Thursday, May 23, 2013

Every Child Deserves to Be Safe

By Julie Nauman, VCGCB Executive Officer

On May 25th 1979, six-year-old Etan Patz went missing from the streets of New York, while on his way to school. His disappearance sparked national media coverage and though his body was never found, Patz was declared dead in 2001. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the anniversary of Patz’s disappearance as National Missing Children’s Day in 1983. This observance aims to highlight the problem of child abduction, promote ways to keep children safe and provide support for families of victims.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®
 has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more
 than 183,000 missing children since it was founded in 1984.
In the past 23 years, there has been a 35 percent increase in the number of missing children who are found. Unfortunately, 2,200 children are still reported missing daily. We can help raise awareness about child abduction and promote safety in several ways:

Stay informed. Keep yourself updated on missing children in your community. Report any sighting of a missing child to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Their hotline (1-800-843-5678) is available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you have children, take the time to learn about and exercise child safety and abduction prevention and communicate safety information to your child. For example, make sure your child knows what to do if a stranger approaches. In addition, keep track of how much personal information your child reveals online. You can find more child safety tips at

Spread the word. Share information about missing children and exploited children with others in your community.

Join the effort. NCMEC offers three campaigns that help promote awareness about missing and exploited children. Their Take 25 Campaign, encourages families to spend 25 minutes talking to children about safety and abduction prevention. NCMEC also has a campaign that educates communities on child sexual exploitation and how to recognize it and a campaign that encourages the use of photos to help find missing children.

Learn more about the missing children in your community by visiting Let’s work together to keep our children safe.

Julie Nauman is the Executive Officer for the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board (VCGCB). VCGCB provides compensation for victims of violent crime and helps to resolve claims against the State.