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How To Help A Missing Child

If you ever meet a child, youth or young adult you suspect might be considered missing, lost or a runaway , you may be unsure about how to help them, especially if you don’t know why they went missing. It is important for the entire community to protect and help these children, youth and young adults.

If you come across a child, youth or young adult who you suspect may be considered missing, please do not ignore them. Your involvement may be a critical factor in getting the child, youth or young adult home safely. The following are some steps you can take.

  1. Call law enforcement.

  2. Call 1-866-KID-TIPS or report a tip/sighting here.

  3. Check the National Database to see if you recognize the child, youth or young adult from a missing report.

  4. Get in touch with a child welfare agency in your community.

  5. For an older child you suspect is a runaway, search the phone book for community organizations that provide safe housing, shelter, food or clothing to those in need and provide this important information to the child.

  6. Do not take it upon yourself to provide a haven for the missing child, youth or young adult. Although the child, youth or young adult is in need of assistance, it is important to allow the proper authorities to handle the case.

  7. If you have come across or know of someone harbouring children or youth for illicit purposes, call law enforcement immediately. This person is harming and taking advantage of these vulnerable kids – not helping them.

  8. If the child, youth or young adult is non-responsive or refuses to communicate with you, do not assume they are okay or do not need your help. The child, youth or young adult may be scared, under duress, or may be suffering from a intellectual or physical disability and be unable to effectively respond. Remain near the child, youth or young adult and alert appropriate authorities. Share your observations with the authorities when they arrive.

Unfortunately, there are individuals in our communities who can sense the vulnerability of children or youth, and seek to exploit them. It is important that we do not allow this to happen, and support children, youth and young adults the best we can. We need to let these children, youth and young adults know that they are not alone, that there are people who care about them, and that they can get help.

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