U.S. Department of Justice

Office of Justice Programs

Office of the Assistant Attorney General

    Washington, D.C. 20531

A Message from Assistant Attorney General Deborah J. Daniels

Nearly 800,000 children are reported missing each year, for a variety of reasons: some children run away, others may become lost or injured, and still others are abducted.

Most child abductions—more than 200,000 annually—are committed by family members, who are seeking to interfere with a parent's custodial rights. Of the non-family abductions, totaling 58,200 annually in the United States, nearly all (98%) of these children are returned to their families safely. Only a small percentage are those every parent most dreads: those we call "stereotypical kidnappings," in which the child is kept overnight, held for ransom, or killed. However, in these cases in particular, the first few hours after the abduction are critical. This Guide provides parents with important tools to assist them in the safe return of their children.

I am pleased that the publication of this updated edition of When Your Child Is Missing: A Family Survival Guide coincides with Missing Children's Day. The U.S. Justice Department, through its Office of Justice Programs, is honored to support this valuable effort to help ensure the safety of the nation's children.

    Deborah J. Daniels' signature
   Deborah J. Daniels
   Assistant Attorney General

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When Your Child Is Missing: A Family Survival Guide OJJDP Report • May 2004