How the U.S. State Department Can Help if Your Child is Abducted Overseas

Contact the Office of Children’s Issues

You can speak with a country officer in the Office of Children’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State. Our officers can provide information and direct you to resources that may help return your abducted child to the United States.

Call during 8:15 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 
EST: 1-888-407-4747 
from the U.S. & Canada
1-202-501-4444 from abroad

If you can, collect the documents and information listed here to make the most of your call. However, it is not necessary to have all of these documents at the time of the call. You can also email us at

What the State Department Can Do:

  • We can provide you with information about various resources that may assist you in your efforts to return your child to the United States;
  • If your child is abducted to a country that is a Hague Abduction Convention partner country, we can accept your Hague application and monitor developments concerning your child’s case through the Foreign Central Authority;
  • We can provide a list of attorneys  in the country where your child is located;
  • We can answer questions from local and federal law enforcement about the Department’s role in international child abduction cases;
  • We can facilitate your communication with other U.S. government agencies and non-governmental organizations that may be able to assist you;

Abductions in Progress

If your child has just been abducted and is still in the United States, or is enroute to another country, our officers may be able to:

  • Work with law enforcement officials to prevent your child from departing the United States;
  • Work with our overseas embassies and foreign officials to stop your child from entering a foreign country.
  • Facilitate your communication with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC),, which plays a lead role in responding to abductions within the United States.

Note: Steps to Stopping an Abduction in Progress

Learn more in our FAQs

What the State Department Cannot Do:

  • Take custody of a child;
  • Help someone break any laws in the United States or a foreign country;
  • Break any laws in the United States or a foreign country;
  • Pay legal fees, court costs, or any other fees associated with litigation;
  • Provide legal advice or recommendations about how to proceed;
  • Represent you in court;
  • Provide a place to stay or assistance to anyone who tries to take self-help measures to recover the child

Last Updated: September 28, 2020