Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Florida ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ Support Swells As State Lawmakers Realize Prevention Is Critical To Best Interest Of Children

Two Senate Committees and One House Committee have all voted unanimously to pass the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ bill.

Representative Marcelo Llorente, the Chairman of Florida’s House of Representatives’ Policy Council, is a compassionate advocate for children’s rights and their safety. As House Bill 787 and adjoining Senate Bill 1862 continue to gain unilateral bipartisan support in both of Florida’s legislative bodies, as best indicated by three unanimous committee votes of support (two in the Senate and one in the House), it is becoming clear lawmakers in Florida are demonstrating great leadership in advancing model legislation that would preempt the growing number of parental child abductions that occur in the state each year.

Next up for this promising legislative bill that would provide courts the ability and responsibility to consider risk factors associated with a potential parental child abduction, and, the ability to implement protocols and remedies that would preempt these criminal acts against children from occurring, is child advocate Chairman Llorente’s Policy Council. It is anticipated that Chairman Llorente, a rising star in Florida’s political arena who has aspirations to be elected the next mayor of Miami in 2011, will agenda Florida’s ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ in the coming days. Throughout his impactful political career, which included being elected one of Florida’s youngest lawmakers ever, Representative Llorente has demonstrated a long history of acting for the best interest of children in the state.

Florida resident and one of the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ bill’s lead supporters, Captain William Lake, has been fighting desperately for nearly six years for the legal return of his young daughter who was criminally abducted to the international child abduction safe-harbor nation of Japan said, “April 11th will be my daughter’s 13th birthday. Over six years of her life have been stolen from the two of us. I am both sad that this bill wasn’t around to help me and happy that the passage of this into law will help prevent this kind of theft happening to any other parent and victimized child. As the plague of divorce sweeps across our nation, it’s time for the family courts to realize that the best interest of the child is just that: the best interest of the child. This bill will safeguard our children’s safety and their inalienable rights to the love of a parent who is desirous and capable of providing nurturing love and support back to that child.”

Carolyn Ann Vlk, the indefatigable Floridian mother from St. Petersburg who has written the model legislation after realizing the state of Florida had limited laws that would assist in preventing her child from being internationally abducted by the child’s other parent after repeated threats made to do so said, “It is undeniable that all children should be guaranteed the right to protection from abuse, harmful influences and exploitation. The unanimous approval the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ has received at both the Senate and the House levels illustrates that the policy makers of Florida agree. I remain hopeful that SB 1862 and HB 787 will soon become model legislation that can be utilized by other states to create or improve their child abduction prevention laws. We ask that you recognize our children’s often silent voices and contact your legislators today in support of this critical legislation.”

‘Chasing The Cyclone’ author and the producer/narrator of ‘Chasing Parents: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction’ Peter Thomas Senese added, “It is common sense that preemptive action against any hardship may lead to a dramatic reduction or end all-together that hardship. In medicine, it is demonstrated and accepted that preemptive healthcare and healthy lifestyles reduces illness. In this same light, preemptive child abduction laws would dramatically reduce the number of crimes against both child and targeted parent. This is a common-sense bill for all involved, and the likely cost savings to the state would be substantial due to a reduction of resources allocated for court and law enforcement expenditures related to an actual abduction and the ensuing recovery efforts. Not mentioned is the massive – not substantial – but massive amount of money Chasing Parents who race across international borders would save when they attempt to rescue and bring safely home their child. Unfortunately, on international cases of child abduction, the victimized parent is on their own financially as there are limited government resources available to assist them in bringing their child home – even though these types of abductions typically break both state and federal law. Imagine that: your child is criminally stolen to a foreign country, and if you don’t have the financial resources to fight the fight, in more likelihood, you’ve lost your child. Now consider your child is stolen and taken outside of the country by the other parent, but you have no idea where the child is. Well, at that point, unless you privately raise an army to find your child, you will never see that son or daughter again. So, with great enthusiasm, I am very pleased to know that the lawmakers of Florida are listening to the voices of both abducted children and parents affected by the crime of abduction who have worked tirelessly to have this bill passed into law. The ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ is unquestionably in the best interest of the children of Florida. Finally, on a personal note I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the bill’s sponsors, Representative Darryl Rouson and Senator Eleanor Sobel, for their hard work and demonstrated leadership in their endless advocacy for children.”

Charles Hamilton, a Chasing Parent said, “My child was illegally internationally parentally kidnapped in December 1996 to Spain during a divorce in which the courts were alerted by me with substantial evidence that my former spouse was about to abduct my child. This included evidence of two one-way airline tickets in the name of my spouse and child. Unfortunately, the Spanish Embassy in Los Angeles issued my former spouse new passports, which made it very easy for my former spouse to steal my daughter, Dakota Carmen Hamilton. If preventive laws existed at the time, I am sure that the love of my life, my daughter, would not have been criminally abducted. Florida’s law is critical for the children of the state.”

Florida resident and writer of the groundbreaking Synclair-Cannon California state child abduction prevention law observed, “’The Child Abduction Prevention Act’ aims at hindering an escalating crime that victimizes thousands of children each year in Florida. Courts and legal experts concur that parental abduction is child abuse, yet the court system often ignores the blatant red flags of parental kidnappings. Because of the preemptive measures that HB 787/ SB 1862 offers, I believe Tallahassee has the answer to reduce the number of children illegally pulled away from their homes by giving the courts proper direction on how to stop this crime. This House and Senate bill must become law.”

According to various government and private institute reports, it is estimated that slightly under 400,000 parental child abductions occur in the United States each year. Of this, it is anticipated that nearly 10,000 international cases occur, many of which are not reported or accounted for.

Parental Child Abduction is a crime against innocent, defenseless children that are reliant upon laws in each state to protect their safety. The Florida ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ bill, if passed into law, will guard against child abduction in the state.

The children’s advocates and lawmakers who support this bill urge you to sign the petition in support of the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’. It can be found at