1-888-347-5610 [email protected]


October 2012: Awareness for Missing Children’s Issues

In 1983 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25th as National Missing Children’s Day. May 25th marks the anniversary of the day in 1979 when 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from a New York City street corner on his way to school. Despite the tireless work and advancements that have been made in the way missing children’s cases are handled by State Missing Children’s Clearinghouses, AMBER Alert Coordinators, state, local and federal law enforcement, AMECO member organizations and other criminal justice practitioners, it is estimated that more than 2,000 children are reported missing per day.[1] As this issue continues to impact our country each day, it is important that we all join together with law enforcement to protect children from harm by creating greater awareness and through prevention education.

The Department of Justice recognizes National Missing Children’s Day and its associated programs and activities as a cornerstone of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Missing and Exploited Children’s Program’s outreach.

This month’s newsletter provides a description of the programs and initiatives that accompany National Missing Children’s Day. We hope that you will use this information to get involved, promote child safety, and bring more awareness to the issue of missing children. We invite you to encourage children and schools to participate in this year’s poster contest; and also invite you to submit award nominations for this year’s Missing Children’s Day ceremony.


Raising Awareness through Art – National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest

In 1999, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) held the first art contest for fifth graders to bring more national awareness to the issue of missing children. The contest creates an opportunity for schools, law enforcement, and other child advocates to discuss the issues of missing and exploited children with youth, parents and guardians and to promote child safety. The poster contest is more than just an art contest, it is an awareness campaign. This year OJJDP is sponsoring its 14th annual competition.

Rachel Stevenson, the 2007 national poster contest winner, recently spoke about the importance of the contest and her participation in the National Missing Children’s Day Ceremony. She said:

“I learned the reality of abduction and the impact it makes on society, families, and friends of the victim. Before the ceremony, abduction seemed almost unreal to me. I never truly realized the severity of it until I met real people who had gone missing and families who had lost a loved one to abduction. It was truly an eye-opener.”

To hear more of Rachel’s comments about her experience winning the contest as well as her thoughts on why it is so important to raise awareness about missing children’s issues, view our recent webinar titled: Raising Awareness through Art: National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest. Additional information on the poster contest, including contest rules and submission deadlines, may be found here.


Recognizing Individuals Who Protect Youth – National Missing Children’s Day Awards

Across the nation, law enforcement officers, private citizens, and organizations have taken extraordinary measures to prevent, investigate, and safely recover missing children. Each year, the U.S. Department of Justice and OJJDP recognize the courageous and valiant efforts of individuals, organizations, and agencies that have made a difference in recovering abducted children and protecting children from exploitation. Those receiving awards are recognized at the annual National Missing Children’s Day ceremony in Washington, DC.

In 2013, OJJDP will make awards in the following categories:

  • Missing Children’s Law Enforcement Award
  • Missing Children’s Citizen Award
  • Child Protection Award
  • 2013 Internet Crimes Against Children Attorney General’s Award

This is an opportune time to formally recognize the valiant work of individuals in your community and throughout the nation who have taken significant steps to both protect and educate children, teachers, parents, and communities on the importance of keeping children safe. Visit the National Missing Children’s Day Awards page for more information about how to submit a nomination for these awards. Eligibility requirements, nomination forms, and judging criteria can be found on this site. All nominations must be submitted via the online web form by January 18, 2013.


Voices of AMECO

The Association of Missing and Exploited Children’s Organizations (AMECO) held its annual conference in Salt Lake City, Utah on September 24-26, 2012. At this conference, the Morgan Nick Foundation received the OJJDP’s Missing Children’s Non-Profit Organization Award for their outstanding service to families of missing children and their efforts to protect children from abuse and exploitation.

AMECO is a multinational organization comprised of nonprofit missing and exploited children’s organizations that assist in the prevention of child abduction and exploitation and in the recovery and reintegration of missing children. Member organizations help searching families and law enforcement recover missing children, help missing and exploited children and their families gain access to services, and offer a variety of education services to help prevent children from being abducted or becoming a victim of exploitation. AMECO provides direct referrals to members of the public and to professionals who assist the families of missing and exploited children. To find an AMECO member near you, please visit the membership directory.

Following the conference, AMECO released a video highlighting the power of trusted organizations across the United States and Canada that make the world safer for children. The video may be found on AMECO’s YouTube channel.

Visit AMECO on Facebook and Pinterest to learn more about how AMECO member organizations support law enforcement, their communities, and victims and families as well as the Make Noise campaign featured in MECP’s May 2012 newsletter.


