Mother of Abducted Toddler Helps Other Parents Survive


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For Immediate Release

May 22, 2017 – Over 2 million parents in the United States have experienced a missing child.

Each day a parent dies due to the stress and heartbreak of losing their child to divorce, abduction or being taken into foster care. In Australia, the numbers may be as high as 22 estranged fathers per week. US military veterans suffering from PTSD are numbered among the parents who end their lives due to the loss of contact with their children.

In Strength for Parents of Missing Children, Marie White went beyond her own pain to impart hope, help, and healing for parents with missing children. She also contacted experts in the fields of abduction, parental alienation, grief, and divorce, to contribute to the book.

“98% of Children come home,” White said, “What if the children come home and their parents aren’t there because they’ve committed suicide?”

Hurting parents need a guidebook by a parent who has lived through the very thing they are experiencing.

Now parents of missing children and the people who love them have a resource to make it through the darkest days.

“It doesn’t matter why a child is missing from your life, the emotions are still the same. Sometimes just surviving is a victory.”

Strength for Parents of Missing Children: Surviving Divorce, Abduction, Runaways and Foster Care spent its first two weeks at the top of the hot new releases on Amazon, is a #1 best seller, and has over a dozen 5 star reviews.

Get your copy today at http://a.co/aStVM9x.

Australia: family lawyers have praised a new support initiative in NSW courts, as well as the family law funding commitment in the federal budget.


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Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC launched the Family Advocacy and Support Service (FASS) in Western Sydney on Wednesday.

The service appoints duty lawyers who have an understanding of trauma to some of the busiest courts that deal with family law matters in the state. The lawyers are on hand to help people navigate family law disputes and deal with their associated legal needs.

Legal Aid NSW received Commonwealth funding to establish the FASS under the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children.

“Coming to court can be a tremendously stressful experience – and when parenting disputes involve allegations of family violence, there is so much at stake,” said Legal Aid NSW Family Law Director Kylie Beckhouse.

“This innovative approach will keep children and parents safer by offering the right support at a crucial time, with an emphasis on practical measures to keep them safe.”

Ms Beckhouse said the FASS duty lawyers will assist people with issues such as child abduction and disputes over custody, as well as related legal needs such as obtaining domestic violence orders.

“Family Advocacy and Support Service lawyers will ensure the voices of family violence victims are heard – whether that is by helping gather evidence so that courts have access to a more complete picture of a family’s situation, or by representing a parent in an urgent application,” Ms Beckhouse said.

“But it also goes beyond providing much-needed legal support to treat the client as a whole person, with a unique story and a unique set of social and practical needs that extend well past the courtroom door.

“This approach recognises that families affected by violence may also have complex non-legal needs in areas like housing and mental health.”

Family lawyers were also pleased with the government’s $80 million commitment to frontline family law services in the federal budget, as well as the announcement this month of the first comprehensive review of the Family Law Act in 40 years.

Heather McKinnon, who leads Slater and Gordon’s family law practice group, said the introduction of parental management hearings and extra family consultants could reduce the pressure on the courts.

“Australia used to have a world-class family law system, but more recently the courts have been overwhelmed by smaller parenting disputes that divert attention away from more serious cases,” Ms McKinnon said.

“To put it in context, sometimes a judge will hear a school drop-off dispute next to a case involving allegations of physical violence or drug addiction.”

She said the family consultant trial program in Sydney’s Parramatta, which was included in the budget, could improve outcomes for children by effectively providing a ‘triage’ service for the Family Court.

“In our experience, most disagreements occur between very young parents, with many descending into screaming matches where what’s best for the children is forgotten,” Ms McKinnon said.

“Relationship breakdown is incredibly difficult for children and fighting in court for three years is just going to make things harder, so triaging these smaller issues is going to remove some of the pressure on judges and also be less stressful for children.

“The pilot family consultant program in Parramatta will provide quantitative evidence of what works and what doesn’t, so we can avoid the knee-jerk reactions that have caused many of the current problems plaguing Australia’s family law system.”

