U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

National Missing Children's Day

2022 Virtual Commemoration

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25 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 brings focus to child safety and honors the professionals dedicated to protecting children around the country. Each year, the Department of Justice leads the nation in observing National Missing Children's Day.

This year, in lieu of an in-person ceremony, OJJDP is commemorating the 39th annual National Missing Children's Day through this website. 

On May 25, 2022, the Department announced the winners of the 2022 National Missing Children's Day awards. The 12 honorees are recognized for their extraordinary efforts to find missing children, protect children from harm, and bring sexual predators to justice in the following award categories: 

"We are at our best as a nation when we are working to secure a brighter future for our children," said OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon. "There is no better reflection of our values as a society than our concern for the welfare of our young people, and these committed professionals have given clear expression to our aspirations."

Read the News Releases: 

Justice Department Observes 39th Annual National Missing Children's Day 

Amy L. Solomon, Office of Justice Programs

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon describes the critical support of programs that combat child exploitation and help find missing children.

"Today, we recommit ourselves to reuniting missing children with their families and to honoring those who are dedicated to this cause. We also take this moment to recognize several exceptional individuals and teams for their outstanding work to protect children and to raise awareness about this important issue." 

—Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon

Liz Ryan, OJJDP Administrator

Administrator Liz Ryan shares that National Missing Children's Day is both a time for somber reflection and well-deserved recognition in this video message. Administrator Ryan also discusses OJJDP's portfolio of child protection programs, including the Internet Crimes Against Children task forces, AMBER Alert, and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. 

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) is a critical partner to OJJDP, serving as a resource to help find missing children, reduce child sexual exploitation, and prevent child victimization.

Michelle DeLaune, President and CEO, NCMEC

Michelle DeLaune discusses the importance of analyzing data trends to examine complex and intersecting issues that NCMEC is observing in missing child cases.

Learn about NCMEC

This video from the OJJDP-sponsored NCMEC program provides an overview of how NCMEC supports parents, communities, and law enforcement.

2022 National Missing Children's Day Awards 

Read About the Awardees

Individuals are being honored for their efforts to find missing children and bring child sexual predators to justice and are recipients of the following:

  • Attorney General's Special Commendation
  • Missing Children's Child Protection Award
  • Missing Children's Law Enforcement Award

 

2022 National Missing Children's Day Winning Poster

2022 National Missing Children's Day Winning Poster

Sue L., 11, of Los Angeles, CA, is the 2022 National Missing Children's Day poster contest winner. Sue describes her poster as different races and communities working together for a common goal—to find the missing child. She hopes that while working together to find the missing girl they all realize that any child deserves rescuing. 

"I've always wanted my art to give a meaning to people and this is the perfect chance. I want people to be able to look at my art and be able to see the deeper meaning," Sue said.