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. Dont 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
Keep an up to date list of your childs friends and their phone
numbers. You might think you know all of your childs 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.
|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
|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.|
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 childs 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 childs
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
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.