If your child is kidnapped, your efforts to recover the child should involve planning and response by a wide variety of people in a team effort. This team usually comprises members of many different agencies. The primary organizations or professionals needed in the recovery and reunification of missing children with their parent or parents will include law enforcement (including, in some cases, the FBI), family and dependency court personnel, child protective agencies, other social agencies, including mental health professionals, and victim-witness advocates.
Recovery and Reunification of Missing Children: A Team Approach is a helpful book published by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and Missing and Exploited Children Comprehensive Action Program. It is available online without charge.
Parental kidnapping of a child is abducted leaves the parent who has been left behind faces seemingly overwhelming problems. These abductions leave parents feeling helpless, and create emotional, legal, and financial difficulties more difficult than a parent will ever encounter again. This is particularly true for parents whose children are taken to or retained in foreign countries.
International abductions pose particularly difficult problems; thus, a swift and informed response is often difficult. Parents face difficulties when the language of the foreign country is unfamiliar. Worse, the laws can be vastly different from the laws in the United States. Great distances and an inability to communicate with the child or children can cause enormous psychological problems and can frustrate recovery efforts. This is particularly true if the country is not a signator to the Hague Convention.
Despite the obstacles presented by international abductions, however, it is critical that parents whose child or children are victims of international parental kidnapping remain hopeful and optimistic. Although the situation presents potentially dire consequences, it may not be irrevocable. Organizing an effective recovery program can best be accomplished when left-behind family members respond to the kidnapping in a hopeful, informed, and steadfast manner.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), under the auspices of the Department of Justice, has developed a guidebook as a resource for families of children who have been abducted to a foreign country.
The parents of abducted children can use this guidebook as a valuable resource. It offers explanations and realistic evaluations of civil and criminal remedies available to the left-behind parent. It also explains applicable laws, identifies public and private resources available to help, and describes strategies to help left-behind parents reestablish meaningful contact with them in another country and/or recover their children.
A Family Resource Guide on International Parental Kidnapping is available without charge on the Internet.