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Missing and Exploited Children


In 2020, there were 365,348 reports of missing persons, involving youth, entered into the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Crime Information Center (NCIC). A total of 543,018 missing person reports were submitted to NCIC, of those 89,637 records remained active as of December 31, 2020. Youth accounted for 34 percent of those active missing persons records.

OJJDP Efforts

In federal fiscal year (FY) 2020, OJJDP awarded over $76.4 million to support locating missing children, prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation and provide technical training and assistance.

OJJDP has partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children for over 30 years. In FY 20, OJJDP awarded more than $5.4 million to the center to provide support, technical assistance and training to law enforcement to find and bring home missing and exploited children.

Also in FY 2020, OJJDP awarded $1.8 million to Fox Valley Technical College to develop and administer training for missing and exploited children's programs. Another $4.4 million was also awarded to Fox Valley Technical College under the National AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program.


AMBER Alert logo

In partnership with OJJDP, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) offers critical intervention and prevention services to families and supports law enforcement agencies in cases involving missing children.

When a child goes missing, authorities can deploy alerts on multiple platforms across multiple jurisdictions. In its 25th year and with support from OJJDP, the AMBER Alert system is now being used in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Indian country, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 33 other countries.

As of July 5, 2021, a total of 1,074 children had been successfully recovered through the AMBER Alert system, including 94 recoveries credited to the wireless emergency alert program.

OJJDP engages numerous partners across the nonprofit, corporate, and technology sectors to bolster the AMBER Alert program, including NCMEC, federal law enforcement agencies, wireless carriers, Internet service providers, social media outlets, and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.

Visit the AMBER Alert Statistics page for additional data and reports showing the impact and reach of this program.


Following are a sampling of topical resources developed or sponsored by OJJDP:

Additional Resources

A voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies, and the wireless industry, the AMBER Alert Program is used to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child abduction cases.

AMBER Alert in Indian Country
The AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program, AMBER Alert in Indian Country (AIIC) Initiative, works to assist Tribal communities in developing programs to safely recover endangered missing or abducted children through the coordinated efforts of the tribes and their local, state and federal partners by using training and technology to enhance response capacities, capabilities and increase public participation in protecting children.

Child ID App
Developed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, this free tool provides a convenient place to electronically store photos and vital information about children so that it is easily accessible if needed.

Department of Justice: Operation Lady Justice
The Presidential Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives aims to enhance the operation of the criminal justice system and address the legitimate concerns of American Indian and Alaska Native communities regarding missing and murdered people—particularly missing and murdered women and girls.

International Parental Child Abduction
This section of the U.S. Department of State website provides information and services to parents involved in cases of international child abductions.

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)
NCMEC was established in 1984 to prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation, find missing children, and assist victims and their families. Additional resources from NCMEC include the following:

  • Safety Central App serves as a digital child ID kit that allows parents to save information about, fingerprints for, and photographs of their children.

National Missing Children's Day
This section of the OJJDP website provides information about the activities surrounding the annual commemoration of May 25 as National Missing Children's Day.

National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs)
A program of the National Institute of Justice, NamUs is a national centralized repository and resource center for missing persons and unidentified decedent records.

Office of Justice Programs (OJP): Missing Children Special Feature
This online resource presents publications, program, and related information focusing on missing children.

Connect With OJJDP

Stay Informed with OJJDP

Stay Connected with OJJDP to keep informed about research, programs, and reports related to child abduction and other topics by subscribing to the JUVJUST listserv, the bimonthly online newsletter OJJDP News @ a Glance, or follow OJJDP on Twitter or Facebook.