Parental child abduction is the leading cause of missing children worldwide.  The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has estimated that over 27,000 children are reported as missing in the United States each year, with over 13,000 reports listed as parental child abductions. Parental child abduction occurs when a child is wrongfully taken, concealed, or withheld by a parent preventing the access to the child from the other parent without just cause.

 

 

 

​Helpspan.org (Help Stop Parental-child Abduction Now) is an organization

 

created in 2005 from the parental child abduction of 6-year-old Ian Castillo.

 

Our goal is to create anti-parental child abduction legislation

 

that is enforceable in each state, preventing the #1 cause of missing children. The Helpspan Parental Child Abduction petition

 

became the nation's 1st parental child abduction law in 2008.

 

 

​This legislation establishes protection for every child from birth until a court order

 

is enacted, or when a child reaches the age of 18 years.  It allows for the reporting

 

of all missing children, including runaways, who are in danger, to be listed as missing into the

 

National Missing Persons Clearinghouse. This enables an Amber Alert to be issued.

 

Each state petition contains punitive measures for parental child abductors and their enablers, as well as, protective clauses for protection from dangerous situations. In certain jurisdictions. the law also recognizes Parental Alienation Syndrome and unwed parental rights. This avoids the lengthy and costly paternity testing aspect of custody filings, enabling expedited child custody hearings.

 

The serious and harmful effects that parental child abduction have on victims, and their families, carry a heavy emotional, and financial burden for many years. In some case studies, the effects last a lifetime. In some cases, physical abuse occurs, in all cases, there is psychological trauma. Our mission is to stop the abuse of parental child abduction upon all children and through our legislation, we will help stop this abuse.

 

 

Currently, there are 6 states with parental child abduction legislation. To date, thousands of children have been returned safely within 48 hours of the initial missing report filing. We need your help to reach our goal of legislation in each state. If you would like to sponsor this legislation in your state, or if you need assistance, please contact us.

Report if you have seen a missing child

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