In 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25 as National Missing Children's Day. Each year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) commemorates Missing Children's Day with a ceremony honoring the heroic and exemplary efforts of agencies, organizations, and individuals to protect children.
Missing Children’s Day is dedicated to encouraging parents, guardians, caregivers, and others concerned with the well-being of children to make child safety a priority. It serves as a reminder to continue our efforts to reunite missing children with their families and an occasion to honor those dedicated to this cause.
2019 National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest Winner: is Madison Dozier, Reiley Elementary School in Alexandria, Kentucky.
2019 Missing Children's Day Ceremony
About the annual Ceremony
The Department of Justice's 2019 commemoration of National Missing Children's Day will take place on May 22, 2019, in Washington, DC. The annual event, organized by OJJDP, honors the memory of missing children and recognizes extraordinary efforts made by law enforcement personnel and private citizens to protect children from harm.
Save the date! On May 22, 2019 at 2 p.m. E.T., the U.S. Department of Justice will live-stream the National Missing Children's Day ceremony honoring the heroic and exemplary efforts of agencies, organizations, and individuals to protect children.
Awards to be presented this year include the Attorney General's Special Commendation, Missing Children's Law Enforcement Award, Missing Children's Child Protection Award, and Missing Children's Citizen Award. The winner of the National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest will also be recognized. The contest is intended to promote awareness and encourage teachers, parents, guardians, and other adults to engage children in discussions about safety.
More information on the live-stream will be posted to the OJJDP home page on May 22. After the event, the recording will be available on OJJDP's YouTube channel.
The winner of the 2019 National Missing children's Day poster contest is Madison Dozier from Reiley Elementary School in Alexandria, Kentucky. In 2019, fifth graders from 33 states submitted winning artwork from their state to this annual poster contest.
2019 Poster Contest
About the Contest
2019 National Missing Children's Day ceremony, hosted by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), will be held on May 22, 2019. With an annual theme of "Bringing Our Missing Children Home," OJJDP invites fifth graders each year to participate in the Missing Children's Day poster contest. The annual contest creates an opportunity for schools, law enforcement, and child advocates to discuss the issue of missing and/or exploited children with youth, parents, and guardians and to promote child safety.
Each state hosts its own local poster competition, and the winning poster from each state is submitted to OJJDP for selection as the national winner. OJJDP invites the winning child, his/her teacher, parents and state clearinghouse manager to Washington, DC to participate in the National Missing Children's Day commemoration in May. The winning poster is the inspiration for the National Missing Children's Day poster and artwork for the following year.
Contest Submission Information
OJJDP's Missing and Exploited Children's Training and Technical Assistance Program collaborates with OJJDP to coordinate the poster contest and ceremony. Contest rules, contact information for state contest managers, discussion materials, and additional information are available. Prospective participants should check with their state contest manager for the state submission deadline. The national deadline for states to submit their winning poster was March 5, 2019.
View National Missing Children's Day posters from previous years dating back to 2000.
Each year, the U.S. Department of Justice, through OJJDP, recognizes individuals, organizations, and agencies that have made a difference in recovering missing and abducted children and protecting children from exploitation.
The Department recognizes the awardees each May at the annual National Missing Children's Day ceremony in Washington, DC. During the ceremony, these awards will be given for the following:
To learn more about the award recipients and their efforts, access the Department of Justice news release.
OJJDP Rocks One Sock
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, funded by OJJDP, encourages citizens to Rock One Sock each May to increase public awareness of missing children.
Watch the Rock One Sock Video
2015 Commemorative Stamp
In May 2015, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) issued a Forget-Me-Not stamp to increase public awareness of missing children and ways in which members of the public can assist in search efforts.
The stamp shows a group of purple forget-me-nots along with a lone flower and features the words "Forget-Me-Not" and "Help Find Missing Children."
Access OJJDP publications and resources available on missing children. Learn more about the OJJDP-supported AMBER Alert system, help available for families, and OJJDP's partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.