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About National Missing Children's Day

2018 Missing Children's Day Logo. Bringing Our Missing Children Home Safely

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.

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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.

2018 Award Ceremony

The 2018 Missing Children's Day Ceremony took place on May 23, 2018, in Washington, DC. During the ceremony, awards were given for the following:
  • Attorney General's Special Commendation
  • Missing Children's Law Enforcement Award
  • Missing Children's Citizen Award
  • Missing Children's Child Protection Award

2018 Missing Children's Day Ceremony May 23, 2018

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. OJJDP staff will show our support by wearing one sock and sharing pictures on social media using the hashtag #RockOneSock. You can show your support for missing children and their families by joining us. ROCK ONE SOCK!  Watch the Rock One Sock Video

Poster Contest

2018 National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest Winner Eden Hoffmann's artwork. Features the theme: Bring Our Missing Children Home.  Eden Hoffmann is from Huron Elementary School in Clinton Township, Michigan.

With an annual theme of "Bringing Our Missing Children Home," OJJDP invites fifth graders each year to participate in 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. View the gallery of national posters from previous years.

2018 Poster Contest

OJJDP's Missing and Exploited Children's Training and Technical Assistance Program collaborates with the U.S. Department of Justice to coordinate the poster contest and ceremony. Contest rules, contact information for state contest managers, and additional information is available at .

For the 2018 contest, fifth graders from 37 states across the country submitted entries that won at their state level.

The winner of the 2018 poster contest is Eden Hoffmann from Huron Elementary School in Clinton Township, Michigan.

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MP4 Version

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Hear from a Previous Winner

View the video at the right to learn about the history of the National Missing Children's Day poster contest, the importance of having students participate, and how to get involved.

The 2007 winner, Rachel Stevenson, shares her experiences on winning the contest and expresses why she believes it is important to raise awareness for missing children's issues.

2015 Commemorative Stamp

Forget-Me-Not 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.

Connect With OJJDP

Stay Connected with OJJDPStay Connected with OJJDP to receive updates on the National Missing Children's Day Awards, poster contest and events by subscribing to the JUVJUST listserv, the bimonthly online newsletter OJJDP News @ a Glance, or follow OJJDP on Twitter or Facebook.