Sunday is International Missing Children’s Day – you can do more than remember this year

Did you know that every year, police receive more than 40,000 reports of missing children across Canada? How about the fact that that one in six missing children is located after someone recognizes them from a picture?

For more than 30 years, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection has been involved in the search for missing children. Our MissingKids.ca program has developed the MissingKidsALERT system to rapidly distribute information and the picture of a missing child to registered users in a nearby area or along a suspected travel route, making it possible for someone like you to recognize them.

MissingKidsALERT is a public notification service that individuals, organizations and businesses in Canada can register for and receive missing child alerts through a variety of electronic platforms. To date the database has been used to distribute 80 new alerts; 78 of those children have been safely located. MissingKidsALERT is also used to highlight the long-term missing cases of 53 children. It only takes a minute of your day to sign up, but it could mean the difference of a lifetime for a child.
Why wouldn’t you sign up? We know one person can make a difference in the life of a child – we’ve seen cases across the country where the actions of an individual bring a family back together. For example, in 2010, a young man in Montreal saw a woman and child on the subway whose interactions seemed strange to him. It concerned him enough that he followed them off the subway and made a report to police, who later that day discovered this child had been abducted four years prior. This young man made it his business, and today she’s back at home with her dad.

International Missing Children’s Day
Etan Patz was six-years-old when he went missing on his way to school in New York City on May 25, 1979. After years of searching and investigation, Etan has never been located. May 25 was named Missing Children’s Day in his honour in 1983. Sadly, there have been many other cases like Etan’s over the past three decades, and International Missing Children’s Day – this Sunday – is now a reminder to us of all of the kids who have not yet been found and their families who desperately search for answers.

You can do more than just remember this year – visit MissingKidsALERT to register and become part of the search when a child goes missing in Canada. Make it your business. When more people know, more people are looking.

Guest blogger Christy Dzikowicz is Director of MissingKids.ca, in conjunction with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.