USA/ Canada: Mother Sentenced to Prison for Taking Child from Illinois to Canada in International Parental Kidnapping Case


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Washington, D.C.-(ENEWSPF)- A Canadian woman was sentenced to serve 26 months in prison following her December conviction for international parental kidnapping, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Patrick D. Hansen of the Central District of Illinois.

Sarah M. Nixon, 48, of Montreal, Canada, was sentenced before U.S. District Judge Colin S. Bruce of the Central District of Illinois. On Dec. 21, 2016, a federal jury found Nixon guilty of one count of international parental kidnapping for taking her minor child from the United States to Canada in July 2015, with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of the father’s rights.

Evidence at trial established that after a custody trial where it was apparent that Nixon would lose custody of her six-year-old daughter, Nixon fled the United States with the child in the middle of the night. When she did not appear for the custody ruling and neither she nor her daughter could be located, law enforcement issued a child abduction alert. Nixon and the child were eventually located in a farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. Authorities then returned the child to the father. Nixon was arrested in New York on Sept. 20, 2015 as she attempted to return to the United States.

Trial Attorneys Elly M. Peirson and Lauren S. Kupersmith of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section prosecuted the case. The FBI; Urbana, Illinois, Police Department; University of Illinois Police Department; Illinois Department of Children and Family Services; Ontario Provincial Police; and U.S. Customs and Border Protection investigated the case, with assistance from the Champaign County, Illinois, State’s Attorney’s Office and the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs.

USA: What’s being done to keep kids safe at school pick-up points?


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The biggest child custody problem is parental interference.

It became a real issue for Henderson County schools in March when a non-custodial parent allegedly kidnapped her daughter from Flat Rock Middle School.

Selena Bishop is charged with felony child abduction.

A school system like Henderson County has 13,500 students going to and from school every day.

School officials said the front desk staff are literally the gate keepers and the key to keeping everyone safe.

“Y’all need some help over here?” questions mom Debra Kuykendall.

“He’s too big,” yells her daughter Ella as they play at Hands On! in Hendersonville.

Kuykendall knows trusting someone else with your child is never easy.

“Maybe I’ll get her temperature while you do that huh?” she asks her daughter’s friend who’s come out with them.

Second-grader Ella Kuykendall recently traded her home classroom for Hillendale Elementary, unnerving mom, Debra.

“It was a big thing to let go of that. I’ve always been in control of her education so,” said Kuykendall.

Kuykendall still supervises drop off and pick up.

“We just have a cardboard paper with her name on it and her grade, and, when I get there, they call her name to come out,” said Kuykendall. “They have several people standing guard that are there every day, they know, they’re familiar with who picks up who.”

In March, a 12-year-old Flat Rock Middle School student’s non-custodial parent removed her without permission from Flat Rock Middle School, leading to a child abduction charge. That’s when another parent with custodial concerns asked News 13, “how can schools safeguard students in situations like this?” We took it to the district.

“While a custody order or custody agreement is really an arrangement between the parents and the court, schools are often responsible for maintaining that, adhering to that in that respect, so it is very much a part of our children’s lives,” said Dr. John Bryant, Henderson County Schools Associate Superintendent for Administrative Services.

News 13 questioned, what’s to stop somebody who maybe shouldn’t be taking a child from school, from putting that child’s name in the car, driving through the line and picking that student up?

“Well, the placard system is often times school-issued and pretty specific. I can give you an example from my own experience as a school principal. We were the ones that printed those cards. Often they have a water mark or something very specific, a font or a color that is unique to that year,” said Bryant.

News 13 then questioned, if school staff doesn’t recognize somebody, what is the protocol?

“Someone may arrive, for example, who a school staff doesn’t recognize or might have concern about. Typically, what happens is in those car check out systems, someone arrives who doesn’t have the card. That person is directed to park their vehicle. They’re directed to go inside,” said Bryant.

