United Nations

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 websitehttp://www.stopchildabduction.org/


150,000 Internationally Kidnapped Children: Film To Shoot On Location At United Nations

Film.  Books.  Advocacy.  Rescuing Children.  Heroes.  International Child Abduction.  United Nations.  The Hague Convention. Kidnapping.  Fighting Kidnappers.  Chasing The Cyclone.  Hope.  Murder.  Abuse.  Targeted Parents.  Hopelessness.  The I CARE Foundation.  Protecting Children.

In no particular order, these are some of the words that come to mind when I think of international parental child abduction (IPCA).

For those of you who are not aware, IPCA is the crime of child kidnapping.  It is a brutal crime against both child and targeted parent: one that is legally complicated to obtain true justice on, and one which in many ways, does not protect innocent children of kidnapping the way you might expect.

The reality is, every child of abduction is severely abused and some are murdered.

It’s a worldwide epidemic.  A plague that is finally being pushed back in the United States, but one that continues to spread in nations around the world.

The key to curing this plague is to educate society, particularly those parents who may be at risk of abduction … and who may not know that such risk exists.

Creating various tools that educate others has played a very important role in having the abduction rate in the United States decline by over 15% per year the last two years.

My work in this area continues.

I am very pleased to share that a portion of the film on international parental child abduction titled 150,000 Internationally Kidnapped Children, presently in production and being produced in conjunction with the I CARE Foundation, will add the United Nations as a key location to the film.

Filming at the United Nations is no easy task. I am very thankful to the team at the United Nations for granting the necessary access required to film on location.

However, having previously sponsored a conference and spoken at the United Nations in my capacity as the founding director of the I CARE Foundationconcerning the issue of international parental child abduction (IPCA) in conjunction with the United States Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, it is both an honor and only fitting to have an important portion of the film take place at the United Nations.

I am very excited about the potential positive impact that 150,000 Internationally Kidnapped Children may have on others, including parents who may be targeted to have a child internationally abducted by the child’s other parent or by a stranger.

Previously, and in an ongoing effort, I produced the rather straight-forward educational documentary series on international parental child abduction titled Chasing Parents: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction which discussed a wide-range of issues associated with international parental child abduction, including warning signs and risk factors, what to do if your child is targeted or taken, the Prevent Departure Program, and the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative amongst many critically important topics associated with child kidnapping.

Judging from the tens of thousands of views of the Chasing Parents: Racing Into The Storms of International Parental Child Abduction along with the rather large number of parents who personally contacted me and shared that the information contained in the educational documentary series made the difference between having their child remain at home as opposed to being internationally abducted, there is a clear international need for a film such as 150,000 Internationally Kidnapped Childrenone that not only shares critically important new research conducted by the I CARE Foundation concerning IPCA, but a film that clearly shows both the incredible dangers of stranger and non-stranger abduction in a way that gives light to ways which these kidnappings may be prevented.

Of course, at the core of all the information that I create concerning IPCA is the unbending desire and commitment to help educate society and targeted parents so that children will not face the dangerous, and at times deadly ordeal of IPCA.

There unquestionably is a great crisis on our hands as too many children around the world are being abducted. However, if the statistics of reported cases of abduction originating from the United States demonstrate anything – there has been a two-year consecutive decline of over 15% per year the last two years – it is that stewarding the message that IPCA is a real threat, and enlightening society of the reality of IPCA does in fact mean something: after nearly 30 years of near-consistent growth in the number of IPCA cases, we’ve pushed back the proverbial mountain in the United States . . . and though there is a great deal to still be done, there is measurable indicators that raising awareness has made a sizeable difference in protecting children from abduction.

On a very personal note, and as a storyteller and writer, when I first began my journey as an international parental child abduction prevention advocate by writing the critically acclaimed novel Chasing The Cyclone that was deeply inspired by my own experiences, I never thought that so many miracles would happen as a by-product of these efforts. But that is what happened because through it, dozens of internationally kidnapped children have been reunited while an even larger number of targeted children of abduction have remained safe.

And that is very cool.

-Peter Thomas Senese-

Peter Thomas Senese: Looking Back At The I CARE Foundation’s First Year

It has been a little over a year that the I CARE Foundation began our formal operations working toward trying to dramatically reduce the number of children who are fallen victims of the crimes of international parental child abduction or child trafficking.

The I CARE Foundation has had success on many levels, including reuniting numerous internationally kidnapped children with their parents while also preventing an even greater number of abductions from occurring.   Due to the nature and sensitivity of many of the cases we are involved in, we are mindful not to discuss any role we play or our involvement even after a child is returned because children of abduction, sadly, are considered high-risk targets for an attempted second abduction.

