NATIONAL MISSING CHILDREN’S DAY
National Missing Children’s Day on May 25th each year shines a spotlight on child safety. The observance also honors the professionals dedicated to protecting children around the country.
Most children who go missing do come home. Whether they’ve wandered off or there was a misunderstanding, many find their way back to their family. According to the Polly Klaas Foundation, 99.8 percent come home. Of those who are abducted, 9 percent are kidnapped by family. Only a small fraction are stranger abductions. But the fact remains, if it happens to any child, it happens to too many.
While the observance honors those who’ve gone above and beyond to protect children, it also offers resources to continue protecting them further. Here are ways to keep your children safe every day.
It’s important to:
- maintain custody documents
- keep recent photos of children handy
- also, keep medical and dental records up to date
Protect your children by:
- making online safety a priority
- complete background checks on caregivers and check references
- never leave young children unattended in strollers and car seats
- whenever possible, don’t dress children in clothing with their names on it
- teach them their address and phone number as young as possible
HOW TO OBSERVE #MissingChildrensDay
Other ways to get involved include recognizing someone dedicated to protecting children and to bringing missing children home. Attend a ceremony honoring law enforcement and private citizens alike. You can also:
- volunteer in your community
- share a safety presentation
- visit www.ojdp.gov to enter their poster contest
Use #MissingChildrensDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL MISSING CHILDREN’S DAY HISTORY
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed National Missing Children’s Day recognizing the hundreds of thousands of children who went missing each year. Just a few short years before, six-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from his New York City home on his way from the bus to school on May 25, 1979. The observance commemorated the date of Etan’s disappearance and honored missing children everywhere. During the time of his disappearance, cases of missing children rarely gained national media attention. However, Etan’s case quickly received much coverage. Etan’s father, who was a professional photographer, distributed black-and-white photographs of his son to find him. The result was a massive search and media attention that focused the public’s attention on the problem of child abductions and the lack of plans to address them.
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