Have you and your children recently escaped an abusive household? If you are ready to enroll your children in daycare, read more to recognize the risk of abduction associated with domestic abuse, and what to do to protect your children during their attendance at a daycare facility.
Understand the Risk of Abduction
Of all the children abducted in the United States annually, 78 percent of them are taken by non-custodial parents. These abductions often stem from abusive individuals trying further abuse, manipulate, and control spouses who have left them. Find out if your children are at high-risk of being abducted by your ex-partner. If so, it's crucial you take the following steps before placing your children in daycare.
Get a Restraining Order
While your ex-partner may have lost custody of your children, this doesn't necessarily mean that he or she can't attempt to contact them; you'll need a restraining order to terminate all contact. If your children are at risk of abduction, it's important to fill the restraining order out in such a way as to keep their location unknown to the non-custodial parent.
Visit your local courthouse to fill out the paperwork. Clearly state in the order that your ex-partner should be prohibited from contacting your children at daycare, attempting to obtain any records or documentation concerning your children from daycare, or speaking to daycare personnel about your children. Do not list the name or address of the daycare your children will be attending. The restraining order will be served to the non-custodial parent upon completion, and you don't want them to know where your children will be spending their time.
Go Over Details With the Daycare Provider
A copy of your restraining order and a photo of the non-custodial parent (if possible) should be included in every one of your children's daycare files. Your daycare provider should be informed that your children may be at high-risk for abduction so they know to watch for any unusual circumstances taking place. All employees at the daycare facility should be instructed to phone the police immediately if they see the non-custodial parent on or near the grounds.
While violence only occurs in roughly 15 percent of parental abductions, there is a chance that your daycare provider may be forced to surrender your children to their non-custodial parent in order to prevent immediate harm to them or other children. You'll want to inform the daycare provider that, in this event, they should contact both the police and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) immediately. The NCMEC can issue an amber alert to get everybody in your area involved in the search and recovery of your children.
Enroll Your Children in the Passport Issuance Alert Program
Oftentimes, non-custodial parents who abduct children will attempt to flee to other countries to avoid capture. Fortunately, should this happen, you can make sure your children don't get on that plane with your ex-partner. Contact the Department of State and ask to enroll your children in the passport issuance alert program. Under the program, you provide proof that you are the legal guardian of your children, and if an application for a passport is submitted for them, both you and the police will be notified immediately.
Abusers sometimes use the abduction of children to seek revenge on partners who have left them; if you've been the victim of domestic violence, your children are at risk. While only 7 percent of parental abductions occur at schools or daycare facilities, you've got to do everything you can to limit the risk and keep your children safe from your former partner.