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Up Must Knows

What To Do Before Your Child Is Missing
What To Do When Your Child Is Missing

What To Do Before Your Child Is Missing

Keep a good recent picture and description of your child. You may think, "Why would I need a description of my own child?" First off, dealing with a missing child does not lend itself to clear thinking. Secondly, even trained professionals have a hard time estimating height and weight of a subject. Don’t think so? Try this, you and your mate each write down a description of your child. Compare what the two of you have written, and then compare it to your child. You may be surprised at the results. A recent photo that really looks like the child is very important. If you have access to a scanner, it is a good idea to have a scanned image of the picture. I like having it in a GIF file format. More on that later.
It is also a good idea to have a photo and personal ID information with you at all times. If a child vanishes while you at a mall or some other place it helps to have the information right from the start. The first couple of hours is so important in the disappearance of a child. So keep a copy in your purse or the glove compartment of your auto.

Keep an up to date list of your child’s friends and their phone numbers. You might think you know all of your child’s friends, but this is probably not true, especially if you are dealing with an older child. It might also be a good idea to have two copies of this list. The child we were recently searching for took the list that the family kept near the phone with her when she ran away.

Get to know your child’s friends and their parents. These days just because you know the child’s last name doesn’t necessarily mean you know their parents. Some families have several different last names involved. If your child disappears, you may find yourself wasting valuable time tracking down their friends that you thought you knew.

A list of any important medical conditions and/or necessary medicines. This can also help with the filing status of a missing child alert. Is your child depressed or angry over something? You will need to be honest with officials when you are filing a report.
Make sure that your children know how to call you collect. We have just closed a case that when the children were returned they stated that they could have called a couple of times but weren't sure how to call collect. It would also be a good idea to have them also know how to call a back up number such as a Grand Parent or a trusted family friend.
When on vacation have a CHECK IN number back home. (Make sure everyone knows how to use it to call in case one of you become separated.
It is a good idea to contact your children's school and request that if your child ever fails to show up for school you wish to be called and even giving them an extra number to call in case they are unable to reach you. Most schools do this anyway but some times they wait for a couple of cases before calling. Let them know that you want to be notified ASAP if you child is absent from his/her first case. Then if your child is ill or going to miss school for some reason, REMEMBER to let the school know before his/her first case of the day.
Know and check all the adults that are in an authority role with your children. From teachers, couches, Daycare Providers.
Talk to your children, let them know that you want to know what goes on with people they have contact with. If a child knows that they can talk to a parent about anything, this is your best line of defense in protecting your child.


What To Do When Your Child Is Missing

Call the police. The age of the child will play a part in how long you wait before calling the police. Obviously your level of concern will differ if you are looking for a 5-year-old that is missing for an hour, or if your teenager is an hour late. When your level of concern is great enough that you think about "if you should call the police", you are ready to call the police about a missing minor, the police have to take the report immediately.  The Missing Children Act of 1982, Public Law 97-292, and the National Child Search Assistance Act of 1990, Public Law 101-647, prohibit policies that establish waiting periods for police reports and require the entry of missing children information into the NCIC database. (You may have to remind the police of this when dealing with smaller police departments.

What to have on hand when you call. The list of the friends' phone numbers, and a tablet for yourself to make notes. A recent picture, a good description of your child and a good description of what your child is wearing. Be sure to give the police all known details. Where was your child last seen? Who was he or she with? Is there a reason to heighten the status, such as if your child is ill? Or feeling suicidal? Does he or she have a medical condition that makes danger imminent? Try to promote and maintain a line of contact with the police officer in charge of the case. Make sure you get the case number and the department's phone number.

Call the The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. (1-800) 843-5678 They will take your child’s name and the factors of the case. They will also ask for the police case number, and they will look in the computer to see if the report has been sent via computer to all the law agencies. If your child then comes into contact with the police anywhere, it will let the officers know that the child has been reported as missing.

Stay in touch with your child's friends. When call your child’s friends, be careful not to come on too strong. You may make them clam up and not talk to you at all. You need to get a rapport with them so that they will talk to you if they do know something. Contact family members and be prepared for the fact that your child may have over dramatized any issues that you are having. Also keep in mind that one of your other children or family members may know where the child is and won't tell you. This may happen because your child has told them he or she would run away again or harm themselves if they are forced to go home.

Make flyers and webpages. Local office stores may make copies of them for free. E-mail us at forthekids We will make web pages for free of charge with your child's picture on it. We will also try to help find someone who will hang the flyers in other cities where your child may have run to. Some good places to start are the grocery stores and at truck stops. Most truckers would be happy to hang or leave flyers with someone if they are traveling that way.

Call your local phone company. If your child calls home, dial *69 after the call is over and get the phone number. This service varies in different areas, your phone company will be able to give you the information that you need. If this does occur, dial immediately when you hang up before you get another call. You may also be able to get a list of your phone calls if you think your child may have called long distance to someone.

If the child has access to your bank account with an ATM card contact your bank ASAP. Request that the limit of withdrawals be lowered to 10 or 20 dollars. This will allow the child access to money to eat but more importantly give you a chance to track their location. Request that they flag the account to track the account. They may have to contact their system person, but it can be done. Have them notify you When & where your card is being used.


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