The Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes that “the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.” It further provides “that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will.”
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction came about to address those circumstances where a child, in distinction to the afore-mentioned principles contained in the CRC, is separated from one parent via cross-border abduction.
Between 2008 and 2020, more than 12,350 American children were abducted internationally by a parent, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Congress passed the Sean and David Goldman Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (P.L. 113-150) in 2014, to better implement the Hague Convention, to provide a means to resolve abduction cases among non-Hague countries, and to hold countries accountable for non-compliance with their obligations. While the Convention has helped shaped international norms, only 85 nations plus the European Union have ratified it, and some States Parties are not fully compliant. The Goldman Act provides Congress with data regarding child abductions and authorizes tools for the State Department to use to influence countries to abide by international obligations.
The purpose of this hearing is to assess how well the State Department is implementing the Goldman Act to resolve international parental child abduction cases. The hearing will include testimony from prominent international family law attorney whose work informed the drafting of the Goldman Act, and left-behind parents who have subsequently dedicated themselves to advocating for the rights of victims of international parental child abduction.
- Patricia Apy, International Family Law Attorney, Paras, Apy and Reiss
- Jeffery Morehouse, Executive Director, Bring Abducted Children Home
- Noelle Hunter, PhD., Founder, iStand Parent Network