What to do if your child is missing?

What is done within the first 24 hours that a child is missing is critical and can make all the difference in the outcome. There are very specific steps that you should take to help improve the likelihood that your child is found safe.

• ACT IMMEDIATELY! If your child is missing from home, search the house thoroughly (closets, pile of laundry, in and under beds, inside old refrigerator, basement, attic; backyards—basically anywhere they could be hiding.) If you cannot find your child, IMMEDIATELY call your local law enforcement agency/911.

• If your child disappears in a store you should IMMEDIATELY notify management or security. Many stores have a Code Adam plan of action which means employees will quickly mobilize to look for a missing child. Of course, call 911 if your child is not located.

• When dealing with law enforcement, it is critically important that you note how your child is listed on the police report. This will dictate how much or little media attention your child receives. A vast majority of children of color are typically listed as runaways on police reports and consequently will most likely not receive an amber alert.

• After you have reported your child missing to Law enforcement, call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on their toll-free number, (800) THE LOST (800-843-5678).

• Another thing to do immediately is to make sure your child’s information has been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Missing Persons file in case they are transported across state lines. 

 

Adapted from Just in Case...Missing Copyright©1985 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)

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