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 direct you to more information and resources that may help return your abducted child to the United States.

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


If possible, collect the documents and information listed here to make the most of your call. It is not necessary to have all these documents at the time of the call. You can also e-mail 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. We will also monitor developments concerning your child’s case by coordinating with our foreign counterparts.
  • 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 our 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 is still in the United States, or on the way to another country, our officers may be able to:

  • Work with law enforcement 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), NCMEC can assist in responding to abductions in 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 your child.

Last Updated: May 17, 2024