Foreign Affairs:

Federal Response to International Parental Child Abductions

T-NSIAD-00-44: Published: Oct 14, 1999. Publicly Released: Oct 14, 1999.

Additional Materials:


Benjamin F. Nelson
(202) 512-3000


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the federal response to international parental child abductions, focusing on: (1) problems with the federal government's response to parental child abduction; and (2) how the federal government is attempting to improve its response.

GAO noted that: (1) there are a number of problems and issues related to the federal response to international child abduction; (2) these problems have been identified by the key agencies involved--the Departments of State and Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children--as well as left-behind parents and others; (3) together, they present obstacles to left-behind parents in their attempts to locate, gain access to, and return their children; (4) four problems and issues have received substantial attention: (a) gaps in federal services to left-behind parents, which make it difficult for parents to recover their abducted children; (b) weaknesses within the existing State Department case-tracking process, which impair case and program coordination; (c) lack of systematic and aggressive diplomatic efforts to improve international responses to parental child abductions; and (d) limited use of the International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act of 1993 to pursue abducting parents and bring them to justice; (5) the State and Justice Departments have developed recommendations, which they believe will address most of the problems if implemented; (6) while GAO found that action has been taken to implement a number of the recommendations, many await further action and most require resource commitments; (7) in addition, some of the recommended actions are not expected to be implemented for several years; and (8) these shortcomings raise questions about the likelihood the recommendations will be put in place.

Dec 9, 2020

Dec 2, 2020

Nov 19, 2020

Nov 9, 2020

Oct 27, 2020

Oct 2, 2020

Sep 22, 2020

Sep 15, 2020

Sep 14, 2020

Looking for more? Browse all our products here