Florida Takes Giant Step Forward Toward Passing 'Child Abduction Prevention Act' Bill

The State of Florida’s legislatures are voicing their grave concern over the growing criminal epidemic that is known as parental child abduction.
By: William Cooper
March 22, 2010 - PRLog -- Today in Tallahassee, the House of Representative’s Committee on ‘Public Safety And Domestic Security Policy’, led by Committee Chairman Kevin Ambler, voted Unanimously on child advocate and House Representative Darryl Rouson’s House sponsored bill known as ‘The Child Abduction Prevention Act’ (HB787).

The next step for this critical legislation is for the bill to now be placed on the Senate’s Judiciary Committee. Committee Chairman Senator Negron is anticipated to place SB1862 before the Judiciary Committee in the upcoming weeks. Two weeks ago, the ‘Senate’s Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee’s unanimous vote of eight ‘Yeas’ and zero ‘Nays’ in support of passing the proposed act that defines risk factors related to a potential parental child abduction, and offers remedies that the Florida courts should consider when dealing with a potential parental child abduction.

Senator Eleanor Sobel is the Senate’s sponsoring legislator of the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’.

Representative Rouson has worked tirelessly in trying to bring to light the hardship innocent children victims must endure in the wake of a parental abduction. In sponsoring the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’, Representative Rouson has made it clear that children shall no longer be used as pawns to inflict abuse by the act of one parent criminally abducting a child against court orders from the other parent.  

Carolyn Ann Vlk, the author of the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’, stated today, “By identifying risk factors and preventative measures of abduction, it will be possible to reduce the number of families touched by the tragedy of child abduction. I am pleased by the committee’s unanimous decision to move this important legislation forward so we may finally protect Florida’s children and families. We as a group have worked very hard at trying to educate others about the seriousness of this growing problem. It appears that our voices are being heard. I hope that one day soon, the Child Abduction Prevention Act’ will be passed into law, and the great state that I live in will send a message of intolerance to all those who chose to not act in the best interests of our children. Parental Child Abduction is a serious and grave crime against both child and Chasing Parent. It is not to be tolerated.”

Representative Darryl Rouson, the guiding legislative force behind the bill said today, “This is a common sense bill that passed unanimously because it strengthens protection for our vulnerable children and worried parents. We are overjoyed that more abductions will be prevented. There is more work to be done; however, I am confident by the clear vote today that my fellow lawmakers in the wonderful state of Florida will realize how critical this bill is in the name not only of our children, but by passing this bill into law, a message of leadership and intolerance will be heard across the country. No child should be abducted if we can prevent this crime from happening. ‘The Child Abduction Prevention Act’ will stop many abductions.”

Ken Connelly, author of ‘Throwing Stones’ said, “After meeting with many Senators and Representatives, I am more confident that Florida’s legislators are aware of the problem of parental child abductions. I am hopeful that Florida will pass this bill into an act of law. The fact that there was a second unanimous vote is a clear indicator that legislatures are finally listening to the voice of those who have insight into this crime. The lawmakers in Florida have demonstrated great leadership that I am sure many other states in our nation are paying attention to. Today was a big victory for children everywhere. But this law must get passed.”

Captain William Lake, who also appeared before the House Committee guided by Representative Kevin Ambler said, “I am excited by the actions of the committee members today, and I will be returning to Tallahassee over the next month to make sure this good bill is signed into law. It is satisfying that the issues of education and prevention are coming into light. It is only through preventive laws that we will see a dramatic reduction in this crime against our children.” Captain Lake is a Chasing Parent who presently has a child who was criminally abducted to the non-Hague signatory country of Japan; a country known as a safe-harbor for child-abductor nationals. Today, Captain Lake continues to fight the fight needed to bring his child home.

Peter Thomas Senese, the author of ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ and producer of the documentary film ‘Chasing Parents: Racing Into The Storms of International Parental Child Abduction’ added, “Today, a clear call to arms was heard in Florida’s legislature that child abduction will not be tolerated. I applaud my friends Carolyn Ann Vlk, Ken Connelly, and Captain Lake in their efforts to educate others of this serious crime. It is through our efforts as advocates of children that our experienced concern and understanding has awakened the righteous hand of lawmakers, who are mothers and fathers, and children too. I commend Representative Kevin Ambler for his superior guidance today at the ‘Public Safety And Domestic Security Policy’ committee level. And unquestionably, Representative Darryl Rouson’s tireless and completely committed willingness to have this bill passed into law says so much about his willingness to protect the children of the state. Up next, are two more committees: one in the House and one in the Senate. But it is becoming clear: the citizens of Florida and its policymakers will no longer tolerate child abduction. There is great leadership coming out of Florida in the name of protecting our children. And the world today is not only watching, but it is applauding.”

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