Nevertheless, I know I speak on behalf of the I CARE Foundation’s entire board of directors when I say that we always keep in mind the wonderful words shared with us by many of the parents who we have assisted.  Their words of thanks and appreciation move us deeply while reminding each of us how important our work is.

But our work protecting children is not simply found in successfully assisting the many dozens of families we have over this past year.  And before I go any further, I will be the first to say that reuniting children of abduction or preventing a child’s international abduction is not easy: the laws are not helpful, the scheming parents seem to have a hidden playbook on how to abduct, countries often do not uphold international law, and the financial costs of recovery or prevention is incredible: thus, there are times when despite our capabilities, our efforts may not result in a recovery or prevention of abduction.

Fortunately, there have been many successes, while remaining committed to those we seek to help.

However, our primary mission is to conduct research in the area of international parental child abduction and child trafficking, publish and widely disperse our findings, and then use our data to help drive new policies and laws that will help protect children.  Considering the I CARE Foundation is a non-profit organization fueled by the financing made available by our board of directors, it is encouraging at this point just how far we have come in a year.

You know, one person’s voice really can make a difference.  And humbly, it was during the time that I was ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ of international parental child abduction that I thought one day I would use my skills and capability as a best-selling author to help other parents and children facing a world of abduction that does not make any sense: the world of international parental child abduction. Fortunately, I had a starting point that would allow me to set the wheels of advocacy in motion because I had a platform to stand on: you see, it took a great deal of everything, but I was able to reunite with my child despite unthinkable hardships and challenges, and in doing so, I also learned a great deal about child abduction.

Using my skills as a writer, I then wrote the deeply personal fiction novel ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ that was overwhelmingly inspired by my life’s experiences that book critics have praised.  I am very proud of ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ because, as it has been properly stated in the press, it is a book that creates miracles.

Now you might be asking yourself how does a book create miracles?  To begin, the knowledge shared with other targeted parents has helped many reunite with their children or helped them protect their kids.

In addition, I have donated 100% of all of my various books proceeds and ancillary income to the I CARE Foundation, including 100% of my revenue generated from all e-book sales of ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ (hardcover will be released in early 2013: 4.8 Star Rating: 40+ Reviews) to the I CARE Foundation.  Fortunately, I have been blessed to be able to make several important donations to the foundation that has unquestionably rescued and protected many children.

As for the I CARE Foundation, some of our successes include but are not limited to:

  1. Reuniting numerous abducted children with their families.
  2. Assisting in the prevention of the international kidnapping of many targeted children.
  3. Conducting and publishing important research in the area of child abduction.
  4. Using our research findings to either drive or initiate new laws and policies geared to protect children and their families.
  5. Creating a nation-wide attorney network of lawyers capable of assisting families in crisis due to actual or potential abduction.
  6. Launching a successful campaign seeking attorneys to join the U.S. Department of State’s Hague Convention Attorney Network.

There are no words that I could ever use to explain the heart-felt joy I feel knowing that so many children have been assisted because of the I CARE Foundation’s work.   Nor could there ever been words that could mirror the hurt I feel when I come to learn of a parent and child’s suffering due to abduction.  It is what drives all of us to make a difference.

In little over a year, the I CARE Foundation’s accomplishments have had a positive social impact.  It was an honor to participate in the United States Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program at the United Nations.  It was an honor to accept a magnificent American Flag that was flown over the United States Capitol in my honor, and I sure am looking forward to traveling to the Hague and visiting the Peace Palace in the early part of 2013.

When I look out at the number of lives the I CARE Foundation has knowingly touched, and consider the number of individuals we will have a positive impact for that we will never know or meet, the writer inside of me smiles because I know without my desire to write ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ the I would not have sought to create the foundation.  Clearly, the power of books and writing are alive and well.  And I am thrilled to know that the foundation’s operations, board of directors, advisory board, and international reach and presence will be expanding in 2013.

On a personal note, and outside of the joy I feel knowing of the children we have helped, it has been richly rewarding to develop friendships with some truly remarkable, loving parents who it is my honor to call ‘friend’.

In the spirit of friendship, I know that 2013 is really going to be the Year of the Child.

On a final note, please remember, Christmas is Child Abduction Season.  Educate yourself so that you and your family can have a Happy Christmas.  And as for me: I will continue to stand up to kidnappers of children . . .

Peter Thomas Senese

Founding Director
I CARE Foundation

I CARE Director Peter Thomas Senese Speaks At United Nations

The United Nations

On Friday, September 14th, 2012 I had the great privilege on behalf of the I CARE Foundation to extensively speak and participate at the U.S. Department of State’s sponsored ‘International Visitor Leadership Program’ held at the United States Mission to the United Nations in conjunction with the United Nations to discuss the work and research the not-for-profit I CARE  Foundation has been conducting in the area of international parental child abduction prevention (IPCA).

