At what point do we know a child is missing?

Having a child go missing is one of the scariest possible things to happen to any parent. There are so many factors to consider, including the decision on when to actually declare a child missing. So what happens when a child goes missing?

What is the normal protocol?

The first and most important thing to know is that declaring a child missing assumes everyone involved have followed the protocol. Declaring a child missing is not something that both law enforcement and the media take lightly. Before they consider the “missing” label, you must show that you have taken all immediate steps to locate the child. This includes making phone calls, driving around, texting, proving that all attempts to reach them have been made. Things like a phone call home from the school saying that your child never showed up also counts as a step.

What next?

After you’ve made every attempt and all immediate steps to locate your missing child, you should go to the police department to fill out a report. This will follow your missing child all the way through the process and is the link that connects all facets of any investigation that will take place. It also gets law enforcement officially in the picture, which is a big step to getting media coverage if it goes that far. From here, law enforcement will do a general risk assessment which will help decide whether or not an Amber Alert (a national alert system focused on missing children) will be issued. This takes the missing child alert from just local law enforcement, media coverage and word of mouth to a nationwide text alert. They mainly reserve this for missing children who are most at risk of crossing state lines. The information is then removed after the child has been found.

What should I know about missing children?

The first and most important thing to know is that, in most cases, missing children return home on their own. Often times it is just a miscommunication or the child testing their boundaries. Try not to panic and think clearly – where do they hang out? Who are their friends? What were they wearing last? Call not only your missing child’s friends but also their family members. Use social media to your advantage. Grab some friends and family members and canvas the area both on foot and by car to make sure you check everywhere they are likely to hang out to see if they are there. If you give it some time and follow the common immediate steps to locating them, most of the time you will be successful or the child will come back on their own.

Missing children are one of the scariest things to happen to any parent. Keeping a cool head and following a few common tips and rules will help you know what to do in the rare case that this happens to you or someone you know.

Check out this post for more informations and help: