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National Estimates of Missing Children: Updated Findings From a Survey of Parents and Other Primary Caretakers

NCJ Number
250089
Date Published
Author(s)
Andrea J. Sedlak, David Finkelhor, and J. Michael Brick
Publication Series
OJJDP NISMART Series
Annotation
This report presents updated national estimates of missing children, based on a 2013 survey of parents and other primary caretakers of children; and the findings are compared with 1999 estimates on missing children.
Abstract
Overall, the rates of missing children decreased significantly in 2013 compared to 1999. The rate of children considered missing to their parent or caretaker declined from 9.2 per 1,000 in 1999 to 6.3 per 1,000 in 2013. Children reported to police as missing for the primary purpose of finding them decrease from 6.5 per 1,000 in 1999 to 3.1 per 1,000 in 2013. No category of children with episodes that could cause them to become missing increase; and one category decreased. The 2013 categories that did not differ statistically from 1999 rates were children with runaway or throwaway episodes; children abducted by family members; and children who were missing because they had been lost, stranded, or injured. The rate of children who were missing for benign reasons was significantly lower in the 2013 study (1.8 per 1,000 compared to 3.6 per 1,000 in the 1999 study); however, this estimate is reported to be less reliable than the other estimates. These findings are from the adult survey component of the Third National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART-3), which is sponsored by the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). This survey is conducted under a mandate of the 1984 Missing Children’s Assistance Act. 2 tables and 43 references
Date Created: October 2, 2019