May | June 2019

Message From the Administrator: Remembering Our Missing Children

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan issued a Proclamation that established May 25th as National Missing Children’s Day. President Reagan encouraged government officials, and law enforcement everywhere, to do more to protect children, particularly missing and exploited children. This Saturday marks the 36th anniversary of National Missing Children’s Day. Since that first observance, we have made tremendous strides in creating safer environments for our children.

Today, OJJDP supports the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the Internet Crimes Against Children (or ICAC) task force network, and the nationwide AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance program.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children was created in 1984 to build a coordinated national response to missing and sexually exploited children. In 2018, the National Center’s CyberTipline® received and made available to law enforcement more than 18 million reports and notified hosting providers more than 67,000 times regarding child sexual abuse content on their platforms.

In 2018, the National Center’s Child Victim Identification Program® processed more than 4,600 cases from law enforcement and reviewed nearly 39 million files for victim identification purposes. Thanks to the National Center, we have many more tools and resources to respond to child abductions and to bring children home safely.

OJJDP created the ICAC program in 1998 to help end cyber threats to children. It has since grown into a national network of 61 coordinated task forces representing more than 4,500 law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies engaged in investigating and criminally prosecuting online child victimization.

In FY18, ICAC task force programs conducted more than 71,000 investigations and over 84,000 forensic exams. These efforts resulted in the arrests of more than 9,100 individuals. Additionally, the ICAC program trained over 46,500 law enforcement personnel, more than 2,900 prosecutors, and upwards of 14,300 other professionals working in the ICAC field.

OJJDP continues to develop and support many other resources for law enforcement and citizens to ensure the safety of our nation’s children.

In that vein, our Office is pleased to announce the release of the AMBER Alert Field Guide for Law Enforcement Officers. This guide will help law enforcement personnel become stronger and even more confident contributors to their jurisdictions’ AMBER Alert programs.

Last month, during the National AMBER Alert Symposium in Arizona, we also released the second edition of the AMBER Alert Best Practices guide. We took input from those on the ground carrying out the day-to-day work of leading, administering, and executing AMBER Alerts to provide a “what works” approach to fostering an environment conducive to recovering missing children.

In April 2018, the President signed into law the Ashlynne Mike AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act to help improve and expand the program throughout Indian country. Our Office continues to make strides toward implementing AMBER Alert programs in Indian country in support of that act. We have finalized a Report to Congress on our efforts in Indian country, and will be hosting an AMBER Alert in Indian Country Symposium on July 30 and August 1 in Albuquerque, NM.

The symposium is an opportunity for representatives from tribal communities to meet with OJJDP, other federal and state officials, and other stakeholders to exchange information and share best practices for implementing AMBER Alert plans within tribal communities.

All of the efforts OJJDP has supported in the area of child protection are highlighted in our 2018 Annual Report, which I’m thrilled to announce we will release very soon. The report describes the more than $104 million in awards our Office made in 2018 to protect children and enhance public safety.

Today, we have gathered to recognize law enforcement officers and citizens who—through determination, quick thinking, and decisive and collaborative actions—made the difference in the lives of children in peril.


This issue's Message From the Administrator is excerpted from Administrator Harp's address at the Justice Department's 2019 National Missing Children's Day ceremony, which took place on May 22. The full speech and a recording of the event is available on the OJJDP website.