After several years of consideration, Congress enacted H.R. 3212, the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2014, named for the New Jersey child and father whose story had extensive news coverage before Sean was returned from Brazil to his father's custody in December 2009.
The new legislation has transferred ICARA - the substantive law implementing the Hague Child Abduction Convention - to Title 22 of the U.S. Code, where the statutory provisions are now located at 22 U.S.C. § 9001 et seq. The new law has also repealed the previous requirement of an annual Hague Abduction Compliance Report (in 42 U.S.C. § 11611) and instituted a new Annual Report to be prepared and submitted to Congress by April 30 of each year (see 22 U.S.C. § 9111). The Act outlines new responsibilities for the State Department, including written notification to members of Congress when their constituents report an abduction to the Central Authority (see 22 U.S.C. § 9114). The new law also mandates that the Secretary of State take certain diplomatic actions in response to "patterns of noncompliance" by countries with which the United States has treaty relationship under the Hague Abduction Convention or any similar bilateral agreement (see 22 U.S.C. § 9122).
With this legislation, Congress has widened its focus, looking to countries and cases that fall outside the scope of the Hague Abduction Convention. Within six months, the State Department must "initiate a process to develop and enter into appropriate bilateral procedures, including memoranda of understanding, as appropriate, with non-Convention countries that are unlikely to become Convention countries in the foreseeable future" ( see 22 U.S.C. § 9113). The Goldman Act also requires the State Department to seek to provide training "on the effective handling of parental abduction cases to the judicial and administrative authorities" in countries with significant numbers of unresolved abduction cases or a pattern of noncompliance with treaty obligations, and includes an appropriation of $1 million per year in fiscal years 2015 and 2016 for this purpose.