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Using Agency Records To Find Missing Children: A Guide for Law Enforcement; Program Summary

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 1996
31 pages
Drawing from a larger study, this report provides law enforcement officers with practical information on how to use agency records in the recovery of missing children.
The report focuses on procedures for obtaining and using the records of certain types of human service providers to find missing children. Record use, access, barriers, and limitations for the following types of providers are discussed: schools, medical care providers, child welfare agencies, runaway shelters, and domestic violence shelters. Parental consent and parental abduction are also discussed in relation to missing children investigations. By law or agency policy, parents have access to many records on their children. In many cases, parents have a right to see or obtain copies of records even when police officers do not. For this reason, parental consent forms may help police gain access to many agency records. In parental abduction cases, verification of custodial status is standard law enforcement procedure, primarily to determine whether a crime has been committed. The National Center on Missing and Exploited Children recommends that the investigating officer in a parental abduction case verify custodial status by obtaining a certified copy of the most recent custody order from the clerk of the issuing court. A section on interagency committees advises that police interagency committees improve communication and cooperation between agencies and improve delivery of services to children and families. They also reduce duplication of services and efforts, develop existing resources, and identify new ones. 7 notes

Date Published: March 1, 1996