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Missing and Exploited Children


In 2022, there were 359,094 reports of missing persons, involving youth, entered into the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Crime Information Center (NCIC). A total of 546,568 missing person reports were submitted to NCIC, of those 97,127 records remained active as of December 31, 2022. Youth accounted for 31 percent of those active missing persons records.

OJJDP Efforts

In fiscal year (FY) 2023, OJJDP awarded more than $53.6 million to support locating missing children, prevent child abduction, and provide technical training and assistance.

OJJDP has partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) for more than 30 years. In FY 23, OJJDP awarded more than $41.3 million to the Center to provide training and technical assistance to enhance law enforcement's efforts to locate missing and exploited children.

Also in FY 23, OJJDP awarded $4.4 million to Fox Valley Technical College under the National AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program to train first responders and law enforcement to improve responses to AMBER Alert activations.


AMBER Alert logo

In partnership with OJJDP, 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. 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 internationally in 41 countries. 

As of December 31, 2023, 1,200 children were successfully recovered through the AMBER Alert system and at least 180 children were rescued because of wireless emergency alerts. There are 82 AMBER Alert plans throughout the United States. 

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 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.

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.

National Missing Children's Day
This section of the OJJDP website provides information about the activities surrounding the annual commemoration of May 25th 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 monthly online newsletter OJJDP News @ a Glance, or follow OJJDP on X or Facebook.