As part of the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, the Office of Children’s Issues actively engages in two issues that cross international borders: intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction. In this work, we are fully committed to protecting the welfare and interests of children. We serve as the U.S. Central Authority for two multilateral treaties:
The State Department assists parents as they seek to provide a home to orphans abroad through intercountry adoption by offering country specific information about the adoption process and by advocating for greater protections for adoptive parents and children abroad. Learn More
International Parental Child Abduction
The State Department has no higher priority than to safeguard the welfare of U.S. citizens abroad, the most vulnerable of whom are children. We believe that courts in children’s habitual residences are best placed to make custody determinations and therefore it is our priority to return children who have been abducted to or wrongfully retained in countries outside their countries of habitual residence are returned to their home countries. Learn More
Office of Children's Issues at the U.S. Department of State
Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:15 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.
Do not Attempt
We strongly discourage trying to take your child and bring him or her back home because this could:
- Endanger your child and others;
- Have a negative effect on any future legal action you might wish to take in that country;
- Result in your arrest and imprisonment in a foreign country where you are subject to local laws.
If you do succeed in leaving the foreign country with your child, you and anyone who assisted you may be the target of arrest warrants and extradition requests in the United States or any other country where you are found.