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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 Nominations

The deadline for 2018 award nominations was January 24, 2018. Nominations were being accepted for the following categories:
  • Attorney General's Special Commendation
  • Missing Children's Law Enforcement Award
  • Missing Children's Citizen Award
  • Missing Children's Child Protection Award

2017 Missing Children's Day Ceremony May 24, 2017

2017 Award Recipients

Congratulations to the award winners. Access the Department of Justicenews releaseorwatch the recordingof the 2017 Missing Children's Day Ceremony to learn more about the 2017 award recipients and their efforts.

Poster Contest

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.

2018 Poster Contest

Submissions were due to state managers by February 21, 2018.

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 https://ncjtc.fvtc.edu/mcd .

2017 Poster Contest

2017 Winning Poster by Audrey Link of Lakeland, Florida
2017 Winning Poster
Audrey Link
Lakeland, Florida

For the 2017 contest, fifth graders from 34 states and the Aviano U.S.Air Force Base in Italy submitted winning poster contest entries.

The winner of the 2017 poster contest is Audrey Link from Resurrection Catholic School in Lakeland, Florida. See the gallery to view the winning national posters from previous years. View poster contest state submissions for 2017 and previous years.

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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.