NCCUSL LEGISLATIVE REPORTER:
New Campaign Launched to Enact UCCJEA in Final States!
by National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws
March 22, 2004
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) has been adopted in 35 states. While this is certainly a respectable enactment total, it should be higher.
For those states which have yet to enact this important legislation, there is more help available. In the last issue of the NCCUSL Legislative Reporter, we told you about the Polly Klaas Foundation (PKF) and its endorsement of the UCCJEA. The PKF is a nonprofit organization based in Petaluma, California, that is dedicated to helping locate missing children and to prevent them from going missing in the first place. It was founded 10 years ago after the abduction and murder of Polly Klaas, a 12-year-old girl from Petaluma .
The PKF has helped in a number of states where the UCCJEA is pending in the legislature, by either writing letters to legislators, or meeting personally with legislators and other interested organizations to talk about the necessity of passing the UCCJEA. The PKF has recently started a new campaign called Stop Family Abductions Now. The launch of this campaign in March was accompanied by the launch of their new website " www.stopfamilyabductionsnow.org " where the UCCJEA is prominently highlighted.
The home page of this website states:
"Nearly 80% of all abducted children in the U.S. are kidnapped by a family member...
You can help prevent it!
When a child is abducted by a parent or family member, the trauma can leave scars that never heal. Believe it or not: 78 percent of all child abductions occur when a parent or family member kidnaps their own children, and yet this crime is not even a felony in every state. Today, you can be a part of the solution. Take action to make sure that every state passes the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) "a law that prevents parental abductors from obtaining custody orders outside of the child's 'home state' and gives law enforcement authorities new powers to help prevent family abductions."
The website also contains information for policymakers stressing the importance of enacting the UCCJEA. Stop Family Abductions Now even has a letter that they will send on a citizen's behalf to members of the state legislature urging them to "work for the passage of the UCCJEA."
Please take the time to check out this website — it may be a great help to you when the UCCJEA is introduced in your state.
For further information about the UCCJEA, or about how the Polly Klaas Foundation can help you in your efforts, please contact Michael Kerr or Katie Robinson in the Chicago office. You can contact Michael directly at 312-915-0107 (email firstname.lastname@example.org) or Katie at 312-915-5962 (email email@example.com). Remember, you can download a copy of the act, along with other supporting materials, at any time from our website at www.nccusl.org.