Missing and Exploited Children

Revised October 2008 – Community Concerns

Each year thousands of children disappear. Most return home safely. Many do not. They are runaways, throwaways, or victims of parental or stranger abduction. Others are exploited at home by family members or acquaintances. Many of these children either turn to crime to survive or are criminally exploited by people who will abuse them and profit by their vulnerability. Law enforcement agencies, schools and the general public need to work together to ensure all steps are taken to identify and find missing and exploited children and return them to a safe environment.

Role of the PTA

PTA supports continued funding for missing children’s programs, including support for programs that explore the extent of the problem of missing children, circumstances involving stranger and non-custodial parent abduction, effective preventive measures, and supportive and rehabilitative services.

PTA supports state and national missing children information centers/clearinghouses and the prompt reporting by law enforcement agencies of children reported missing.

Recommended Actions

Review California State PTA Position Statement, Missing and Exploited Children, (Where We Stand: Position Statements). See “Minors” in the Advocacy Topic Index for related resolutions or guidelines.

Provide parent education programs; include current information and preventive education in the area of missing or exploited children.

Work with local law enforcement agencies, school districts, and the business community to provide free fingerprinting/DNA clinics for children of all ages.

Work with the school principal to encourage school districts to offer a fingerprint program for children enrolled in kindergarten or newly enrolled in the school district. All fingerprinting is subject to the consent of a parent or guardian.

Work with the school principal to implement personal safety education programs for students.

Partner with community organizations on projects concerning missing and exploited children.

Encourage local media to broadcast PSA information concerning missing or exploited children.

Additional Resources

Federal Juvenile Justice, Runaway Youth and Missing Children Act (as amended 1984). Authorizes a missing children’s program to assist parents and local law enforcement agencies in locating missing children. Establishes clearinghouse and grant program to provide technical assistance. Provides education and prevention programs relating to missing and exploited children. Includes parents and representatives of parent organizations as a membership category for Juvenile Justice State Advisory Groups (SAGS).

Child Safety Network (www.csn.org)
FBI – Kids and Youth Education Page – Crime Prevention (www.fbi.gov/)
International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (www.icmec.org)
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (www.missingkids.com)
National Crime Prevention Council (www.ncpc.org)
Vanished Children’s Alliance (www.vca.org)

For more information

California Missing Children Clearinghouse; 1.800.222.FIND or www.caag.state.ca.us/missing/content/clearinghouse.htm

Polly Klaas Foundation; 1.800.587.4357 or www.pollyklaas.org

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; 1.800.THE.LOST or www.missingkids.com

California Attorney General’s Office, Crime and Violence Prevention Center; www.caag.state.ca.us and http://safestate.org; Materials, pamphlets, camera-ready masters, current photo files. Information on Megan’s Law, registration, and public information.

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