April 9, 2022
(Santana Anderson – NSN News)
Since founded in 1984, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a private, nonprofit organization serving as the national clearinghouse and resource center for information about missing and exploited children, has made a tremendous impact across the United States.
Children who run away make up most of the missing child cases reported to NCMEC. These children are highly vulnerable and face many risks including homelessness, gang involvement and child sex trafficking.
Missing children are not limited to runaways. The NCMEC call center specialists are trained to help families navigate through some of the worst moments of their lives.
In 2021, NCMEC assisted law enforcement, families and child welfare with 27,733 cases of missing children. The five different types of cases they dealt with were Endangered Runaways (25,174), Family Abductions (1,385), Missing Young Adults (891), Nonfamily Abductions (142) and Lost, Injured or Otherwise Missing (141). In the 27,733 cases of missing children, 24,924 cases have been resolved leaving 2,809 active cases.
Missing children are reported to NCMEC by parents, guardians or law enforcement. Apart from children missing from care, there is no mandatory reporting of missing children to NCMEC.
What does that mean for Nebraska?
In 2021, a total of 279 cases of missing children were reported, 256 have been resolved, leaving 23 active cases. This does not include active cases from previous years where a child was still missing in 2021. It does include recoveries in 2021 of children who were reported missing in previous years. A child that was reported missing on Dec. 31, 2021 is still considered active.
According to the FBI, in 2021 there were 337,195 National Crime Information Center entries for missing children. This has decreased since 2020, where 365,348 missing children were entered into NCIC. These numbers include each time a child runs away, or if an entry is withdrawn and amended or updated, they are reflected in the total all year. When a child is reported missing to law enforcement, federal law requires that child be entered into the FBI’s NCIC.
Since many children are never reported missing, there is no reliable way to determine the total number of children who are actually missing in the United States.
Visit NCMEC for more information on the services they provide while leading the fight against abduction, abuse and exploitation. “Every child deserves a safe childhood.” -30-