State Missing Children’s Day Programs and Initiatives

The Missing and Exploited Children’s Program (MECP) conducted a poll to identify the many prevention initiatives and poster contest activities conducted by State Missing Children’s Clearinghouse, Department of Educations, non-profit organizations, and other agencies designated by the Clearinghouse. State managers were asked to share their strategies for promoting the contest, recognizing the winners in their state, and the many successes that they have achieved. Here is a brief synopsis of some of the responses.

  • District of Columbia: The Metropolitan Police Department has disseminated poster contest information to various schools. Officers will travel to area schools to provide safety presentations to the students and engage them in the art contest.
  • Nevada: The Nevada Child Seekers coordinates the contest on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office. The Nevada Child Seekers partners with the Clark County School District, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Las Vegas Review Journal, Attorney General’s Office, and radKIDS instructors on contest activities.
  • New Hampshire: New Hampshire disseminates poster contest information to the Superintendents and Principals state-wide via the state Department of Education. The Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Training and Technical Assistance Program coordinates the New Hampshire poster contest along with local schools.
  • Mississippi: The Mississippi Department of Education works with school curriculum coordinators to promote the contest to local teachers and encourages them to include the poster contest and prevention education in lesson plans. Mississippi has been successful in raising awareness through classroom discussion and plans to expand awareness activities to parent meetings, spotlights at athletic events and a gubernatorial proclamation.
  • Wisconsin: Wisconsin disseminates information about the poster contest and Missing Children’s Day through the Department of Public Instruction website. The State Missing Children Clearinghouse partners with local schools, law enforcement, fire department officials, the local Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, Boys and Girls Clubs, and missing children’s non-profit organizations to conduct the contest. The Attorney General provides states winners with an award at an assembly in their schools. Wisconsin has been successful this year encouraging educators and parents to talk with children on child safety and raising awareness about missing/exploited children as well as the Amber Alert and Clearinghouse program.

Want to know more about the wonderful work your state is doing or join them in their state contest? Please contact your state manager today.


MECP’s Training Center

MECP’s Training Center is your one-stop shop for juvenile justice related news and events. OJJDP providers and other constituents are encouraged to submit information about their juvenile justice-related events. To submit a request and have your event advertised through the MECP Training Center, please visit this page.


Training and Technical Assistance Need Assessment

Last month, we asked for your thoughts on the most critical challenges, issues, and concerns facing your community. We have been gathering your feedback and wanted to tell you what we have heard thus far.

  • 40 % of respondents indicated distance learning and webinars are the most effective form of training
  • 22 % of respondents indicated that child abuse and neglect are a major issue in their community
  • 50 % of respondents were local law enforcement
  • 51 % of respondents are providing services to females
  • 50 % of respondents are proving services to children who have experienced physical or sexual abuse
  • 41 % of respondents indicated that they are in need of more technical assistance on information sharing, collaboration, and inter-agency coordination
  • 50 % of respondents indicated that they would like more information on prevention

Based upon your comments and thoughts, we have already begun to address some of your concerns. November’s webinar on Keeping Kids Safe and Resilient (see below) will focus on prevention education. Please join us on November 14th at 2:00 pm EST for this exciting presentation. To register, please visit here.


3rd Wednesday’s at 2:00 PM Webinar Series

The Missing and Exploited Children’s Program (MECP) invites you to participate in November’s webinar on Keeping Kids Safe and Resilient on November 14, 2012 from 2:00-3:00 pm EST.

This webinar will explore developmental factors to help children grow up strong, facilitate more healthy engagement, increase resilience, and reduce vulnerability to negative environments. Panelists will provide participants with an overview of key strategies to increase protective factors and reduce risk factors within families, schools, and the community to prevent abuse and exploitation. Participants will also learn strategies for responding to maladaptive or problem behavior. Finally, panelists will highlight prevention approaches for parents, educators, and other agencies working with children according to the three developmental factors. For more information, please visit here.


About MECP

MECP provides state, local and tribal criminal justice professionals with viable resources to help them achieve safer communities. In order to do so, we need to hear from you. Please take a moment to let us know what your training and technical assistance needs are by filling out this brief questionnaire. This will help us identify not only the public safety concerns of your local community, but to determine ways to address them.

We will continue to report to you on the results of the questionnaire on this website. Please check back for more information, updates on the webinar series, training opportunities, and available resources. Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you.



[1] National Center For Missing and Exploited Children  2011 Annual Report http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/publications/NC171.pdf