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. There are over 13,000 reports of parental child or family abduction. 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 a grass-roots organization
created in 2005 from the parental child abduction of 6 year old Ian Castillo.
At that time, the act of parental child abduction was considered legal, therefore, law enforcement
agencies would not assist. With a goal to create anti-parental child abduction legislation
that is enforceable in each state, the Helpspan parental child abduction petition
became the nation's 1st parental child abduction law.
The Helpspan legislation establishes protection for every child from birth until a court order
is enacted, or when a child reaches the age of 18 years. Our legislation 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.
The legislation that we seek, also considers punitive measures for parental child abductors
and their enablers, as well as, protective clauses for parents seeking protection from dangerous situations. In certain jurisdictions. the law also recognizes Parental Alienation Syndrome and unwed parental rights. The serious and harmful effects that parental child abduction can have on victims and their families carry a heavy emotional and financial burden for many years later. In some cases, physical abuse occurs, in all cases, the abuse is psychological. Parental child abduction is child abuse and our legislation aims to stop this.
Currently, only 6 states have enacted a form of parental child abduction legislation. n 2018, over 700 Amber Alerts from parental child abduction were issued. To date, thousands of children have been returned safely within 48 hours of the initial missing report. We need your help to reach our goal of national legislation. 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