What to do when your child is missing


National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) is now located at MissingKids.com

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has worked since 1984 to prevent the abduction, endangerment, and sexual exploitation of youth. If a youth is a victim of such an act, the NCMEC, in conjunction with local and federal agencies, has various mechanisms to report and hopefully end such abuse and exploitation. Some of these include: a national clearinghouse to report information on missing and exploited children and a Cybertipline that can be utilized by those who suspect internet-related sexual exploitation. The NCMEC’s hotline is: 1-800-THE-LOST

Report a Sighting of a Missing Child

Please report any information regarding a missing child to our Call Center. We have operators available 24-hours a day to receive "sightings" by telephone or via the Internet.

Telephone - Call our toll-free Hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678) 24-hours a day.

If your child goes missing

  1. Immediately call 911.
  2. If your child is missing from home, search through:
    • Closets.
    • Piles of laundry.
    • In and under beds.
    • Inside large appliances.
    • Vehicles – including trunks.
    • Anywhere else that a child may crawl or hide.
  3. In a store, immediately notify the store manager or security office if your child cannot be found. Many stores have a Code Adam plan of action in place.

Polly Klaas Foundation

The Polly Klaas® Foundation is a national nonprofit that helps find missing children, prevents children from going missing, and promotes laws like Amber Alert that help keep children safe. The foundation makes and distributes posters of missing children for families of missing children, and has a national eVolunteer force that distributes posters of missing children in their communities. The Polly Klaas foundation's hotline is 1-800-587-4357

AMBER Alert Program

The AMBER Alert Program, named for 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, is a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies, broadcasters, and transportation agencies to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases. Broadcasters use the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to air a description of the abducted child and suspected abductor. This is the same concept used during severe weather emergencies. The goal of an AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and safe recovery of the child.

The Search for your Child

Your Role in the Search: The First 48 Hours
The Role of Law Enforcement in the Search
Telephone Tips
The Role of Volunteers in the Search
After the First 48 Hours: The Long-Term Search
Getting Help From Political Figures
The Role of Private Detectives and Psychics in the Long-Term Search

Background Search & People Search
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