Congressman Smith’s child abduction legislation passes through subcommittee
By Christopher Robbins, NJ.com
WASHINGTON – A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step – for federal legislation, that first step is usually passage through a congressional subcommittee.
Legislation on the parental abduction of American children overseas was passed by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, chaired by Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th).
“The damage to the child and the left behind parent is incalculable and too often life-long,” Smith said. “The children especially are at risk of serious emotional and psychological problems and may experience anxiety, eating problems, nightmares, mood swings, sleep disturbances, aggressive behavior, resentment, guilt and fearfulness. Parental child abduction is child abuse. These victims are American citizens who need the help of their government when normal legal processes are unavailable or fail. Too many families have been waiting too long.”
Smith introduced the legislation last week before hearing the testimony of ‘left-behind’ parents who remain in the U.S. while their children were abducted overseas. Several New Jersey families testified to the Subcommittee about their kidnapping ordeals and the heartbreak of being separated from their children.
The legislation, called the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2013, will next go to Foreign Affairs Committee.
The bill is named after David Goldman, of Tinton Falls, and his son Sean, who was abducted to Brazil by his estranged mother for five years only to be returned in . It would empower the president with new penalties to inflict on countries who refuse to return American children, and 18 new tools to try to secure their return.