The Department of Justice announced the winners of the 2023 National Missing Children's Day awards at a ceremony held on May 24, 2023. The recipients were recognized for their extraordinary efforts to recover and help missing children and to hold those who commit child sexual abuse and crimes against children legally responsible for their actions.
The awards included:
- Attorney General's Special Commendation
- Missing Children's Child Protection Award
- Missing Children's Law Enforcement Award
The Department recognized the North Texas Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, responsible for the rescue of more than 50 child victims. Awards were also presented to two law enforcement officers for their investigations of child sexual exploitation and child protection cases. The Department also declared a fifth-grader from Brooklyn, New York, the winner of this year's national poster contest.
OJJDP commemorated this 40th annual National Missing Children's Day with a ceremony featuring Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, Office of Justice Programs Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon, OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children President and CEO Michelle DeLaune, and guest speaker Paul Jack Fronczak.
"Through their resourcefulness, their exceptional savvy and, most of all, their tenacious commitment to the health and safety of our nation’s young people, these award recipients have saved and protected hundreds of children from abduction, exploitation and further harm," said OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25th as National Missing Children's Day in memory of Etan Patz, a 6-year-old boy who disappeared from a New York City street corner on May 25, 1979. This day recognizes and honors the individuals, agencies, and organizations dedicated to protecting children around the country.