Bryant continued, “At an elementary school, we’re dismissing directly to an adult. If you go to a middle school, you’ll see in the afternoon as students are leaving in a car rider line, they are kind of responsible for identifying the adult they’re responsible for leaving with. In a high school, you might see students leaving themselves.”

That’s for after school car riders. But News 13 also wanted to know what happens when someone checks a child out early? School policy requires them to show their IDs.

About half of Henderson County Schools have additional layers of security, in the form of the Ident-A-Kid system. It was installed at Flat Rock after the pickup problem in March.

“There’s a database that it goes through to determine if there’s any type of legal issue or if they’re a predator of any sort,” said Flat Rock Middle Interim principal William Reedy.

It checks criminal background and child safety databases. But schools can’t set it to watch for unauthorized pickups. That falls to office staff and another state system.

News 13 questioned, the district has thousands of kids, though, so how do you keep up with all of that information?

“The way that we keep up with that is making sure parents again know the importance of communicating that to us, regular and ongoing training with our staff and we’re very fortunate to have student information systems that allow us to keep that information and provide alerts where necessary,” said Bryant.

Bryant said parents with custodial concerns can opt to skip the line altogether and set up an in-school pick up, regardless of age.

Henderson County Schools are evaluating whether it’s worth putting the Ident-A-Kid system in all schools. Schools without Ident-A-Kid use Google Docs or an I-Pad to sign kids in and out.

School doors at Henderson County Schools are also locked, and News 13 found schools asking parents to identify themselves before being allowed into the building.

USA / Canada: Urbana woman gets 26 months for parental kidnapping


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URBANA — An Urbana woman has been sentenced to 26 months in prison for international parental kidnapping.

Sarah M. Nixon, 48, was convicted in December when a federal jury found her guilty of taking her minor child from the United States to Canada in July 2015.

A Department of Justice release said after it became clear to Nixon that she would lose custody of her 6-year-old daughter, she fled with her in the middle of the night. After a child-abduction alert was issued, they were eventually found in a farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada, and the child was returned to the father, University of Illinois Professor George Gasyna.

Nixon was arrested in New York in September 2015 as she attempted to return to the U.S.

UK: Man charged with attempted abduction of two children


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A man has been charged with attempting to abduct two girls in Falkirk.

On Friday evening, police detained a 50-year-old man on Glenburn Road in Hallglen.

The girls were reportedly playing at a park when a man on a bike asked for help looking for his jacket in nearby woods on Friday evening.

STV understands a neighbour said they saw the children start to leave with the man and intervened.

Officers we called at around 4:50pm following calls from members of the public about a disturbance.

Enquiries into the incident are on-going and detectives would like to thank the public for their assistance.

The 50-year-old man is due to appear in Falkirk Sheriff Court on Monday May 22.

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South Africa: Western Cape has the most number of missing kids


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Cape Town – The Western Cape has the most number of children reported missing for the sixth consecutive year, statistics from Missing Children SA show.

Between December 2015 and August 2016, 53 children were reported missing in the Western Cape, of which 48 were found.

The province with the second most children reported missing is Gauteng.

 

The report revealed that 59.8% of missing cases were for unknown reasons; 36.5% were runaways; 0.5% were kidnapped; 2% were as a result of parental abduction; and 0.2% were due to human trafficking.

Of a number of children reported missing since the start of this year, some have been found dead.

These children include Rene-Tracy Roman of Lavender Hill; Stacha Arendse of Mitchells Plain; and Courtney Pieters of Elsies River.

Meanwhile, Shasha-Lee November, who went missing two years ago at the age of 6, has still not been found.

She disappeared while playing outside her home in Hanover Park.

Searches for a missing Kleinvlei teen ended happily on Sunday when she was found nearly 70km away in Wellington.

Leonie Kammies, 13, was found at her biological mother’s house, said police spokesperson Andre Traut.

Cape Times