NEWARK, NJ - Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today applauded final passage of the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act he co-authored with U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) and Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) to address the growing problem of international parental child abduction. The bill, which passed the Senate earlier this month, was passed by the House today and now heads to the President's desk.

"Passing this legislation will focus attention on this heart-breaking issue, assist parents in bringing abducted children home where they legally and rightfully belong, and bolster prevention so that children are less likely to be abducted in the first place," said Sen. Menendez. "It was New Jersey native David Goldman's extraordinary five-year battle to bring his son, Sean, home from Brazil that highlighted for me the horrendous problem of international parental child abduction. As a parent, I cannot imagine the emotional toll of having a child abducted and taken abroad and feeling helpless to get your son or daughter back. I look forward to the President's signature on this bill."

The Senate-passed bill strengthened, streamlined, and added important prevention measures to H.R. 3212, which the House passed in December 2013.

The Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act includes the following components:

  • Requires the State Department to produce a comprehensive annual report on international parental child abductions, including a determination of whether the government of a country has engaged in a pattern of noncompliance with regards to child abduction cases, and provides a prescribed set of actions for the State Department to undertake in the case of such a determination;
  • Requires U.S. diplomatic and consular missions to monitor abduction and access cases, and to designate at least one senior official at each mission to assist left-behind parents with quickly resolving cases and maintaining safe and predictable contact with their child;
  • Requires the State Department to purse bilateral arrangements, including Memoranda of Understandings, with countries that are unlikely to join the Hague Abduction Convention, with prioritization given to those countries with a significant number of abduction and access cases;
  • Strengthens prevention mechanisms, increases interagency coordination, and improves law enforcement capabilities to prevent wrongful abduction before it occurs;
  • Authorizes $1 million for each of Fiscal Years (FY) 2015 and 2016, so that countries with either a pattern of noncompliance or a significant number of pending unresolved abduction cases can receive critical judicial training on how to handle parental abduction cases.

On February 27, Sens. Menendez and Corker chaired a hearing on international parental childhood abduction.