respect to your requests to a foreign country, there is one thing I would like to share from experience: you are likely to get more cooperation at times if you or your legal representative schedule an appointment in person. This is something I have seen first-hand in my capacity as a director of the I CARE Foundation.

But what is dual nationality?

The concept of dual nationality means that a person is a citizen of two countries at the same time. Each country has its own citizenship laws based on its own policy. Persons may have dual nationality by automatic operation of different laws rather than by choice. For example, a child born in a foreign country to U.S. citizen parents may be both a U.S. citizen and a citizen of the country of birth.

A U.S. citizen may acquire foreign citizenship by marriage, or a person naturalized as a U.S. citizen may not lose the citizenship of the country of birth.U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another. Also, a person who is automatically granted another citizenship does not risk losing U.S. citizenship. However, a person who acquires a foreign citizenship by applying for it may lose U.S. citizenship. In order to lose U.S. citizenship, the law requires that the person must apply for the foreign citizenship voluntarily, by free choice, and with the intention to give up U.S. citizenship.

Intent can be shown by the person’s statements or conduct.The U.S. Government recognizes that dual nationality exists but does not encourage it as a matter of policy because of the problems it may cause. Claims of other countries on dual national U.S. citizens may conflict with U.S. law, and dual nationality may limit U.S. Government efforts to assist citizens abroad. The country where a dual national is located generally has a stronger claim to that person’s allegiance.

However, dual nationals owe allegiance to both the United States and the foreign country. They are required to obey the laws of both countries. Either country has the right to enforce its laws, particularly if the person later travels there.Most U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States. Dual nationals may also be required by the foreign country to use its passport to enter and leave that country. Use of the foreign passport does not endanger U.S. citizenship.Most countries permit a person to renounce or otherwise lose citizenship.

Information on losing foreign citizenship can be obtained from the foreign country’s embassy and consulates in the United States. Americans can renounce U.S. citizenship in the proper form at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.

Two Parent Signature Law for a Passport

As stated earlier, The United States does not have exit controls on its borders for holders of a valid passport. This makes preventing a passport from being issued to your child without your consent very important. Generally, if your child has a passport, it can be difficult to prevent the other parent from removing the child to another country without your permission.

U.S. law requires the signature of both parents, or the child’s legal guardians, prior to issuance of a U.S. passport to children under the age of 16. To obtain a U.S. passport for a child under the age of 16, both parents (or the child’s legal guardians) must execute the child’s passport application and provide documentary evidence demonstrating that they are the parents or guardians. If this cannot be done, the person executing the passport application must provide documentary evidence that he or she has sole custody of the child, has the consent of the other parent to the issuance of the passport, or is acting in place of the parents and has the consent of both parents (or of a parent/legal guardian with sole custody over the child to the issuance of the passport).


The law does provide two exceptions to this requirement: (1) for exigent circumstances, such as those involving the health or welfare of he child, or (2) when the Secretary of State determines that issuance of a passport is warranted by special family circumstances.

Prevent Departure Program

Since 2003, United States citizens have had available a very effective international child abduction prevention tool called ‘The Prevent Departure Program’. Unfortunately, many parents at risk of having their child internationally abducted are not aware that this incredibly useful tool is available to them.

In the aftermath of 911, the Department of Homeland Security’s ‘Prevent Departure Program’ was created to stop non-U.S. citizens from departing the country. The program applies to non-US citizens physically located in America considered individuals at risk of child abduction. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) oversees this program and it is monitored 24 hours a day.

What the ‘Prevent Departure Program’ does is provide immediate information to the transportation industry, including all air, land, and sea channels a single point of contact at Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and provides a comprehensive database of individuals the United States believes may immediately depart to a foreign country.

The program only applies to aliens, and is not available to stop U.S. citizens or dual U.S./foreign citizens from leaving the country.

Under Section 215 of the ‘Immigration and Nationality Act’ (8 U.S.C. 1185) and it’s implementing regulations (8 CFR Part 215 and 22 CFR Part 46), it authorizes departure-control officers to prevent an alien’s departure from the United States if the alien’s departure would be prejudicial to the interests of the United States. These regulations include would-be abductions of U.S. citizens in accordance to court orders originating from the child’s court of habitual residency.

If the abductor and child are identified, they will be denied boarding. In order to detain them after boarding is denied, there must be a court order prohibiting the child’s removal or providing for the child’s pick-up, or a warrant for the abductor.

In order for an at risk parent to participate in the program, all of the following must be demonstrated:

  1. Subject may NOT be a US citizen; and,
  2. The nomination must include a law enforcement agency contact with 24/7 coverage; and,
  3. There must be a court order showing which parent has been awarded custody or shows that the Subject is restrained from removing his/her minor child from certain counties, the state or the U.S.; and,
  4. The Subject must be in the US; and,
  5. There must be some likelihood that the Subject will attempt to depart in the immediate future.

With respect to the established guidelines listed above, note that in order to request the listing of the other parent, that person must be an alien of the United States. The program does not apply to US citizens at risk of leaving the country.

