Corman Bill to Enact the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act Passes Senate

The State Senate unanimously approved child protection legislation sponsored by Senator Jake Corman (R-34) that is intended to prevent child abductions in custody dispute cases.

Senate Bill 1449, the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act, provides courts with guidelines to follow during custody disputes and divorce proceedings. The guidelines help courts identify families at risk for abduction, as well as provide a method in which a party to a child custody order may seek, through a petition process, a supplemental order establishing anti-child abduction measures.  The petition for additional measures must be based on a credible probability that abduction is possible.

“Perhaps most importantly, this legislation will allow for interstate cooperation and federal notification in disputes where abductions can occur or have occurred,” said Corman. “In cases where child abduction is possible, this step is paramount, providing the tools needed for courts, law enforcement and parents to quickly take control of an abduction situation.”

For example, courts may provide orders restricting travel across country and state lines and include measures such as placing a child’s name in the United States Department of State’s Child Passport Issuance Alert Program.  Additional steps allow for the court to issue a warrant to search relevant databases of the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and similar state databases, to determine if either the petitioner or respondent has a history of domestic violence, stalking, child abuse or neglect.

“More than three out of four cases of missing children involve abduction by a family member – usually a parent,” Corman said.  “This bill is intended to prevent these cases and give courts better tools in responding to this threat.”

Scott Sikorski