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Special Feature: Missing Children

swing with shadow of child

The problem of missing children is varied and complex. Children go missing due to a variety of reasons, making missing children cases complex and multifaceted. Children may have been abducted by a family member or a stranger, may have run away, or they may be lost.

Regardless of how a child became missing, the response to missing children's cases must be swift, efficient, and effective. Timing is crucial, as a rapid response increases the chance of successfully resolving the case.

Created in 1996, America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) Alert Program is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies, and the wireless industry to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child abduction cases. The goal of an AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and the safe recovery of the child.

Families traumatized by abduction are faced with the simultaneous challenge of quickly marshaling all available resources to recover their missing child while dealing with the devastation of their loss. It's important for these families to know that there are resources available to help them from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and others.

For example, with support from OJJDP, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) serves as an information clearinghouse and resource for families to help find missing children, reduce child sexual exploitation, and prevent child victimization.

President Ronald Reagan first proclaimed May 25 to be National Missing Children's Day in 1983. It has been recognized as such every year since.

National Missing Children's Day is dedicated to help remind parents, guardians, other trusted caregivers, and adult role models to make child safety and well-being a priority. It can be used to show appreciation for those who dedicate themselves to finding and safely bringing home those who may be missing. It serves as an annual reminder to the nation to continue efforts aimed at reuniting missing children with their families.

Select a topic from the "Missing Children" box for additional information and resources produced or sponsored by OJP and other federal sources.

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