The second mandate states a request to place an individual’s name on the Prevent Departure Program must include support by a law enforcement agency or from the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues, which has the authority of requesting for the Department of Homeland Security to list a suspected child abductor on the ‘Prevent Departure Program’.

The third criteria: possessing a custodial order, is essential. Regardless if the other parent has joint custody or rights of visitation, critically, you must make sure that there are injunction orders in place prohibiting the child from being removed from the jurisdiction of habitual residency. Unfortunately, many international parental child abductions are well planned out in advance of the actual abduction, and the targeted parent has no idea that an abduction is in progress until it is too late. This is why it is essential for parents in partnership with non-nationals to be fully aware of the warning signs associated with a potential international child abduction.

The fourth criteria states the obvious: in order to prevent an alien-parent suspected of abducting a child on U.S. soil, that parent must be on U.S. soil.

The fifth criteria requests that the applying parent demonstrate that the alien-parent has demonstrated the likelihood of abducting the child across international borders in the immediate future. Remember – you need to document and record as much evidence as possible.

For many parents who face the risk of having their child abducted and removed across international borders, the nightmare that both targeted parent and victimized child face is unbearable.

The Prevent Departure Program is not for everyone and should not be abused; however, in situations where an abduction threat is real and the targeting parent intent on abducting a child is a non-US citizen possessing the capacity to breach court orders and abduct a child of a relationship, the Prevent Departure Program may be a useful tool.

Be aware that if a person has a right of U.S. citizenship, including possessing sole American citizenship or dual citizenship, they cannot be placed on the Prevent Departure Program (The I CARE Foundation is hoping to have the government change that policy since individuals who possess singular citizenship do abduct children abroad).


The I CARE Foundation has assisted many families in crisis who are at risk of having a child internationally abducted from the child’s country of jurisdiction based upon one of the child’s parent’s scheme to remove the child by obtaining a secondary passport. In many of these cases, the targeted parent did not know that the other parent already possessed a secondary passport for their child. In certain situations the parent possessing a right of citizenship to another country did not need the other parent’s signature, and in other cases, a passport signature of the targeted parent was forged on the foreign passport application for the child.

Targeted parents and attorneys overseeing an abduction prevention case need to be aware that when there is an abductin concern that they should immediately contact the consulate where the child’s other parent is a national of and request if a passport has been issued in the child’s name. There are times when the consulate or embassy may provide this information. Often this is not the case.

In all cases where a secondary passport is a concern, one of the legal strategies the attorneys associated with the I CARE Foundation have successfully implemented is to seek an emergency order from the court possessing jurisdiction of the child whereas, the petition requests that ‘responding parent’ (parent believed to planning an abduction) provide formal documentation from the consulate or embassy of their country of origin that grants the consulate or embassy permission to answer a court subpeona concerning the issuance of a passport (the consulate or embassy is not required to do so even if a subpeona is issued), or, that the court order the responding parent to provide an official letter from their country of origin stating that neither a passport for the child has been issued from that country and no application for a passport has been submitted.

During the emergency application, the targeted parent (the ‘applicant’) has sought a host of measures, including seeking for the court or the applicant to take possession of the child’s American passports; and, for the child being placed on the United States Passport Issuance Alert Program; and, for either removal of child access or limited, supervised access of the targeted child by the parent suspected of child snatching. If the Prevent Departure Program is applicable, attorneys have previously sought for the court to request that the U.S. Department of State petition the U.S. Department of Homeland Security place a person considered a high-risk child abductor on the secure screening list to ensure that person does not travel outside of the country with the child unless permitted to do so by court order.

Obviously there are many other steps that can be taken, but one I think worth sharing is the concern that a parent traveling by land or sea across international adjacent borders (For the United States this means travel to Canada, Mexico, or certain Caribbean island-nations) with a minor under 16 years of age does not need to present a valid passport for their child at the border-crossing (valid passports are required for all travelers regardless of age only when traveling abroad by aircraft) as established by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Thus, a parent planning to abduct a child could do so by boarding a closed circuit cruise, or by simply driving across the border. It is critical that an attorney attempting to prevent abduction familiarize themselves with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative loopholes and present these issues to the court they are litigating over. One other good idea is that they present to the court the statistical realities of child abduction return, including whether a country that appears to be a likly inbound country is a member of the Hague Convention, and whether or not they are a complying country. Of course, that’s not all that should be presented to the court. A few other important issues include the potential for severe abuse to the child; and, the severe abuse to the targeted parent, the cost to litigate; and, the ability for the taking parent to disappear abroad, including departing the country they initially ‘landed’ in, and travel to another country; and finally, the likelyhood that a child will be returned.

I invite you to read Summer Vacations and International Parental Child Abduction and to visit the official website of the U.S. Department of StateI CARE Foundation and Chasing The Cyclone for more information about abduction.

One little word of advice: the majority of parents who have had their child abducted never saw it coming. Do not stick your head in the ground and think this cannot happen to you. Educate yourself.

– Peter Thomas Senese –
Founding Director – The I CARE Foundation