Chapter 4: Missing and Exploited
Children's Program


Major New Publications

MECP produces many publications to help parents, social service professionals, law enforcement, and others who work with missing and exploited children. A series of Portable Guides was developed during the past 2 years to help police officers and medical and social service professionals investigate child abuse and neglect cases.

The Portable Guides were developed for personnel most immediately involved in investigating allegations of crimes against children: police officers, attorneys, social workers, physicians, and psychologists. The compact size of the guides (5 inches by 9 inches) allows them to be stored easily in the glove compartment of a police cruiser. Each guide is written in clear, concise language and includes lists, tables, charts, and sample forms with information that can be assimilated quickly and easily. They were written by recognized experts in each subject area. OJJDP published 11 Portable Guides during the past 2 years:

  • Battered Child Syndrome: Investigating Physical Abuse and Homicide.
  • Burn Injuries in Child Abuse.
  • Child Neglect and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.
  • Criminal Investigation of Child Sexual Abuse.
  • Diagnostic Imaging of Child Abuse.
  • Interviewing Child Witnesses and Victims of Sexual Abuse.
  • Law Enforcement Response to Child Abuse.
  • Photodocumentation in the Investigation of Child Abuse.
  • Recognizing When a Child's Injury or Illness Is Caused by Abuse.
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Child Sexual Abuse.
  • Understanding and Investigating Child Sexual Abuse.

OJJDP has received many letters praising the series and numerous orders for the guides. Police and county sheriff's departments, district attorney and judicial offices, State courts, children and youth services agencies, and many others have requested multiple copies of the guides to use in training. One child protective services unit, for example, requested 900 sets to be used for training. Two additional guides are currently being developed: one on a multidisciplinary team approach to investigating child abuse and another on computers and the sexual exploitation of children.

A teacher who teaches a graduate class in classroom management says OJJDP's document Recognizing When a Child's Injury or Illness Is Caused by Abuse is "exactly what my students have been asking for. They are constantly asking how to identify when a child may be abused."

Graduate-Level Teacher
Greenville, SC

Another publication well received by the field was a resource manual released in 1996. Federal Resources on Missing and Exploited Children: A Directory for Law Enforcement and Other Public and Private Agencies puts a wealth of information at the fingertips of personnel who serve these children. It describes the many investigative resources, publications, training and technical assistance opportunities, and services available to law enforcement and other public and private agencies that serve missing and exploited children and their families. The resource manual contains extensive information about services available from a variety of Federal agencies. It also provides quick and easy access to the resources available during the investigation of missing and exploited children cases. The manual provides practical tools for practitioners in the areas of child sexual exploitation, child pornography, child abductions, and missing children cases. More than 18,000 copies of the manual have been distributed nationwide to law enforcement and child-serving agencies.

In 1996, OJJDP released a special report, Special Joint Report: Federal Agency Task Force for Missing and Exploited Children, that describes the many accomplishments of the Federal Agency Task Force for Missing and Exploited Children, established in 1995. The task force includes representatives from the U.S. Departments of Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Justice, State, and Treasury; the U.S. Postal Service; and NCMEC. The report summarizes the agencies' individual and collective efforts and highlights steps that have been taken to better protect and support missing and exploited children and their families.

OJJDP and NCMEC also published A Report to the Nation: Missing and Exploited Children. It describes individual State action plans and advisory memorandums and suggests ways to improve State and local responses to missing and exploited children cases. The report has been sent to all State governors and attorneys general. It is available from JJC.

OJJDP also provided funds to the ABA for the development of Juvenile and Family Court Journal, Jurisdiction in Child Custody and Abduction Cases: A Judge's Guide to the UCCJA, PKPA, and the Hague Child Abduction Convention. The publication examines the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act.

During the past 2 years OJJDP released Fact Sheets on various topics, including parental kidnapping, Department of Justice programs for missing and exploited children, and a summary of MECP. NCMEC also produced numerous publications for parents, social services, and juvenile justice personnel who work with missing and exploited children. Publication topics ranged from advice for parents selecting babysitters to a Case in Point series for criminal justice professionals that examines case histories of convicted serial child molesters. These documents are available from NCMEC.

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OJJDP Annual Report August 1998