NATIONAL MISSING CHILDREN’S DAY | May 25
National Missing Children’s Day on May 25th each year shines a spotlight on child safety. The day also honors the dedicated professionals who work tirelessly 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 of children reported missing come home. Of those who are abducted, 9 percent are kidnapped by a family member. Only a small fraction are stranger abductions. However, the fact remains, if it happens to one child, that’s one child to too many.
Protecting Your Children
While today’s observance honors those who’ve gone above and beyond to protect children, it’s also a good opportunity to offer resources to keep your children safe every day. It’s important to:
- Maintain custody documents.
- Keep recent photos of children handy.
- Keep a copy of fingerprints.
- Make sure medical and dental records up to date.
- Monitor online activity.
- Set some rules about who your child hangs out with.
- Keep track of where your child is going.
- Get to know parents of friends.
- 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 your child their address and phone number as young as possible.
- Get to know your child’s friends.
- Schedule events and gatherings in public places with your child and their friends and invite their parents, too.
SUPPORT MISSING CHILDREN ORGANIZATIONS
- Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
- International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children
- Office of Children’s Issues
- Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team
- Volunteer in your community.
- Share a safety presentation.
- Visit www.ojdp.gov to enter their poster contest.
- Use #MissingChildrensDay on social media to show support.
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. In addition, it also 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. As a result, a massive search, along with media attention brought public attention on the problem of child abductions. It also brought awareness to the lack of plans to address child abductions.
As much as we hate to think about it, there are some things you should do if you or someone you know has a missing child. In the first 24 hours:
- Report the child missing immediately to a law enforcement agency.
- Have authorities to have your child listed in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Missing Persons File. There is no waiting period for entry into NCIC for children under age 18.
- Request authorities to issue a BOLO (Be On The Look Out).
- If your child was abducted from your home, refrain from disrupting anything. Authorities normally collect evidence and moving, cleaning, throwing things way might hinder an investigation.
- Get the name and phone number of the investigator working on the missing child case. Remember to keep this information nearby and readily available.
- Provide as much detail about the facts related to the disappearance of your child, including what they were wearing.
- Making a list of friends, family, teachers, and anyone else who might have any important information about your child, where they might have been or where they might go.
- Tell authorities about work you may have had done or other people who were present at your home in the past year. Every detail helps.
- Make copies of the most updated photo of your child, both in color and black and white. Make sure every law enforcement agency, missing children organizations, media and social media have copies.
- Call 800-THE-LOST (800-843-5678) to ask for help with photo distribution.
- Gather phone numbers for any nonprofit organization that might be able to help find the missing child.
- With the help of authorities, organize a search party for your child, including the use of tracking vehicles, software, electronics and dogs.
- Keep a detailed list of incoming and outgoing calls at or in your home with the time, person calling or making a calling and how long they were on the phone.
- Find a support system to maintain your strength. Utilize any family or friends as much as possible.
- Eat and rest. It may be hard, but taking care of yourself during this time is important.
May 25th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History
Babe Ruth hits the final home run of his career. At 714 home runs, Ruth’s career record stood until April 8, 1974, when Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run.
Howard Florey, Ernst Chain, and Norman Heatley conducted a test of Alexander Fleming’s “mold juice.” The three scientists injected eight mice with a deadly dose of streptococci. Four of the mice received an injection of penicillin. The four mice that received the penicillin were alive the next day. In 1945, Alexander Fleming, the microbiologist who discovered penicillin, Howard Florey and Ernst Chain equally shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine “for the discovery of penicillin and its curative effect in various infections diseases.
The George Lucas-directed film, Star Wars, opens in U.S. theatres.
Ken Kragen, the USA for Africa president in 1986, held a nationwide fundraiser for hunger called Hands Across America. From Battery Park in Manhattan and stretch across the Heartland to Long Beach, California. Participants held hands for 15 minutes and sang “We Are The World,” “America the Beautiful,” and the event’s song, “Hand’s Across America.” The event raised $15 million for hunger after many expenses. In 2021, the event was revived again as a virtual event to raise funds for hunger and celebrating the 30th anniversary of the original event while bringing the country together again. The virtual event takes place on Tuesday, May 25, 2021.
May 25th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays
Ralph Waldo Emerson – 1803
The American poet, essayist, and Transcendentalist published his first book, Nature, in 1836 where he expressed his philosophy.
Bill “Bojangles” Robinson – 1878
The legendary American tap dancer and entertainer began his career in vaudeville but in the 1920s, Robinson found his way to Broadway and a huge success. In the 1930s, his star value grew on the silver screen.
Caro Crawford Brown – 1908
Caro Crawford Brown’s investigative reporting is credited with helping to end boss rule controlled by Archer Parr in Duval County and surrounding counties in Texas. In 1955, Caro earned a Pulitzer Prize for local reporting.
Frank Oz – 1944
The talented performer brought to life some of the most lovable fictional characters in television and film. From the Muppet show to Sesame Street and the Dark Crystal, Oz earned numerous awards for his work.