Unquestionably, the initiative by the U.S. Department of State to connect global government leaders with non-government organizations such as the I CARE Foundation to discuss the challenges and potential solutions of IPCA demonstrates a pro-active, solution oriented approach to combating child abduction and trafficking by private and public sector leaders.

Peter Thomas Senese

As the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation, it is with deep pride to continue to see the I CARE Foundation recognized by our global leaders as a preeminent organization actively at the battle-front against the pandemic of international child abduction.  On a personal note, my participation in the International Visitor Leadership Program was deeply satisfying.  You see, six years ago, when I first found myself Chasing The Cyclone of international child abduction,I had made a promise to make a difference so other families would not have to race into the nightmare of abduction.

I am equally committed to that promise today as I was when I first made it six years ago. Along the way, we have created more than a few miracles.

The I CARE Foundation

The I CARE Foundation’s ongoing ground-breaking, critical research in the area of international parental child abduction has shed light onto many areas and issues associated with international child kidnapping.  Our legislative and policy modification initiatives have had a sizable positive impact on preventing abduction.  Our dedication to assisting children of abduction has led to the rescue and reunification of many internationally abducted children while also successfully preventing the abduction of many other children.  And our public outreach to educate society, particularly potential targeted parents, has led to the prevention of numerous child kidnappings. Our commitment to build a national and global attorney network of highly qualified lawyers dedicated to assisting at-risk children of kidnapping continues to be highly received by the legal community, and perhaps most of all, our ability to make a difference for others continues to expand and reflect our deep commitment to helping others.

International Visitor Leadership Program

The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program.  Launched in 1940, the IVLP is a professional exchange program that seeks to build mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations through carefully designed short-term visits to the U.S. for current and emerging foreign leaders.  These visits reflect the International Visitors’ professional interests and support the foreign policy goals of the United States.

International visitors are selected and nominated annually by American Foreign Service Officers at U.S. Embassies around the world. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs funds and administers the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).

During our specific conference, discussion took place that evolved around the simple question ‘How can we as a global society help stop the pandemic of international parental child abduction?’

A few things stood out immediately.  This included:

  1. Unquestionable realization that IPCA is a severe form of child abuse; and,
  2. The vast majority of abductions are well schemed plans against a targeted parent; and,
  3. Targeted children and parents of abduction face severe hardship; ,and,
  4. Abducting parents utilize the existing legal system to draw out court proceedings; and,
  5. The longer a court proceeding takes, the more difficult it is for a child to be returned; and,
  6. Litigation must focus on narrow focus of jurisdiction established by the Hague Convention; and,
  7. IPCA is growing worldwide at an alarming rate; and,
  8. IPCA causes severe emotional and financial devastation to all connected to it; and,
  9. The economic cost of IPCA on the global market over the next decade will be many tens of billions of dollars.
  10. New research and studies similiar to the I CARE Foundation’s work must continue, and, utilizing the research findings to initiative new laws and government policies are critical to protecting children.

Chris Morris, Eugene Pothy & Peter Thomas Senese

As our conference unfolded, it was with awe that I listened to my friends Christopher Morris and Bryan Mooney, both parents who had children internationally abducted under the rules of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abductiondiscuss the severe challenges they have each faced respectively over the past two and three years trying to reunite with their children.

As I listened to each of these dedicated, loving parents discuss portions of their cases (which I am very familiar with), I could not help but wonder if their children will ever really know how much their fathers love them.  It is my hope that these children of abduction do, because the love Chris and Bryan have for their children has led them to do whatever possible to reunite with their children.

Dedicated Parent Bryan Mooney and His Children

Both Chris and Bryan’s stories of well-schemed child abduction by their childrens’ other parent re-enforced the notion that it was necessary for judges to expedite international child abduction cases, and settle the issue of which country has the right of jurisdiction of a child.

Chris and Bryan’s point was made very clear when it was shared that collectively, they have spent over U.S. $300,000.00 between the two of them thus far trying to bring their abducted children home, and their protracted litigation is far from over.

Critically, Chris and Bryan’s conveyance that the spirit of the Hague Convention to be expedited was made to all.

Eugene Pothy Reuniting With His Son After 9 Years

I was also very happy to hear my dear friend Eugene Pothy, who miraculously was reunited with his abducted child taken to the Ivory Coast and illegally detained for nearly 9 years, speak about the mental and spiritual hardship of abduction of children. Eugene’s points of view reinforced Chris and Bryan’s point of view that IPCA litigation must be expedited by the courts.

