Chapter 5

Key Points

1. Volunteers are essential to the search process. They can and will play a variety of roles in the effort to find your child.

2. The role of the volunteer coordinator is not to handle volunteer activities directly, but rather to delegate to others management of specific activities, such as bringing food to the family, providing water for the searchers, and coordinating distribution of posters and fliers.

3. If you need something, the best thing you can do for yourself is to ask for help. You will be amazed by the amount of support you receive from others.

4. Keep a running list -- or have someone keep a list for you -- of the things you need as they arise.

5. When someone offers to help, write down the person's name, telephone number, and type of service preferred so you can contact that individual later when you are prepared to accept the offer.

6. Don't use unknown volunteers to do personal tasks, such as washing laundry or helping with carpools. If you feel uncomfortable with anyone or anything for any reason, inform your volunteer coordinator or primary law enforcement contact.

7. Many local clubs, businesses, and agencies can help in a variety of ways -- by donating items, distributing photographs and fliers, or participating in the search. Make a list of what you need, and see what each group can provide.

8. Even though private individuals, organizations, and businesses may be interested in helping with the search effort, it is usually easier to work with organized groups, which can quickly mobilize large, cohesive bands of searchers and can work through an already established chain of command.

9. Make sure that a list of the names and addresses of all volunteers is kept so thank-you notes can be written and law enforcement can refer to it during the investigatory process.

10. Be wary of organizations that promise they can find your missing child, that request payment for these services, or that are unknown in this field.

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OJJDP Report: When Your Child Is Missing: A Family Survival Guide, May 1998