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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76415 Find in a Library
Title: Legislative Beginning to Child-snatching Prevention
Journal: Trial  Volume:17  Issue:4  Dated:(April 1981)  Pages:36-38,63
Author(s): H H Foster; D J Freed
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 4
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Major issues relating to child snatching are addressed, and significant legislative reform in this area is described in the article.
Abstract: If there is sufficient public concern over child snatching to warrant legislative and judicial action there are two main issues to be addressed. First, most parental victims of child snatching need law enforcement and other assistance in finding the fugitive and the child. Second, legal procedure and substantive law must be reformed to eliminate incentives for child abduction. Significant progress has been made in both areas. The enactment of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) in 44 or 45 States provided that home State jurisdiction became the normal basis for both original and modification jurisdiction, and deference was given to the home State. However, a need for Federal intervention in order to cope with the problem remained. The UCCJA is of little value unless the whereabouts of the child are discovered. In response to remaining legislative shortcomings, Congress passed the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980. The act has three main aspects. The full faith and credit mandate is made specific with reference to prior custody orders and decrees; the use of Federal and State parent locator service, originally available only in child support cases, is extended to child snatching cases; and the past administrative policy of excluding child snatching cases from the ambit of the Federal Fugitive Felon Act is reversed so that child snatching will be recognized as a felony when there is interstate or international flight. Access to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is thus made available. Two obstacles remain with regard to enforcement. These obstacles include the reluctance of the FBI to get involved in family disputes and the fact that only about 50 percent of the States make child snatching a felony. In addition, the new law is of limited help in the absence of a court order or warrant, and international child snatching problems have not been resolved. The latest noteworthy development in the child snatching area is the effort by the American Bar Association to obtain adoption of the UCCJA in the States where it has not yet been enacted. Five references are included.
Index Term(s): Child Abduction; Child custody; Jurisdiction; Kidnapping; Law reform; Laws and Statutes; Parental rights
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=76415

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