Tuesday, January 19, 2010

May 25 - National Missing Children's Day

President Ronald Reagan declares May 25th National Missing Children's Day in 1983.

First proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan and observed by every administration since, May 25th is the anniversary of the day in 1979 when 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from a New York street corner on his way to school.
His story captivated the nation. His photo, taken by his father, a professional photographer, was circulated nationwide and appeared in media across the nation and around the world. Etan became the poster-child for a movement. The powerful image came to symbolize the anguish and trauma of thousands of searching families.
For nearly three decades, the search for Etan has continued. Just as that day when President Reagan proclaimed the first National Missing Children's Day, Etan is still missing. The widespread attention brought to his case and those of others eventually led to a nationwide commitment to help locate and recover missing children.
National Missing Children's Day honors this commitment by reminding parents, guardians, and other trusted-adult role models to make child safety a priority.

Highlight safety information on your website
Fast Fact: More than 2,000 children are reported missing every day.1 

Action Items:

  • Add a banner or a link to www.missingkids.com on your home page to offer an overview of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children's (NCMEC) programs and campaigns; national statistics; and tips and safety materials that can be downloaded by your listeners and viewers. 

  • Add a link to www.take25.org on your home page and direct parents and guardians to visit the site to learn how to talk to their children about safety. 

Help find a missing child
Fast Fact: NCMEC's recovery rate of missing children is more than 96 percent.2

Action Items:

  • Encourage people to search our database and view posters of missing children.

  • Download posters of missing children from your area and post to your site or broadcast the photo and direct those with information to call 1-800-THE-LOST.

  • Call on your audience to download photos of missing children in your area from www.missingkids.com and post them around the community.

  • Dedicate certain hours of your broadcast to highlight cases of missing children. Search our database or contact your state clearinghouse for a list of children missing in your area.

  • Interview family members of the missing children you profile.

  • Host a Radiothon the week of May 25th and call it a ‘Findathon’ for missing children. Listeners can dedicate songs to missing children.

  • Interview representatives from NCMEC to discuss the issue, history of the movement, and ways communities can be more proactive in protecting their children. Call NCMEC’s Communications Department at 703-837-6111 to request an interview.

Promote your local AMBER Alert program
Fast Fact: To date, 443 children have been recovered because of the AMBER Alert program.3 

Action Items:

  • Encourage people to sign up for Wireless AMBER Alerts.

  • Provide up-to-date information on this program including number of children recovered and success stories from across the country.

  • Highlight a success story in your area and interview the family and law-enforcement officials involved in the case.

  • Explain how the program works in your area so people are reminded they have this valuable tool. Set up interviews with your state AMBER Alert coordinator for details on the program.

  • Post current local AMBER Alerts on your homepage.

Promote child safety to families, including online safety
Fast Fact: 1 in 7 kids is sexually solicited online; only 1 in 4 will tell their parents or guardians.4

Action Items:

  • Broadcast radio and TV PSAs from the advertising campaign developed by NCMEC, the Ad Council, and the U.S. Department of Justice to alert families about online child sexual exploitation. Print ads are also available.

  • Interview someone from NCMEC to provide valuable tips to help parents protect their children’s online life. Call 703-837-6111 with interview requests.

  • Interview your local Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force which investigates these types of crimes in your state.
  • Use age-appropriate, 3-D activities to teach children ages 5 to 17 how to stay safer on the Internet with the NetSmartz Workshop™.

  • Direct parents, guardians, educators, and law enforcement towww.NetSmartz.org and encourage them to get engaged in children’s online life.

  • Direct parents and guardians to www.NetSmartz411.org for answering questions about Internet Safety, computers, and the Web.

Educate your audience about sex offender registration and community notification

Fast Fact: There are more than 673,000 registered sex offenders in the United States and as many as 100,000 are "missing," that is, law enforcement does not know where they are.5 

Action Items:

  • Direct your audience to search the National Sex Offender Public Registry atwww.nsopw.gov.

  • View a map showing the current number of sex offenders registered in each state.
  • Discuss the need for Congress to appropriate funds to fully implement the Adam Walsh Act.

Other ideas
  • Cover NCMEC’s 14th Annual Congressional Breakfast on May 12, 2009 on Capitol Hill. Every year NCMEC honors law enforcement officers’ outstanding work in cases involving missing and exploited children. This year's winners were chosen from California, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia. To arrange interviews with our winners and family members please call 703-837-6111. Interviews can be arranged before the event in your hometown or on the day of the event on Capitol Hill.

Please join us at Peace4 the Missing
Missing Persons Awareness and Support Network

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