In Brief

J U S T I C E    M A T T E R S
National Missing Children's Day
Raises Awareness

On May 25, 1979, Etan Patz vanished from the streets of New York City on his way to school. A massive search effort followed, with national media coverage that focused on the lack of information and resources to locate and recover missing children.

PosterThe Missing Children Act of 1982 was the first Federal law to address this issue. The Act authorized the entry of missing children reports into the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Crime Information Center data base. Two years later, the Missing Children's Assistance Act established OJJDP's Missing and Exploited Children's Program.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25 as National Missing Children's Day. In each of the past 15 years, family and friends of missing children have joined together to plan events in communities across America to raise public awareness about the issue of missing children and the need to address this national problem.

Since May 25, 1979, many more children have disappeared from their homes. However, Federal actions to provide resources, training, and technical assistance to State and local law enforcement have increased the chances that some of these children will be found and returned home safely. National Missing Children's Day reminds this country not to forget the children who are still missing and not to falter in the effort to reunite them with their families.

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Juvenile Justice Journal   ·   Volume V   ·   Number 1   ·   May 1998