Fortunately, our conference was the right forum to share our view. And the message was heard.

Another very important issue that was discussed revolved around abduction prevention.  Specifically, it became clear that certain countries, for example, Turkey, have the ability of preventing abductions from occurring (736 total IPCA cases under the Hague over the past 10 years) by citizens who possess a right of Turkish citizenship because Turkish judges have the ability of preventing a high-risk child abducting parent from departing the country by all means of departure.

In contrast, the United States only has the ability to stop a high-risk child abductor from departing the country if that individual is not a U.S. citizen. Thus, individuals who possess duel citizenship in the U.S. and who are determined to be high-risk parental child abductors have limited security screen to prevent them from illegally removing their child from the country.

As some of you may know, members of the I CARE Foundation’s board of directors, including Carolyn Vlk and myself worked very hard to have the Department of State disseminate the Department of Homeland Securities’ ‘Prevent Departure Program’ as a tool to be used to help prevent abduction. However, the problem with the Prevent Departure Program is that it only applies to non-U.S. citizens. Thus, the I CARE Foundation’s efforts to modify the Prevent Departure Program to include a secure screening list for high-risk child abductors possessing a right of U.S. citizenship appear to be critical to protecting children.

Another I CARE Foundation measure that was discussed and warmly embraced was our initiatives to require all individuals entering into or departing the United States, regardless if they travel by land, sea, or air, to present a current and valid passport.

Overall, the day was very meaningful as a great deal of information was exchanged that inevitably will help protect defenseless children.  It was indeed a great privilege to have been asked by the United States Department of State to participate in such a highly esteemed program to a humbling experience to know that the I CARE Foundation’s work is respected around the world.

There is no question that it was yet another day of progress to protect children from abduction.

As for the International Visitor Leadership Program, the IVLP has a luminary list of esteemed participants include:

Afghanistan: President Hamid Karzai (1987)
Austria: President Heinz Fischer (1964)
Belgium: Prime Minister Yves Leterme (2002)
Bhutan: Prime Minister Lyonpo Jigme Yoser Thinley (1987)
Brazil: President Dilma Rousseff (1992)
Croatia: President Ivo Josipović (2002)
Croatia: Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic (1996)
Czech Republic: Prime Minister Petr Nečas (1994 and 1999)
Denmark: Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen (1989)
Dominica: President Nicholas Joseph Orville Liverpool (1985)
Finland: President Sauli Niinistö (1992)
Finland: Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen (2003)
France: Prime Minister François Fillon (1984)
France: President Nicolas Sarkozy (1985)
Georgia: President Mikheil Saakashvili (1997 and 1999)
Germany: President Joachim Gauck (1993)
Grenada: Prime Minister Tillman Thomas (1986)
Guinea: President Alpha Condé (1962)
India: President Pratibha Devisingh Patil (1968)
Ireland: Prime Minister Enda Kenny (1989)
Kenya: President Mwai Kibaki (1961 and 1999)
Lithuania: President Dalia Grybauskaitė (1994)
Macedonia: Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski (2000)
Malawi: President Joyce Banda (1989)
Malta: Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi (1990)
Mauritius: President Anerood Jugnauth (1981)
Mauritius: Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam (1986)
Mexico: President Felipe De Jesús Calderón Hinojosa (1992)
Moldova: President Nicolae Timofti (2005)
Montenegro: Prime Minister Igor Lukšić (1999)
Mozambique: President Armando Emílio Guebuza (1987)
Namibia: Prime Minister Nahas Gideon Angula (1996)
Norway: Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (1988)
Poland: President Bronisław Komorowski (2006)
Poland: Prime Minister Donald Franciszek Tusk (1993)
Portugal: President Aníbal Cavaco Silva (1978)
Slovakia: Prime Minister Robert Fico (1990)
Slovenia: Prime Minister Borut Pahor (1991)
Sri Lanka: President Mahinda Rajapakse (1989)
St. Kitts and Nevis: Prime Minister Denzil Llewellyn Douglas (1990)
St. Lucia: Prime Minister Stephenson King (1985)
Sweden: Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt (2002)
Taiwan: President Ma Ying-Jeou (1971 and 2003)
Togo: President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé (2001)
Trinidad and Tobago: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (1998)
Trinidad and Tobago: President George Maxwell Richards (1986)
Turkey: President Abdullah Gül (1995)
Zimbabwe: Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (1989)
Macedonia: President Gjorge Ivanov (1999)

In leaving the United States Mission to the United Nations, I left reaffirming once again my commitment to helping defenseless children of abduction and their targeted parents.