The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) commemorated
2011 National Missing
Children's Day poster
the 28th annual National Missing Children's Day
on May 25, 2011, with a ceremony at DOJ's Great Hall in Washington, DC. The ceremony, planned and managed by OJJDP, honored missing children and recognized the efforts made by law enforcement personnel and citizens to protect children from harm.
Speakers at the ceremony included James Cole, Deputy Attorney General; Ernie Allen, President and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC); and Mika Moulton, the parent of an abducted child and founder of Christopher's Clubhouse, a community safety education program. OJJDP Acting Administrator, Jeff Slowikowski, made the opening and closing remarks.
Speakers at DOJ's National Missing Children's Day ceremony included (from l. to r.) Jeff Slowikowski, OJJDP Acting Administrator; Mika Moulton, founder of Christopher's Clubhouse, a community safety education program; James Cole, Deputy Attorney General; and Ernie Allen, President and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
The U.S. Department of State's Special Advisor for Children's Issues, Ambassador Susan Jacobs, brought a video message
by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in recognition of National Missing Children's Day. "At the State Department, we are committed to preventing child abduction and to helping the children and families caught up in these very complex situations. Our dedicated staff in the Office of Children's Issues works everyday to support families and children at risk," Secretary Clinton said. "In 2010, for example, we helped more than 575 children return to their homes and families, both in the United States and in countries around the world." To read the full text of Secretary Clinton's remarks, see the sidebar
According to NCMEC, an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing in the United States every yearmore than 2,000 children each day. Twenty-eight years ago, President Ronald W. Reagan proclaimed May 25 as National Missing Children's Day in memory of Etan Patz, a 6-year-old boy who disappeared from a New York City street corner on that day in 1979. He is still missing.
National Missing Children's Day honors the memory of children who are still missing, celebrates the stories of recovery, and pays tribute to the exemplary efforts of agencies, organizations, and individuals engaged in protecting children.
"National Missing Children's Day is a reminder to all parents and guardians of the need for high-quality photographs of their children for use in case of an emergency, [and for] vigilant efforts by the public to pay close attention to the posters, AMBER Alerts, and posted photographs of missing children," said Deputy Attorney General Cole.
Deputy Attorney General James Cole (center) presented the Attorney General's Special Commendation Award to (from l. to r.) Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Medetis, Southern District of Florida; Special Agent Tim Aucoin, U.S. Secret Service, Miami; Detective Felix Mendigutia, Hialeah Police Department (Florida); and Detective Gary Jackson, Miami Police Department.
Cole presented awards to recognize the outstanding efforts of law enforcement personnel and citizens who have made a difference in recovering abducted children and protecting children from exploitation. The awards and recipients included:
- The Attorney General's Special Commendation Award: Detective Gary Jackson, Miami Police Department; Detective Felix Mendigutia, Hialeah Police Department (Florida); Special Agent Tim Aucoin, U.S. Secret Service, Miami; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Medetis, Southern District of Florida. These individuals were involved in the identification and location of a sexual predator and four child victims he was sexually abusing. The defendant received a 130-year prison sentence.
- Missing Children's Law Enforcement Award: Sheriff David Barber, Knox County, OH, Sheriff's Office. Barber coordinated a high-profile investigation including federal, state, and local law enforcement that led to the safe recovery of an abducted 13-year-old girl.
- Missing Children's Citizen Award: Heather Picklesimer, U.S. Postal Service, Ducktown, TN. Her work with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service led to the successful recovery of a missing infant.
- Missing Children's Child Protection Award: Detective Dana Ward, York City Police Department (Pennsylvania). Detective Ward was a primary investigator in a 2010 case in which two York parents were arrested and charged with five counts of child endangerment after they hid their five children in a squalid row house with no heat, electricity, or running water.
Julianna Hinton of Oak Grove Elementary School, Hattiesburg, MS, won the Missing Children's Art Contest Award. Her artwork will be used as the basis of the poster for next year's National Missing Children's Day.
Acting OJJDP Administrator Slowikowski officially released three new publications
- The Spanish-language translations of The Crime of Family Abduction: A Child's and Parent's Perspective, which offers insights into how an abduction of a child by a family member affects the child and the family; and When Your Child Is Missing: A Family Survival Guide, 4th ed., one of the resources most widely requested and used by families of missing and abducted children.
- The latest edition of Federal Resources on Missing and Exploited Children: A Directory for Law Enforcement and Other Public and Private Agencies, a guide to the services, programs, publications, and training offered by the 16 federal and 2 nonfederal agencies that make up the Federal Agency Task Force for Missing and Exploited Children.
For more information about these publications, see the New Publications section in this issue.
The ceremony began and concluded with performances by the Benjamin Orr Elementary School Choir of Washington, DC. The Office of Justice Programs has had a relationship with the Orr School since 1991 as part of DOJ's volunteer outreach program.
Transcript of Hillary Rodham Clinton's Video Remarks
Last year, parents abducted nearly 2,000 children to or from the United States. That's 40 children taken from their homes and from their loved ones each week. Abductions traumatize children, their parents, friends, and family. International Parental Child Abduction is a painful scourge for so many, and it is something that deeply concerns me.
At the State Department, we are committed to preventing child abduction and to helping the children and families caught up in these very complex situations. Our dedicated staff in the Office of Children's Issues works everyday to support families and children at risk. We help parents access the tools available to prevent international abductions, such as our Passport Issuance Alert Program.
When an abduction does occur however, we work with parents to identify the appropriate response and find the resources that can help bring their children home. In 2010, for example, we helped more than 575 children return to their homes and families, both in the United States and in countries around the world.
This work extends beyond individual families. So, we are encouraging foreign governments to join us as parties to The Hague Convention on Child Abduction. Today we are treaty partners with 68 countries, and we want that number to grow. This convention is a necessary tool for resolving these difficult cases and giving more children the opportunity to come home.
On this National Missing Children's Day, let's continue to stand up, speak out, and do our part to keep our most vulnerable citizens safe. And let's help children around the world come home.