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When Your Child Comes Home

Regardless of the reason why your child went missing, their return home may be difficult for both your family and the child. Depending on the details of your child’s disappearance, you may be experiencing a wide range of emotions. After your child returns home you may also be contacted by other family members, friends, the media, law enforcement or social services. The length of time which your child has been away from home, and their experiences while they were gone, will impact the steps that you take to ensure your child’s health and safety.

Steps to Take:

  • Express to your child that you are happy to have them back home, and do everything possible to make your child feel welcome, comfortable and safe. If they aren’t aware, call the police and inform them that your child is home.

  • If you have been working with staff at MissingKids.ca, call the organization and inform them that your child is home.

  • If your child was involved in dangerous behaviour while they were away, it may be necessary to take them to a doctor or to the hospital. Please be honest with the doctor about where your child has been and what they have been doing. This will ensure that they get the appropriate medical attention as well as other services they may need, such as counselling.

  • Engage the services of a third party mediator or counsellor. These services will help you and your child work through their experience, assist in the child’s recovery, and begin the healing process for your family.

  • Open an honest dialogue with your child and provide them with support.

  • If necessary, your child may require treatment for addictions or mental health issues. It is very important that you seek this treatment – contact MissingKids.ca and we can help connect you to available services.

Remember that your child may also be experiencing a wide range of emotions, ranging from fear, anger, relief and sadness. They may be looking to you for cues on how to react and what to do. You can take a positive lead in this process by reacting calmly and by remaining focused on both healing and finding solutions.

The longer your child has been away, the more difficulty they may have reintegrating back into home life. Do not place expectations too high that they will quickly go back to how they were before they went missing. It may take a significant amount of time to recover from these situations.

If the separation has been for an extended period of time, it is important to consult with professionals regarding the reunification process (reuniting with your child) as early as possible. There are many steps that can be taken to help ensure a successful reunification and to ease your child’s burden. These professionals may include a psychologist ,a missing children services organization, social workers and law enforcement.

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