40th annual Missing Children’s Day reminds us of the urgency to find our nation’s missing children

The 40th annual National Missing Children’s Day, observed on May 25, serves as a powerful reminder of the pressing need to find our nation’s missing children. Proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, this day honors the memory of 6-year-old Etan Patz and all missing children, emphasizing the significance of efforts to locate and reunite them with their families.

National Missing Children’s Day underscores America’s unwavering commitment to finding missing children. It celebrates the successful reunions of children with their loved ones and emphasizes the urgency of continuing the search for those still missing. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children invites all partners to join in honoring the children who have come home and amplifying the ongoing efforts to locate those who remain missing.

The establishment of NCMEC was prompted by tragic cases that shook the nation’s conscience. The disappearance of Etan Patz in 1979 sparked a nationwide search, followed by the Atlanta child murders that claimed the lives of 29 children and young adults. In 1981, the abduction and brutal murder of 6-year-old Adam Walsh highlighted the critical need for action.

In response to these heart-wrenching incidents, Congress passed the Missing Children’s Act in 1982, enabling the inclusion of missing child information in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database. NCMEC was officially opened by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, fortifying the organization’s comprehensive approach to addressing issues surrounding missing and sexually exploited children.

Since its inception, NCMEC has been at the forefront of efforts to locate missing children, serving as a national clearinghouse and resource center for families, victims, private organizations, law enforcement and the public. In 2022 alone, NCMEC assisted in 27,644 cases involving missing children.

Since 1984, NCMEC has assisted law enforcement, families and child welfare with more than 400,000 cases of missing children who were recovered.

As National Missing Children’s Day 2023 approaches, we encourage everyone to help keep hope alive by taking the following actions: Share a poster of a missing child in your area. To search for missing children in your area, visit missingkids.org/gethelpnow/search. Remember, it only takes one person to bring a missing child home.

Stay connected with NCMEC on social media @missingkids to stay informed and contribute to spreading awareness.

Learn more about NCMEC and child safety on our website at missingkids.org