It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, but it happens every single day around the world. Children go missing and parents are left picking up the pieces and trying to find a missing child in a world much larger than they ever fully thought possible. If you are a parent of a missing child, we hope you will find solace here as you connect to other parents and spread the word about your child. It’s our hope that through this site, parents will find hope and children can come home again.
Running away is the most common reason for children to go missing. The second reason results in family abductions, which usually occur when a non-custodial parent takes a child without the permission of the other parent.
The reasons that some family abductions occur is heartbreaking and scary, but they don’t all have to be. Sometimes it turns out that there really wasn’t any abduction at all and the whole situation actually stems from nothing more than a misunderstanding. There are some things both parents can do to make sure no one ever thinks a child has been mistakenly abducted.
No matter how bad the split might have been, or how much you now dislike your former partner, you have to realize that you’re going to be connected forever through the life of your child. You need to come up with a way to at least be civil enough to communicate with one another about any plans you might have that impact your child’s schedule. The communication has to happen between both parents, the child can’t be expected to act as a reliable go between, no matter how responsible they might be.
As the custodial parent you have to realize that you can’t make life for your ex overly difficult, no matter how tempting it might be. You can’t make them feel like they’re being backed into a corner or that their time with their child has been threatened and that taking the child without your permission is the only way they can spend any time together.
The best way to make sure that you never find yourself in the middle of a child abduction case will be checking in with the family court and alerting them to changes in routine and plans. Having a paper trail is never a bad idea.
Anyone with even an ounce of emotion feels a chill whenever they hear about an Amber Alert being put in motion. Everyone knows what the words mean, and hopes that the situation has a happy ending.
Even though the words Amber Alert terrify people there’s no getting around the fact that when it comes to reuniting missing children with their families, it’s been an incredibly effective tool. Prior to the creation of the program, there odds of finding a missing child were bleak. Perhaps the most famous example of the Amber Alert system working was the discovery of Elizabeth Smart. Even though it still took months to locate her, her father credits the program with her eventual discovery and worked hard to make it a national program.
The program is designed in such a way to put every single member of various law enforcement agencies in contact with one another and alert them to the situation. As soon as the Amber Alert has been issued, all the various law enforcement groups put their differences aside and work together to find the child.
In addition to being a useful tool to bring law enforcement agencies together, the Amber Alert also lets civilians know about the situation and to be on the lookout for the child. The amount of information provided over the public service announcements is incredible and has resulted in more than one child from being quickly discovered.
Knowing you child has gone missing is a heart breaking, mind numbing event. Being accused of taking the child can be just as bad. The speed that the Amber Alert system allows missing children to be found eases the stress both sides of the story feel.
When you become a parent, you suddenly find yourself worrying about everything. One of the things that will prey on your mind is whether or not your child will ever become the victim of a kidnapping. There are things you can do to lessen the odds of that happening.
From the very beginning you need to make it very clear to your child that they can never get in a car with a stranger that they shouldn’t even go near one. With shy children this generally isn’t a problem but outgoing kids who like people can be another story. You can test them by having friends of yours who they don’t know well offer them rides. If the child refuses, reward them. If they forget themselves, you will have to remind them about what they should and shouldn’t do.
If your child is approached by stranger that makes them feel uncomfortable, encourage your child to scream as loud as they can. Most child predators run away at the first scream. Not only will screaming deter child predators, but practice sessions make great family memories.
As your child gets older and starts demanding more independence, you need to create a pattern of checking in with them and having them report their plans. You need to know who they’re going to be with, where they’re going, and what they’ll be doing. Get them into the habit of checking in with you at a specified times. Not only will this save you some anxiety, it will also make the teenage years easier since they will already be in the habit of checking in with you.
Approximately 800,000 kids get reported missing every single year. Strangers have kidnapped some of these children, non-custodial parents have taken some, and some are teenagers who, for whatever reason, have run away. As the parent of a teenager there are some things you can do to lessen the chances of your teenager running away from home.
One of the best ways to keep them home is making sure they’re busy. This doesn’t mean you should overwhelm them with household chores, but you should encourage them to be involved with lots of activities. Band, 4-H, FFA, choir, sports, boy scouts, and other clubs and activities, including after school jobs will keep them close to home.
Be on the lookout for signs that something isn’t right. Teenagers are moody, but they shouldn’t suddenly give up everything they’ve loved, experience a complete personality change, or replace their old friends with new ones. If you notice a huge change in your teen, it’s time to step in and figure out what’s going on in their lives.
Be aware of their friends. You should recognize them on sight and have a strong enough relationship with them that you’re comfortable asking what they’re doing and will notice changes in their behavior. Being close with the parents of your teenager’s friends is also a good idea.
It’s better to be nosey and occasionally disrupt your child’s life when you suspect something is bothering them, than having them runaway. If you think there’s a chance that they might run away from home you need to step in and do something about the situation right away. If they won’t tell you what’s troubling them, you need to enlist the help of family counseling.
The number of kids who just disappear every single year is astonishing. It’s estimated that more than 800,000 disappear every year. Strangers have abducted some of these kids, some are runaways, and many were kidnapped by parents who did not have legal custody. Some find their way home, but others never do. There are things you can do to help look for the children who’ve been lost.
National Center for Exploited and Missing Children has a website with a list of kids who’ve gone missing over the years. Visit the website and spend some time studying their faces, if you recognize anyone, even if it’s been several months since you saw them, you should contact the organization. Even an old lead is better than no lead at all.
The bigger the town you live in, the great the chances of them having an group that’s devoted to finding missing children. Offer to volunteer. Even doing the most basic tasks, such as filing information or sweeping the floor can be a huge help and could help a broken family reunite with their child.
Talk to your employer about the possibility of creating a Code Adam Program. The National Center for Exploited and Missing Children created the Code Adam Program to help train people about what to do when there’s a report of a missing child.
If you don’t have time to volunteer with a program you can always make a financial donation.
If someone you know is missing their child, the best thing you can do is to offer your support and love while also keeping your eyes and ears open for any information that could reunite parent and child.