A number of organizations and agencies in both the public and private sector work with parents whose children are missing. These agencies can provide information, assistance with photo and flier production and distribution, referral services, and investigative resources to you, your family, and law enforcement.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)
NCMEC serves a variety of functions:
Distribution of pictures and posters of missing children nationwide.
Provision of information and technical assistance to citizens.
Provision of training, technical assistance, and technical support to State missing children's clearinghouses and to State and local law enforcement agencies.
You can call NCMEC to get copies of its intake and release forms mailed or sent to you via fax and to get information on how you can have a color picture of your child posted on NCMEC's Web site, distributed to NCMEC's photo partners, and printed on fliers for you to distribute.
NCMEC also manages and coordinates Project ALERT (America's Law Enforcement Retiree Team), a free consultation service on missing children cases for law enforcement agencies.
National Center for Missing and
Association of Missing and Exploited Children's Organizations (AMECO)
AMECO is a national association of missing and exploited children's organizations that work together to serve and protect missing children and their families. You can call AMECO to find out the names of nonprofit missing children's organizations -- both in your community and throughout the country -- that can provide assistance and support to you and your family.
Association of Missing and Exploited Children's Organizations
Other Nonprofit Organizations
A number of private nonprofit organizations provide services to families whose children have been abducted. Before you contact such an organization, however, ask NCMEC or AMECO to tell you which organizations meet their requirements for certification or membership. You might also want to talk with your law enforcement contact and with the parents of other missing children. Be wary of organizations that promise they can find your missing child, that request payment for these services, or that are unknown in this field.
Ask your law enforcement contact to arrange to have a victim's advocate come to your home to explain your rights and to explore the counseling, treatment, and related services available to you. Victim's advocates are usually associated with the offices of the sheriff, the State prosecutor, or the district attorney. If you have access to the Internet, you can find a list of victim advocacy and compensation groups at the Office for Victims of Crime Web site (www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc). Federal Resources on Missing and Exploited Children: A Directory for Law Enforcement and Other Public and Private Agencies (see Recommended Readings) also contains a list of victim's advocate services and organizations.
Talking with parents who have survived a similar ordeal can help you regain your sanity and increase your effectiveness in the search for your child, for only they can truly understand your pain and anguish. The parents who helped to write this Guide are willing to talk to you. To contact any of the parent authors, call the Missing and Exploited Children's Program at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (202-616-3637). Other victim help groups are listed in Federal Resources on Missing and Exploited Children: A Directory for Law Enforcement and Other Public and Private Agencies (see Recommended Readings).
In addition, the Parent Resource Support Network has been created through a grant funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. This network can connect trained parent volunteers who can provide advice, assistance, and encouragement to other parent victims. For more information about the program, call the Missing and Exploited Children's Program at the number listed above.
Local businesses in your community can provide a number of goods and services that will be needed in the search for your child. In addition, with permission you can post your child's picture in store windows, on doors, and on the backs of trucks. See chapter 5 (Volunteers) for a list of the types of organizations and businesses that may be willing to help.
Many Federal agencies provide technical support and services to law enforcement and other public and private agencies to aid in the search and recovery of a missing child. A comprehensive list of these services is available in Federal Resources on Missing and Exploited Children: A Directory for Law Enforcement and Other Public and Private Agencies (see Recommended Readings). The agencies listed below, which have been referenced throughout this Guide, provide support and/or investigative services to missing and exploited children and their families.
Missing and Exploited Children's Program
The Missing and Exploited Children's Program provides support to several missing and exploited childrenÔs organizations, including NCMEC, AMECO, and the Parent Resource Support Network; provides technical assistance and training to law enforcement to improve their investigation of missing and exploited children cases; produces reports to improve services to missing and exploited children and their families; and conducts research related to missing and exploited children. For information about any of these activities or the organizations listed above, call the Missing and Exploited Children's Program at the phone number listed below.
