Special Feature: Missing Children

graphic with child's silhouette clutching a teddy bear with text: Bringing Our Missing Children Home Safely

Every day, in communities across the country, children are abducted by people they know, by family members, by people they have met online, by acquaintances, and by complete strangers.

Unfortunately, since many children are never reported missing, there is no reliable way to determine the total number of children who are actually missing in the U.S. However, when a child is reported missing to law enforcement, federal law requires that child be entered into the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Crime Information Center (NCIC). In 2016, there were 465,676 NCIC entries for missing children

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.

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.

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.

To learn more, select a topic from the section at the right under the "Missing Children" heading to view publications and related resources.