Missing and Exploited Children's Program
Office for Victims of Crime (OVC)
OVC makes awards each year to State crime victim compensation and assistance programs to supplement State funding for victim services. Crime victim compensation is the direct payment to a crime victim or to his or her family to help cover crime-related expenses, such as medical treatment, mental health counseling, lost wages, or funeral services. Every State administers a crime victim compensation program, and most programs have similar eligibility requirements and offer a comparable range of benefits.
Crime victim assistance programs provide direct services, such as crisis intervention, counseling, emergency transportation to court, temporary housing, and criminal justice support and advocacy. For information about these programs, contact your local crime victim compensation program or crime victim assistance program. Federal Resources on Missing and Exploited Children: A Directory for Law Enforcement and Other Public and Private Agencies (see Recommended Readings) contains a listing of all State offices.
Office for Victims of Crime
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Child Abduction and Serial Killer Unit
The Child Abduction and Serial Killer Unit (CASKU) is a rapid response element of the FBI's Critical Incident Response Group. Following a request by a law enforcement agency, CASKU staff can provide operational assistance to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation of a child abduction.
Morgan P. Hardiman Task Force on Missing and Exploited Children
The Morgan P. Hardiman Task Force coordinates Federal law enforcement resources to assist State and local authorities investigating the most difficult cases of missing and exploited children.
The Office of Crimes Against Children and the Office of Indian Country Investigations work closely with FBI Field Offices and other FBI components to coordinate operational support to more effectively address crimes against children. The FBI Field Offices house Crimes Against Children Coordinators, who use all available investigative, tactical, forensic, informational, and behavioral science resources in the investigation of crimes against children. CASKU services can be obtained through the local FBI Field Office.
Missing Children's Clearinghouses1
Missing children's clearinghouses are State government agencies connected with law enforcement. Because the types of services available in each State vary substantially, you need to call your State clearinghouse to find out both what services are available to help you in your search and whether the clearinghouse will distribute photographs of your missing child. Then you can call other State clearinghouses in your region and throughout the Nation to compare services and take advantage of those not available to you in-State. Keep a list of what you learn about each clearinghouse in a spiral notebook for later use.
Alabama Department of Public Safety
Alaska State Troopers
Arizona Department of Public Safety
Arkansas Office of the Attorney General
California Department of Justice
Colorado Bureau of Investigation
Connecticut State Police
Delaware State Police
District of Columbia
D.C. Metropolitan Police Department
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Georgia Bureau of Investigation
Idaho Bureau of Criminal Identification
Illinois State Police
Indiana State Police
Missing Person Information Clearinghouse
Kansas Bureau of Investigation
Kentucky State Police
Louisiana Department of Social Services
Maine State Police
Maryland Center for Missing Children
Massachusetts State Police
Michigan State Police
Minnesota State Clearinghouse
Mississippi Highway Patrol
Missouri State Highway Patrol
Montana Department of Justice
Nebraska State Patrol
Nevada Office of the Attorney General
New Hampshire State Police
New Jersey State Police
New Mexico Department of Public Safety
New York Division of Criminal Justice Service
North Carolina Center for Missing Persons
North Dakota Clearinghouse for
Missing Children Clearinghouse
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
Oregon State Police
Pennsylvania State Police
Rhode Island State Police
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division
South Dakota Attorney General's Office
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
Texas Department of Public Safety
Utah Department of Public Safety
Vermont State Police
Virginia State Police Department
Washington State Patrol
West Virginia State Police
Wisconsin Department of Justice
Wyoming Office of the Attorney General
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The ORI numbers following many of the clearinghouses in this list are assigned by the National Crime Information Center to law enforcement agencies for administrative purposes.
1. The ORI numbers following many of the clearinghouses in this list are assigned by the National Crime Information Center to law enforcement agencies for administrative purposes.
OJJDP Report: When Your Child Is Missing: A Family Survival Guide, May 1998